The cupboard is bare...

Andrew Coyne on Nova Scotia's financial woes

The cupboard is <em>bare</em>...Nova Scotia’s new NDP government plays the oldest card in the political deck. Next steps:

1. Announce that you cannot be held to your campaign promises, which were to balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting spending, as the situation has changed utterly.

2. Announce that you are amending provincial legislation mandating balanced budgets, though you forced an election over the previous government’s attempts to wriggle out of it.

3. Raise taxes.

4. Modify growth in spending slightly, announce that it has been “cut”.

5. Run big deficits.

6. Hope economy recovers.

7. As next election approaches, a) raise spending, but b) fudge deficit numbers to show budget balancing, just (at the top of the business cycle). Opposition parties will collude with you in (b) while denouncing (a) as not nearly sufficient.

8. Opposition elected on “fiscal reponsibility” platform.

9. Repeat steps 1 through 8.