Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Budget

The budget is out. For the most part it is as bland as white bread with the crust cut-off. The only interesting thing is the Tax Free Savings Accounts. We will see whether or not these things catch on. Harper continues to limit the amount the federal government can do. There isn't anything to fight an election on here. There is a limited amount for infrastructure which is a good thing. There is a tiny amount of money to help immigrants (not nearly enough). A tiny help for students (once again not nearly enough; almost all the new money for grad students). I do like the prospect of a ten year passport. I like the debt being paid down. There is a lot of stuff in this budget worth keeping. The sins here are of omission or of previous commission. There was no money for this budget because it was spent in the last two years. If there had been more money, we might have seen:
  • Real money for the environment. Okay, not bloody likely from the Tories but we can dream. Some concrete plan to fight climate change might have been nice anyway. We have in this budget: 66 million for industrial standards (which won't be tough enough) and 240 million to try to figure out the whole carbon storage thing. The latter is great if, a this is a huge if, it works.
  • Real money for cities. Don't get me wrong, the infrastructure money is a nice start. As is the money to help immigrants. However, in both cases it is a fracture of the amount necessary. Cities across this country need help.
  • Real money for universities. Remember the millennium scholarships of Jean Chretien? Compare and contrast the numbers. The first point on this list could also have been for universities to help solve the problem. Two birds, one stone.
  • Health care anyone?
  • Real money to help Canada remain competitive. Ontario is in full panic mode. Perhaps Mr. Flaherty should go talk to his neighbours in Oshawa about the prospects for the Canadian auto industry. Or, he could talk to his friends at the banks about how their years are going. I don't love corporate bailouts, but some incentive for investment might have helped in this time of need.
All of these things are good reasons for people to vote Liberal in the next election. However, it is difficult in a budget debate to say, "we're bringing you down because you didn't do enough." There is no poison pill either for the Liberal caucus or for the country. The cuts to the GST were far more destructive than this budget will ever be. I'd like to see this government defeated as much as anyone else. However, I agree with my leader, this budget is neither the time nor the place to do so. Let's go win some by-elections.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only interesting thing is the Tax Free Savings Accounts

I'm sorry how is this going to help anyone especially the poor or lower middle class or the middle class for that matter.
Was listening to a economist on tv who said and I quote, hahaha...
the best is around $14 dollars, its a joke if anything....
do ur homework before u blog any kind of approval for these clowns...

aginsberg said...

I said it was interesting. I didn't say I liked it. It is certainly the only original idea in the budget. Thus, it is of interest.

Anonymous said...

The tax free account is brilliant. Apparently it's worked well in other placed where it's been inaugerated. I'm glad there was no new spending. Nice to see a government buck that trend...for once.

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