09 February 2011

Imagine if they were fiscally responsible

Feast your eyes on labradore’s latest offering about public debt in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The only people left who think the current administration (since 2003) acted and are acting in a fiscally responsible manner are those who just refuse to see the obvious.

Labradore offers this projection of the provincial net debt if a quarter of oil revenues had gone to actually paying off debt over the past few years.  The light coloured bits are what would have disappeared.  The dark green are what would have remained. The two together are what the Conservatives actual record looks like from basically doing nothing except paying off what came due.

Never Read Stuff Late at Night Update and Correction:  The charts are based on the assumption of taking 25% of the windfall oil revenues for spending and 75% for debt reduction. That's what happens sometimes when you read things late at night.

It actually doesn't change the overall thrust of this post or labradore's original, though since the charts illustrate what an aggressive debt reduction approach could have achieved while at the same time fueling significant increases in public spending.

Consider this to be the complete opposite of the Williams and Marshall approach in which they basically did shag all to reduce the province's debt burden to any meaningful degree.

*original continues*

And the share of the public debt borne by each man, woman and child in the province?

In the cleverly colour-coded chart you can see the blue line – what the Tories did – and the red line representing what might have been, had the current administration done as labradore and a few other brave souls recommended.

Odds are pretty good that a government with the fiscal track record shown in this chart could actually raise the cash on its own to build a viable Lower Churchill project.  On its own, that is, which would be in contrast to going cap in hand to Uncle Ottawa looking for a gigantic multi-billion dollar handout. Like say both Danny Williams and his hand-picked successor have been doing.

There’s a provincial government that is genuine in its aspirations and one that can be legitimately proud of the efforts it has made to ensure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians live in a province that is strong and fiscally sound.

And then there are the people who talk about legitimate aspirations but who fail repeatedly to embody them, let alone achieve them.

Just for good measure, let’s give labradore the final words on this.  They are all too accurate:
There was, of course, nothing responsible or prudent about Danny Williams’ tenure as Premier, and nothing, other than name, that was conservative about it. He chose a different track. 
That is why a government that collected over $9-billion in oil revenues during its tenure still presides over a $9-billion net provincial debt. 
And that is why the provincial net debt per capita this fiscal year was over $17,000 and rising, when in the alternative universe it would have been $7,000 and falling, and falling fast.
- srbp -