Balance the budget before buying the lexus

Canadian’s have fared out well following the 2008 recession. Granted, it could be better but the fundamentals are there. The economies growing, jobs are being created, and there is reason to be optimistic. Though I disagree with the often cold approach of the Conservatives, they haven’t been entirely awful at managing the situation. Based on the platform of the Liberals last election, I am not convinced we would have done better, and I think this is part of the reason why we are where we are today.

I believe that the Conservatives won by campaigning on very little, mostly a perceived commitment to deficit reduction. Any promises made by them would only come into play after the books were balanced.

On our side, Liberals rightfully criticized the Conservative record on spending and deficits but in the same breath promised new spending that was to be covered by corporate taxes at 2010 rates. We should have focused on the basics first. Committing to new spending while in deficit is like managing a household budget with $3000 income per month, while spending $4000, then committing to a $300 per month vehicle payment before asking the boss for a raise but assuming that the boss will give one that covers the new costs. Revenue increases when in deficit should be applied to the current shortfall, not to cover new vehicles that we can live without for now. Once the fiscal house is in order, then we can buy the vehicle. We must remember that the economy was (and likely still is) very fragile during the 2011 campaign. New spending on new programs at that time would not have been wise, IMHO, as it would likely have given the impression that the nation wasn’t serious about getting the fiscal house in order. This impression could have turned new business away from Canada, and we want to attract that business, not discourage it. Liberals have a good fiscal record from the Jean Chretien and Paul Martin years when we slashed an insurmountable deficit and returned Canada to surplus, and we need to hammer this home to Canadians.  Investments that further an “equality of opportunity” agenda are good, but they need to come when the fundamentals (balanced budgets, solid economic growth, etc.) are solid.

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