Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Friday, August 11, 2006

fiscal unbalanced

I don't know if there is a worse idea for "solving" the fiscal imbalance. The federal government has offered to automatically jettison any surpluses to the provinces.

The Conservative Party ran on a platform to reduce the federal government's capacity to govern. This we knew. But this proposal is particularly odd, nonetheless. Is it not typically the Conservative position to condemn such disincentivizing? Is this not the epitomy of fiscal irresponsibility? The federal government no longer has cause not to spend in the short term. If it isn't spent, it is lost regardless.

Neither are the provinces encouraged to govern responsibily. They are now free to cut taxes and reduce capacity with National Post-like zeal. Amongst themselves, they can commit whole-heartedly to tax competition with teenage male bravado. They can do so confident that Papa will be there to cover their losses and soften their mistakes.

There are aspects of this plan that fit the larger Conservative agenda more closely. They would effectively eliminate any option of a National Project now or in the future. Such major watershed iniatives require bankrolling and years of careful accumulation. But this is all out of the question now. We can expect from our federal government what we have now and then progressively less. Also, this is an equalization tact styled after the conservative child care tact and others. That is - no more is asked of the rich, no more is expected by the poor.

I was starting to let my guard down on this one.


Nobody blows like the Argos


Blogger Steve said...

John Goddfrey better be up in arms.

What is also of concern is Harper's statement about vacating significant tax room, lowering taxes are one thing but the fact is revenue-raising capability, despite what some say to the contrary, is a form of power, and thus decentralization. So even in the short term the feds will be handcuffing themselves. People should be wary that Harper isn't able to pull off the kind of systemic change that is so deep it is difficult to roll back as the Harris Conservatives did. Unless you're a slash and burn tory then aces for you.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Why does blogger not let me capatalize my name. NDPers would calls it some sort of tyranny.

12:16 PM  

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