Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bleak Budget Outlook From Andrew Coyne

From his blog at Maclean's today:
Say what you like about the Tories: they don’t do things by halves. When they spend, they spend. When they go into debt, they do it $100-billion at a time. And when they decide to put an end to conservatism in Canada — as a philosophy, as a movement—they go out with a bang.

We can safely say that the strategy of incrementalism, at least, has been put to bed. With this historic budget, the Conservatives’ already headlong retreat from principle has become a rout: a great final leap into the void. For there will be no going back from this, for the party or for the country. Whatever the budget’s soothing talk of “temporary” this and “extraordinary” that, and for all its well-mannered charts showing spending obediently returning to its pen, deficits meekly subsiding, “investments” repaid in full, we are in fact headed somewhere we have never been before. We are on course towards a massive and permanent increase in the size and scope of government: record spending, sky-high borrowing, and — ultimately, inevitably — higher taxes. And all this before the first of the Baby Boomers have had a chance to retire, and cough up a lung.


  1. Yes, this is the biggest NDP style budget of all time. Harper has just moved to the left of Jack Layton. These government programs never work to stimulate the economy, but do leave a lasting legacy of big government. This budget is the complete opposite of what the Conservatives stood for in the last election.
    This budget seems to be a lot worse then what the NDP/Liberal/Block were proposing back in December. Hmmm, the economy is in trouble so lets give money to artists and have some cultural festivals. Unbelievable!!!

  2. I agree but I have some sympathy for Harper. We have to remember he only leads a minority government and needs the support of one other party. All of which are left and anxious to rip him from power. If he brought in a principled conservative budget he would be sitting in the opposition benches as early as Friday or hitting the campaign trail fighting accusations of being a heartless pig. Not much cboice if you want to remain in power. Perhaps he should have gone down fighting. Even if he did we would still largely be facing the same stimulus package only it would be delivered by the Liberals. Either way, conservatives lose. At least Harper bought himself another day to fight the next battle at a cost that would have occurred no matter what.

    The deeper problem here is that Canadians are all too willing to buy the rhetoric of the NDP and Liberals. Tax cuts, small government, etc... are stigmatized as selfish and self serving to the rich. Until this changes the Tories will always have a hard time ruling as a true conservative party. Preston Manning noticed this as well and created a right wing think tank that tours Universities giving lectures. He felt he could do more good selling conservatism this way than in the House of Commons. The movement needs more like him.