The nuts and bolts of a modest, lacklustre budget

John Geddes dissects the budget from inside the lock-up


Shot and edited by Tom Henheffer
Produced by Claire Ward

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The nuts and bolts of a modest, lacklustre budget

  1. There is a credible plan to get Canada back to balanced budget by 2015/16

    "Credible plan" kinda depends on who you ask, doesn't it?

    • Even though I don't really believe the governments spending projections, I still think they'll be out of deficit long before they predict. The people who project these things are just so consistently inept and pessimistic.

      • True, but you just never know when a government's going to need to create a deficit they promised we'd never need to fight a recession we aren't going to have.

        • Dion and Layton campaigned on the same promise, no deficit.

          • But they knew how to keep it.

      • Get used to the deficit…it'll be around for a loooong time.

      • With Flaherty at the helm, yes they are inept.

        But I will stick up for the pessimistic side, because good accounting practices go with the lower revenues and the higher expenses in the range of what they consider likely. I like this, because happy surprises are so much nicer than nasty surprises.

        • I think Flaherty looked very, very relaxed after the budget had been presented. I don't think I could say the same for the other three who were interviewed.

          I think Flaherty did a good job!

          • Oh, he does a great job, unless you want to have confidence in anything he just said. Have a look at his track record (I mean, look at all his previous budgets, and see what he got right). Not much. And it isn't like there were big surprises–everybody else knew when he opened his mouth that it was crap. http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2011/03/harp

            So why would we place any faith whatsoever into what he had to say yesterday?

          • I don't know Jenn, how can anyone review the summary provided by our bellwether Canadian newspaper and not conclude the conservatives have been the best money managers over the past 50 years?

          • I can definitely "not conclude" that.

            The charts show that by far the greatest period of debt growth was under Mulroney. It took the Chretien Libs a couple of years to turn things around, but everything was on a lovely downward trend for years before the Harperites took over.

            Flaherty has given us an inverted bell curve. Are they capable money managers? The numbers themselves are a bit of a wash, but last election they were in complete denial about the recession or any need for deficit spending, and there has been constant variance between their projected and actual numbers – so one has to wonder about their prognostication skills

          • One may need to look at the source code to see them, but rest assured that Stewart's comment is surrounded by sarcasm tags.

          • What's interesting is that in both the case of Chretien and Harper it took less than five years for the trend to be reversed, it's just that Chretien reversed the trend of rising debt, and Harper reversed the trend of falling debt.

          • Another note about that graph that I find interesting. Every single rise in the debt under the Liberals is preceded by a rise in the debt under the Tories. Meanwhile, every single lowering of the debt by the Liberals is followed by a rise in the debt under the Tories.

          • In other words: Thank goodness for the conservative money managers! Without their interventions, we would be awash in surpluses and all the other countries would hate us.

          • Flaherty was relaxed because he knew the numbers didn't matter; the budget was going to be defeated no matter what the contents, so he'd never have to live up to the numbers. We'll see his real budget if they get back in.

          • Rebbecca Black looks pretty relaxed in that recent viral music video too. That doesn't mean it's not the worst thing to happen to popular music in 50 years, lol.

            I'd also imagine that Flaherty is relaxed because he's confident about the election he seems to have just triggered. That has nothing to do with his budget or his government's economic performance. Besides, Flaherty may be relaxed, but it's just as likely that that's because he's oblivious as it is because he's confident.

  2. Nice to see a face belonging to John Geddes. :)

    I think the budget is a fair one.

    As to the tax credits for art lessons? Well, what better way to teach Duceppe that a small token can go a long, long way………………….!!

    • Nice to see a face belonging to John Geddes.

      Just FYI, if you go to the "Blog Central" section of the Macleans homepage (scroll down, on the left) you can frequently see pics of your favourite Macleans bloggers!

      • But Lord, don't you know: it's so much worth it to see a man in action!

        • True.

  3. I actually take issue with your statement that the CPC boast that they brought Canada through the recession better than most other countries is true.

    More truthful is that Canada had been better prepared to weather the recession and it brought the CPC through with a minimum of damage. To suggest that the CPC helped Canada weather the recession is to ignore what they did immediately prior to it — things such as loosening bank regulations and wiping out our surplus.

    To their minimal credit the CPC did manage to correct their actions, but it's faint praise indeed when you consider that they only did so after being more or less slapped in the face with the American sub-prime meltdown right in front of them, and even then it took the combined might of the House threatening coalition to get them to actually acknowledge what was going on.

    Basically, you've bought their spin. Personally I would have expected a little deeper analysis.

  4. Damn, I have to admit to one and all… Harper has been right about everything! Last night, I was all excited about this unnecessary election and this morning wham: blowing, drifting snow shutting down everything.

    I don't see how I can both shovel my driveway and get ready to make political decisions about the country. Why couldn't that damn coalition wait until peace flourished in the middle east, until natural disasters were tamed and spring showed up in the weather forecast rather than just the calendar?

    Also for those of you who doubted us deniers: ha! Global warming indeed!

    ps congrats to Geddes for pushing the "Coynes versus Wells" show off Maclean TV. It would be interesting to hear Weinman's take, but I felt in the final episode Coyne's haggard yet haunting performance was undercut by Well's consistently over the top pandering to the audience.

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