So with the federal budget coming down today I expect to spend some time reading the beast of the document that comes with it. I always seem to find a few interesting details in the back pages. Yet what do I think we can expect today? In short a lot of games.
Game #1: A Fee/Premium Isn’t a Tax
It’s amazingly similar. The government takes your money and uses it for things you don’t care about. To me the difference between a user fee at airports or an EI premium increase and a tax is just a game. They are the same thing. Yet it allows the government officials to say “we are not raising taxes.” My goodness, why can’t they be honest and say: we screwed up by cutting the GST so much. We need to rise it back up one percent or perhaps halt our business tax cuts.
Game #2: Freezing MP wages
It looks like a good PR move to show they are sharing the pain, but freezing MP wages is bullsh$t. The real dollar hit from MP’s is their pensions and there are a lot of MP’s that are close to their six years of service to qualify in the government. You can bet as they look to the civil servant pensions for savings they won’t be touching their own pensions.
Game #3: Ignoring the Elephants in the Room
As much as Canadian’s like to pride themselves on not being Americans we do share a similar budget issue: exploding health care and senior benefit (OAS or Social Security) costs. Yet both will likely be ignored in this budget since pissing off the baby boomers is a rather good way to lose the next election. Yet the truth is somewhat is going to have to look at those issues and soon because we collectively can’t keep things the same. There isn’t enough workers left to pay the bills regardless of how much you tax, sorry, fee us to death.
In conclusion, I don’t expect a lot of progress on this budget. It will be mainly be a stay the course budget with a little window dressing. So what games do you expect to see today? Or are you hoping for something in particular?