31 January 2012

Born Again Fiscal Virgins #nlpoli #cdnpoli

Premier Kathy Dunderdale is singing the usual Tory song before contract negotiations and a provincial budget. 

Yes, folks, in a speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade the Premier was talking about the need to control spending.

We’ve all been down this road before.  Of course, the same people who talk the talk don’t walk the walk.  They’ve been the ones who caused the current fiscal problems the Premier was talking about. 

In this corner, your humble e-scribbler has been warning about the Tory fiscal imprudence since 2006.  It’s one they’ve acknowledged being vaguely aware of since about 2008, at least.  That’s when the Auditor General  of the day warned about it. In 2009, the finance minister and the Premier of the day admitted their spending was unsustainable.

And yet they continued to crank up spending to record levels.

So basically there is nothing in Kathy Dunderdale’s speech on Tuesday that the Tories haven’t said before.  Kathy Dunderdale’s strategy to deal with the problems she and her colleagues created is the same one the Tories have talked about since 2003.  And that’s the one that created the problem she claims she wants to fix.

Think of it like make-work for politicians.  First, you create a problem. Second, announce that you plan to tackle the problem.  Third, tell everyone the strategy you will use is to follow all the policies that caused the problem in the first place.  Repeat annually as needed.

Anyway, just look at one part of the speech if you want to know how seriously out of touch with reality a politician can be:

What is the best fiscal policy response in the face of this reality? Some may suggest that a balanced budget is the best goal in order to avoid taking on debt. However, this would require a dramatic reduction of spending.

If they can’t balance the budget without a dramatic reduction in spending then they are already spending way more than they are bringing in.


So if you are spending beyond your means – and don’t stop -  you cannot really get spending under control, reduce public debt and all the others things that genuinely responsible governments do.

And if you reject balanced budgets because it would mean spending cuts, then obviously you just aren’t serious about all that talk of spending cuts, controls or that thing called fiscal prudence.

After eight years, the unions know all about the born again fiscal virgins.  They aren’t fooling anyone.

- srbp -