21 November 2011

Inadvertent fiscal black humour

There’s something truly frightening listening to politicians and former politicians discussing the provincial government’s supposed plans to apply a surplus in the current fiscal year to the provincial debt.

They aren’t doing it.

Full stop.

The provincial government is not using any of the surplus to reduce actual government debt.

And if that wasn’t all bad enough, you get three panelists on CBC’s On Point – starting with Lana Payne  - talking about the need to have an “adult conversation” about the provincial debt and public spending. You cannot have an adult conversation about anything when the conversation is essentially based on fiction.  All six political panelists on the show had their own particular fictions they spouted.

Payne then demonstrated how hard it is to have such an informed conversation.  She justified the unsustainable increases in public spending and growth in the public service over the past seven years using the Tory lie about “catch-up”.  Then for good measure she promised that labour unions will resist any financial restraint in the public sector.

For the hat trick of dark humour, go back to last week’s financial update. Finance minister Tom Marshall said that we “need to start the debate around where Newfoundland and Labrador sees itself 10 to 20 years from now.

Too late.

Tom and his colleagues have already made that decision with Muskrat Falls.

The only discussion left to have is how future provincial governments will cope with the mess Tom and his pals have created.

- srbp -