Letter to the editor – fiscal responsibility

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Dear Editor,

Every decade or two, in a moment of fiscal responsibility (or perhaps subliminal guilt?) the electorate chooses a government giving more than lip service to balancing the budget; maybe even one planning to pay down the public debt! Such governments must necessarily roll back the spendthrift policies of previous regimes, trim non-essentials, cut back services, curtail pay increases, and tighten bureaucratic belts. Every incremental cut, of course, makes them look bad in the eyes of some group, and inevitably, people object to and vociferously complain about the cuts they most dislike. This letter is addressed to such folk.

The Ontario debt has now ballooned to 350 billion dollars, or about $25,000 per person. As an Ontario resident, dear citizen, how would you like to pay off that debt? Your credit card won’t cover it and you don’t have that much cash, but you could remortgage your home if the banks will allow it, or you could maybe put up other collateral. Don’t like that approach? Okay then, we’ll take your children as indentured servants at minimum wage until your debt is paid off , with interest. Oh wait, each of them also owes $25,000, so that won’t work. It seems you may have to sell your unborn grandchildren – if we don’t kill them in the womb – into perpetual slavery to the transnational monetary powers that be. Just sign away their lives here, please! Oh, by the way, each of you also owes more than $18,000 in federal debt!

Now dear sir or madam debtor, perhaps you begin to understand? Which provincial budget cut was it you were complaining about? Next time you feel so inclined, please indicate instead how you propose to balance the budget, and then explain your cuts to those negatively affected. Alternatively, you could indicate your cheerful willingness to pay higher taxes in order to avoid the cuts you dislike, but I expect that option is even less palatable to most struggling taxpayers. Put simply, we cannot afford to keep increasing the public debt load from profligate public spending by deferring it to future generations. Governments must stop spending money they do not have, and we voters must stop being bribed with our grandchildren’s money.

Ed Norman.

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