Yes I think the saying about the futility of polishing a turd is quite appropriate as we see Iris Evans somehow managing to table a record deficit budget and telling us it is “a good news story”. Geeze Evans, I shudder to think what you would consider a bad news story. In light of the Progressive Conservative’s astoundingly terrible fiscal management, I suspect that Evans will have to disclose a bad news budget within a year.
I had the opportunity to go to the legislature and watch this travesty of a budget in person yesterday. Rest assured, the turd looks no more shiny when observed in person.
The first order of business in the legislature was to sheepishly table a new version of the “fiscal responsibility act”. The reason for this of course is that the current budget is illegal. Sadly, when government breaks the law, they simply re-write the law. Sheepish is really not enough, the members of the Progressive Conservative government should all hang their heads in shame.
The PCs are trying to present this as a budget of restraint. They have reduced the increased spending to match that of population growth plus inflation. That spending model is what fiscally wise people have been telling government to follow for over a decade. Sadly Special Ed is a decade late in figuring it out. Last summer we were projecting a surplus of almost $9 billion. In less than a year we are facing going almost $5 billion into the hole.
The government is patting itself on the back for the fiscal restraint being shown. Reducing an increase is not an example of fiscal restraint, reducing spending is!
Yes Evans is gazing into a crystal ball. You see, part of the budget is pure speculation. While the government is already admitting that they are spending $4.7 billion more this year than they are earning, they are sort of quiet about there being another $2.2 billion in revenue required to make their spending commitments. Essentially the government is praying that oil will massively spike in price in the next few months. If this spike does not occur, the real deficit is close to $7 billion.
How much faith can we have in the prognostication powers of the government? Well considering the idiots were off on their projected revenue by over $10 billion over a period of some eight months or so, I must say that I am not terribly confident.
The issue is not too complex. Our problem is not a sagging world economy or low commodity prices (though that does not help), our problem is that the government has been spending money like drunken sailors for over a decade.
It does not take an economist to look at the above image and realize that Alberta has been on a collision course with deficit for years. Many voices from the Taxpayers Federation to the Fraser Institute to the Canadian Federation for Independent Business have been pointing this trend out to Stelmach for years. Stelmach blindly and idiotically ignored those voices and continued to piss away the hardearned tax-dollars of Albertans.
How must it feel for those PC MLAs who sat in the legislature in the 90s? Those MLAs who endured the complaints and pressures to spend as Alberta tightened her belt and ended deficit financing? How does it feel to go so swiftly and deeply back into deficit after all that work guys? I watched the PC seals in the legislature pounding their desks in applause as Evans tabled that document which will place the burden of payment on our children. Can you guys really sleep at night? Have you any shred of principle left?
This is the sad outcome of a government that has been in power for almost 40 years. There is no principle, there is no vision. The government exists for the Progressive Conservative Party’s interests. The interests of Albertans were discarded years ago. There will be no healing for this sick administration. They are entrenched, visionless and parasitic. The government takes no path aside from what they view as the path of least resistance. In cowardice they have bent to every spending demand and we now are all paying the price.
Alberta needs to sweep this lost government from the legislature. We are prone to doing that every few decades. It is clear that such a housecleaning is more than in order now.
The Wildrose Alliance Party is promoting fiscal responsibility and is wisely planning for Alberta’s future. Meetings are being held across the province and growth in the party is unprecedented. Despite the fast growth of the WAP, it will still be a tough and uphill battle to unseat a government that feels they are in power by divine right. It cannot be stressed enough how much Albertan’s need to shed their traditional apathy and to get involved. People need to work to make change. The campaign for election 2012 must begin now if we are to make change in Alberta. Don’t wait for somebody else to do it, they will not.
If things are left as they are, we will be leaving a sad and shameful legacy to future generations in this province. To have so much potential wasted is intolerable.