Name that Budget!

The “Whack-a-Mole Budget” is my suggestion.

Somewhat related to that notion, via Jeff comes the following excerpt from CBC’s Politics program this afternoon where Andrew Coyne and Chantal Hébert weigh in with considerable degrees of withering scorn on Flaherty’s latest hapless effort to muddle through the economic turmoil.

Coyne: “I think politically it’s fascinating because you can say that this marks the end of any kind of conservative era in Canadian politics. When the outer bounds of right-wing politics in Canada is running $34 billion deficits, spending more than the Trudeau government ever dreamed, it’s completely impossible now to mount any kind of coherent appeal for mild restraint in the growth of government, let alone trying to roll it back.”

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30 Comments

Filed under STEPHEN HARPER Govrnment of Canada

30 responses to “Name that Budget!

  1. I, of course, have chosen “a Budget about Nothing”… but I like the “whack-a-mole” too…

  2. Ah yes, I’ve been following your Seinfeldian take on this outfit with some considerable amusement.

  3. Ti-Guy

    “I think politically it’s fascinating because you can say that this marks the end of any kind of conservative era in Canadian politics. When the outer bounds of right-wing politics in Canada is…etc. etc.

    Maybe it’s the end of the era in which we considered these radicals conservative? Maybe it’s the beginning of the era where the only distinction that matters is the reality-based and the loonies who, after they’ve been properly marginalised (ie. interned…*cackle*), we can start talking meaningfully about liberal and conservative again?

    There’s never been anything “conservative” about this collection of liars, rubes and know-nothings and it’s about time we all acknowledged that.

  4. Whack-a-mole is a perfect assessment.

    We’re frying our chickens before they’re hatched????

  5. Ti-Guy

    “Maybe it’s the beginning of the era where the only distinction that matters is the reality-based and the loonies who, after they’ve been properly marginalised (ie. interned…*cackle*), we can start talking meaningfully about liberal and conservative again?”

    s.b

    “Maybe it’s the beginning of the era where the only distinction that matters is that between the reality-based and the loonies after whose marginalisation (ie. internment…*cackle*), we can start talking meaningfully about liberal and conservative again?”

    Sorry for the inelegance of my prose.

  6. MoS

    Why do these two look so much like undertakers?

  7. knb

    Coyne’s face is priceless, not to mention the body language. He was equally as scathing tonight on At Issue, as was Chantal.

  8. Coyne looks really pissed, but I think it’s kind of cute that, three years in, he can still be disappointed by the ideological failings of the Harper Conservatives. He’s a smart guy, you’d think he’d know better.

  9. MoS — They do look fairly morbid, don’t they? I think a lot of these chuckleheads need a good dose of fresh air and exercise. Too many of them are starting to look like characters from a Wes Craven movie.

  10. Coyne does “withering scorn” like nobody else.

  11. Tomm

    Coyne looked really disappointed. His comment about the CPC just replacing the LPC was showing how disgusted he was with the budget offering.

  12. MississaugaPeter

    Can someone please explain to me how is this a Liberal Budget?

    1. It does NOT have a surplus.

    2. It does very little to help our aboriginal communities (vs. the Kelowna Accord).

    3. It does NOT focus on more affordable, childcare spaces.

    4. It provides more tax refunds for building additions than building homes for the poor and homeless.

    5. It does nothing to help postsecondary students (note: most students don’t make over $8K/year)

    6. It …

    This Budget hid the $12B deficit (prior to any new spending) for this coming year. A $12B deficit the Conservatives created by their 3 years of pathetic stewardship.

    This Budget has done next to nothing to help “families in crisis” as a result of this economic downturn.

    This Budget does very little to improve Employment Insurance system when it is needed most.

    This Budget has not created nowhere near the number of jobs required (or number of jobs to justify the enormous deficits that we, our children, and possibly our children’s children will end up paying for).

  13. Navvy

    Mississauga Peter, this is the lie that the “conservatives” tell to convince themselves that it’s all the lefts fault. Instead of admitting that they’re about as good at budgeting and stimulus as a 1st grade math class they say that it’s a Liberal budget! It has to be a Liberal budget because it’s shite! It’s based on the absurd, and completely non-factual, notion that “conservatives” are inherently better with money, forget Mulroney, Bush and Harper, they’re not REALLLLLLLY conservative.

  14. This notion that the budget is a “Liberal budgetl” (also referred to as being an “NDP” or “Coalition” one — basically anything but what it is: a “CONSERVATIVE” budget), is completely specious — which is why Ignatieff (and Layton) were smart not to be directly involved in its formulation.

  15. Coyne gets so upset if anyone is helped and anything is subsidized by government….other than, of course, that magazines like his are subsidized.

    He can’t be happy about anything – it would ruin his career.

  16. Ti-Guy

    Can someone please explain to me how is this a Liberal Budget?

    Of course, when the Conservatives, with their lies, shift the focus of the argument onto to their detractors, usually Liberals, we all dutifully comply by arguing why there assertions are false, while they sit by and watch whatever perception they wish to create is amplified.

    It’s the most tiresome habit progressives have. We should be asking them constantly to substantiate there assertions or to withdraw them if they can’t.

  17. I see what you’re saying, but don’t think we’re amplifying the claim by flatly stating that it’s false. Unfortunately, your solution of taking “them” to task isn’t very easy to do with a widespread meme that’s dispersed in the media and through various blogs.

  18. I dunno Red…this sure looks like the budget Bob Rae delivered in 1991 in Ontario. And we know how well THAT worked out.

    Funny, I seem to remember a certain Jim Flaherty back then who thought what Bob did was a horrible idea….

