Christmas in November!

Well, it looks like Ralph Goodale took another look under the sofa, and found a few pennies to give out ... just in time for Christmas!

Look, I'm not one to complain about tax cuts, if they are balanced by sensible spending reductions. In this case, I'm not getting the spending reductions, but then, I didn't expect them. Instead, we got what I, and I'm sure most of you, expected: the Grits are shovelling cash out the door as fast as they can.

Hey, I miss my Newfoundland home as much as any expatriate living in Ontario does. That doesn't mean I want my federal finance minister to start channelling the spirit of Joey Smallwood. I have expect to see Goodale and Martin out paving roads and fixing sidewalks before the end of the week.

As far as what the taxpayer dollars are being spent on, some of it - such as the money for university research - may be quite defensible. What rots me is the fact that this was cobbled together as a vote-buying scam by a government that's about to be defeated in the House. I won't mind if the CPC promises to spend some of the same money, on things like, again, a post-secondary innovation fund, as long as it's not turned into a PR stunt (fat chance, I know). But I really hope the Tories don't just adopt a "me too" attitude to all of this.

Of course, it's not as if Goodale has been transformed into a supply-sider when it comes to taxes. As usual when it comes to Grit tax cuts, the sizzle is better than the steak. This is from the Globe story that I linked to above:

The Liberals are proposing cutting the lowest income tax bracket to 15 per cent from 16 per cent, retroactive to January 2005. They are also proposing chopping the two higher tax brackets by 1 percentage point by 2010.

The cuts mean a family of four with two working parents earning $75,000 will pay $798 less in taxes by 2010.

So, if my back-of-the-envelope math is right (not likely, but still ...), that family of four will get to keep an "extra" amount equal to just over 1% of their current gross income ... 5 years from now. The motto of the story: Don't spend it all in one place, and for God's sake, don't spend any of it till 2010.

And finally, what really galls me, at first blush, is how the Grits have once again shown that their previous forecasts as to the size of the surplus were as phoney as three-dollar bills. Here's a brief example of what I mean, from the CBC story I linked to above:

One year ago, for example, Goodale's last economic and fiscal update
projected that the surplus for 2005-06 would be $500 million, followed by $900 million in 2006-07. Monday's document revised those figures to $8.2 billion and $9.2 billion, respectively.

I would make a joke about how Goodale only missed the mark by $7.7 billion for '05-'06, and $8.3 billion for '06-'07, but honestly, I'm well and truly p*ssed about this. Canadians shouldn't expect too much from their governments, but this is a complete and utter slap in the face to anyone who, at the very least, expects the government to take the business of projecting budget surpluses and deficits seriously. I honestly wouldn't be squawking about this if Goodale and Co. had "only" been off by a "mere" billion dollars or so, but this ... this is just G*ddamned ridiculous.

I hope that the so-called mainstream media (God, what an overused term, but I can't think of another one right now) spends at least a little bit of time pointing out that based on prior performance, Goodale's latest estimate of the size of the surplus is nothing more than a flat-out farce ... but I doubt it.

More later.


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