Opinions

Debt politics are dead

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Debt is not a dirty word.

Well, maybe not anymore.

Federal Finance Minister Paul Martin's recent announcement of a $90 billion-plus surplus must leave some of the recent political opportunists with their head's spinning.

It seems for an eternity now, we've been talking about how the federal debt steals 30 cents of every tax dollar or about future generations being crippled. Indeed, if you let your family run up a $500 billion dollar debt, you'd be a bad person, wouldn't you?

Let's follow the advice of many a reactionary politician and call for immediate across the board tax-cuts. In fact, let's get Paul Martin to cut us all cheques. It's our money after all. Mind you, the $90 billion is really just an aggregate number of the total projected surpluses over the next five years and not actual money yet.

Like the Soviet Union, debt really proved to be less than expected.

With a $2 billion surplus, the Alberta Tories have our debt well in hand (mind you they created it, they should know how to
fix it).

Of course, this rosy situation can only mean one thing: debt politics and the scare tactics involved were empty and are now useless. We all fell for them. Don't we feel stupid?

But they're over now. Finally, Canadian society can move forward once again. But will we escape the lingering effects of debt mindset or will we be forced to accept skeletal social programs while cringing in case the big bad debt monster comes back?

How long have we heard the federal government claim, for the good of the debt, they can't give pay-equity to female employees who suffered from discrimination? How hard did Alberta fight against reimbursing victims of forced sterilization
before finally paying a measly $80 million.

Let's assume the right-wing has won and government should be run as a business.

Debt is a good thing for companies. If a corporation does not have a debt load, it is not extending its capital properly. Stockholders don't like that. The business gods don't like that. And, in the government's case, the citizens don't like it (shareholders intentionally not used).

Oh yeah, the other big benefit of a balanced budget is, of course, the growth our economy to six times its size, catapulting us to superpower status.

We now have the enviable task of watching as us balanced budget proposals flounder to the delight of military contractors and big faceless corporations, and figure out exactly what we want to do with our money.

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