Zero means zero

Maxime Bernier muses on government spending and taxation in a speech to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg.

Let’s try a thought experiment. Let’s say that the federal government is big enough as it is and that expenses are not going to grow anymore. And I’m not saying zero growth adjusted for inflation and population or GDP increase. Just zero growth. The overall budget is frozen. From now on, any government decision has to be taken within this budgetary constraint. Every new government program, or increase in an existing program, has to be balanced by a decrease somewhere else.

We will no longer have debates about how much more generous the government can be with this or that group, as if the money belonged to the government instead of taxpayers. The focus of the debate will shift to a determination of priorities: what are the most important tasks for government to achieve with the money we have? Is this government function really important and should we have more of it? Then where should we do less or what should we stop doing and leave in the hands of the free market, voluntary organisations and individual citizens? The silent majority’s interests are always being protected.