  19. Ti-Guy

    I see what you’re saying, but don’t think we’re amplifying the claim by flatly stating that it’s false.

    But that’s not what we’re doing. We move on to argue (sometimes inaccurately, I might add) why it is false. That’s where the amplification occurs, since we all end up talking about the shift if focus…”this is a Liberal budget.” That’s the point of putting people on the defensive; it inevitably creates the impression that the false accusation has some kind of merit.

    I realise it’s fruitless to ask certain people to substantiate their assertions, but most informed discussions happen that way…especially when you’re dealing with right wing blowhards.

    I also realise that a lot of people (mostly men) enjoy that kind of conversation, so I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun. But it just seems to ubiquitous and I despair…despair I say!…that too many people get away with making claims they never have to back up.

  20. Mike — I have to join those who are skeptical about all this spending. Don’t get me wrong… I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with investing money in infrastructure. It’s probably long overdue and has been largely neglected during the “good times” so there’s doubtless some catching up to be done in that area — if nothing else, just maintenance (with some upgrading perhaps) to keep things humming along, never mind building new whiz-bang high speed transit links, “smart” electrical grids, and so on.

    That said, as has already been pointed out here many times before, there’s already $7 billion worth of “shovel ready” money that’s been stuck in the pipeline that the government has been either unwilling or unable to let go of and actually deliver to other levels of government in order to get projects going.

    Many of the allocations in this budget are, to borrow an American term, nothing but “ear marks” for this or that interest group or vocal lobby. Some commenter on CBC last night called it a “Christmas Tree budget” and it’s most certainly that. These expenditures are, as Ti-Guy said, just debt — maybe they’re worthwhile, or maybe not. Hardly what could be called “stimulus” in the conventional sense of that term, but surely things that will be hard to pay off down the line.

  21. Ti-Guy — But that’s not what we’re doing. We move on to argue (sometimes inaccurately, I might add) why it is false.

    Ah, yes. I would agree with you there. That’s why I just said it’s specious and left it at that. I have no interest in attempting to “prove” a negative. (Which as we all know is an exercise in futility.) The onus is clearly on those making the assertion to substantiate it.

  22. Ti-Guy

    It’s probably long overdue and has been largely neglected during the “good times”

    I don’t really know to what extent this is true. One thing I give credit to the Harrisites for is that they did improve a lot of Ontario’s infrastructure…they replaced all the steel bridges in province, for example and improved a lot of the controlled access highways. The differences are obvious whenever you cross the border into Michigan or New York. I seem to remember that Canada was ranking very high (at least up until 2000…I haven’t checked recently) in international indexes when it came to infrastructure. Although I’m sure pockets of decay, particularly in Québec remain (but even there, it’s better than I remember from my youth) I’m not sure if we aren’t just falling into the usual trap of thinking we have the exact same problems the Americans have. We don’t.

    I’m not ideologically opposed to deficit spending, but I’m convinced there has not been an adequate analysis of the underlying situation. Why would there have been? The last three years have been honky-dory, according to the Harpies. We seem to be just copying what the Americans are doing, in a watered-down, half-hearted fashion.

  23. This report from the Library of Parliament outlines the problem (or “challenge” if you prefer):

    http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection-R/LoPBdP/PRB-e/PRB0353-e.pdf

  24. Ti-Guy

    Thanks for that link Red. I keep forgetting that public transit figures highly in infrastructure deficits; whenever it’s discussed, the issue of the municipality’s inability to raise revenue comes into play and the chunks start rising in my stomach.

    The fact that municipalities are responsible for most of that infrastructure while representing the level of government where there is the least citizen interest/participation is an endless source of nausea for me.

  25. It’s a perverse reality of our system — a complete inversion of priorities.

  26. Ti-Guy

    It’s particularly bad in suburban municipalities, where the local politics are dominated by real estate developers and other, quite often corrupt, business interests.

  27. That’s true enough. I could say the same of the situation with our local municipalities, but they’re actually surprisingly progressive in many respects, even while being quite unabashedly pro-business and in the pockets of developers. That may not sound very favourable, but the end result is that they’ve improved this area immeasurably from the ex-urban slum it used to be (it formerly was colloquially referred to as “Dogpatch”). Still, some hardcore environmentalists, hippie holdovers, recalcitrant Luddites, and anti-development reactionaries are insistent on making a stink no matter what the local authorities do.

  28. It’s not just lack of citizen participation, it’s that in Ontario, property taxes are no longer solely controlled by municipalities. Toronto could afford to fund local roads and bridges when it didn’t have to pay for social housing upkeep. That was downloaded in a wrecked state and it can’t be improved. Same with a lot of the roads and ancient pipes. A lot of welfare costs and other “soft” costs were downloaded onto cities who can only use the property tax system to fund them.

    And those rates are partially set by the province and the city can’t run a deficit.

    Plus the moaners drive me nuts. If I hear one more story about some elderly person who wants to stay in their giant million dollar downtown house, and pay no tax increase, I’ll be sick. Most of them just fall down the stairs and break a hip, or get more and more demented all alone. They refuse to move into accessible housing like an apartment, or condo, but I’m supposed to pay more tax than them when they cry poor, yet are sitting on an asset like that.

    I see it everyday in my neighbourhood. Absolutely maddening. Perverse doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    And the city is supposed to pay for roads? How? With mystery money?

  29. Unfortunately, the municipalities are always left holding the bag and end up getting all of the grief from disgruntled residents when services fall short of the mark. It’s quite an inequitable situation.

  30. Mike:

    This is not 1991 – or even 1981.

    This is deflation, not recession.

    Big differences.

    This is a critical moment in history, and the CPC knows it.

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