Posted by: Alvin | February 2, 2009

BC Gov’t Announces Two Years of Deficit Budgets

BCSPEECHSo yesterday I wrote about the danger of being ideologically rigid. I said that it can lead to bad policy decisions, alienated stakeholders, and public disenchantment. I should have added that it can make you look pretty stupid too.

In late breaking news just now, Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen have confirmed that they will be running a deficit budget this year and the next (this after announcing just a few months ago that BC would show a small surplus). Now they’ll have to recall the leg and ask to be exempt from the law the Liberals passed themselves making it illegal to table a deficit. So here we see an example of rigid ideology (the idea that deficit spending is always bad and always avoidable) making you look dumb. I understand that the Liberals like holding the torch of fiscal prudence, and deciding to run a deficit was a good call (what also would have been a good call though is not raising the wages of your top bureaucrats in the midst of a global financial meltdown). But guess what? Going off the deep end and characterizing deficit spending as NDP incompetence and making it illegal doesn’t look so good. And why is that? Because good policy makers and smart politicians know that the world is grey and they plan accordingly.

All this said, will the Liberals pay for this? No. The media won’t let them, plain and simple. The good news is that as long as the NDP doesn’t react with it’s own brand of ideological rigidity and instead behave seriously and sternly (as they should to demonstrate fiscal maturity) they stand to gain.


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