Sunday, September 14, 2008

Drinking the Koolaid; Tory economic promises unfulfilled

The mantra of fiscal conservatism calls for a free market with minimal taxes and minimal government spending. The Conservative party has always made this a cornerstone of their election promises. In practice, historically, they have always over spent government money, usually by borrowing, so as not to raise taxes during their mandates. This is spelled out in an article in the Ottawa Citizen, Evaluating Harper's economic performance, written by Randall Denley:

Harper refers to prudent spending, but that's hardly the case. Harper's budgets have forecast big increases in government spending, then exceeded those targets. Their first budget called for a substantial 5.4-per-cent spending increase. The actual figure was 7.5 per cent. The next budget forecast 5.6 per cent more spending and came in at 6.9 per cent. That's faster spending growth than under Liberal Paul Martin. So far this fiscal year, federal spending is growing at an 8.4-per-cent rate. Where's the discipline?

Harper has lowered the GST by two points and created various small, gimmicky tax breaks, but he hasn't made any significant progress on cutting personal income taxes. Harper did get the lowest tax rate down by half a percentage point, but that only reversed an increase he had made the year before.

Given the increase in spending, and mismanagement that has the government sliding into deficit, it seems that we're not better off with Harper.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster