05 January 2011

The Fragile Economy: finance minister complains about his own policies

Finance minister Tom Marshall thinks its time for the private sector to step in and boost the economy around Corner Brook.

“Other than construction, I would like to see more economic investment; I would like to see more businesses coming in and investing here,” he said. “It is jobs ... What we have seen is government spending, in a massive way, in this area.”

That’s from a story in last Friday’s Western Star.

Two observations come readily to mind.

First of all, that’s a great big “D’uh” there, Tom.  Your humble e-scribbler has been banging out post after post after post over the past six years on this very subject.  The number of posts on it has gone up in the past two years because the fundamental situation is getting fundamentally worse. 

It is getting fundamentally worse – to hit the second point – as a direct result of government policy.  In everything from its energy policy to its disastrous seizure of private sector assets in 2008, the current administration has shown itself to be relentlessly opposed to creating an economic climate that attracts investment, promotes innovation and rewards entrepreneurship. 

The current fragile state of the provincial economy  - “fragile” is a word Tom Marshall used not so long ago, by the way - is a direct consequence of government policies.  Only a fundamental shift in those policies can move the province off the course it is currently on.

As it stands in early 2011, the current administration is firmly committed to continuing the policies that have contributed to putting the economy in its current parlous state.

We have seen the enemy, says finance minister Tom Marshall, and he is us.

- srbp -