Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 31, 2012
A tale of two budgets
Toward the end of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget presentation Thursday, a co-worker stopped at one of the newsroom TVs showing the speech. “So, how bad is it?”
That’s what every government budget boils down to for most of us, doesn’t it? How much is it going to cost me, how much is it going to hurt.
Neither of the two budgets that came down on Ontario this week caused the general public any immediate cost or monetary pain. Beyond that, they were as different as night and day.
The Ontario budget of Finance Minister Dwight Duncan went short term, abandoning good sense for mere political survival.
It looked out only a year or two to the day when the Liberals believe their minority government will probably fall and they face another election.
The federal budget of Jim Flaherty took the long, long view, looking generations down the road to our grandchildren. Flaherty talked, and acted, as though he had made decisions regarding fiscal stability which would last a lifetime much longer than his own.
Duncan postponed Ontario’s difficult decisions, and put off the day the province will confront its gigantic structural deficit, which will continue at $15 billion per year until it takes major steps to rein in public spending.
Duncan claimed his deficit will be gone by 2018, after tough government spending decisions are made that he hasn’t tackled yet, and if this economy recovers. Neither outcome is likely given the track record of his government. (Source: Windsor Star)