Saturday, December 20, 2008

One of these things is not like the other.

There's this (all emphasis tail-waggingly added):

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is planning a massive stimulus package to rescue the economy that will produce a budget deficit of about $20 billion to $30 billion next year.

As opposed to this:

Are there no fiscal conservatives left in Canada? Evidently not: The allegedly Conservative federal government is set to post a deficit of up to $30 billion over the next four years, rather than addressing the issues raised for government by the recession through reduced spending.

Um ... those are two very different claims, are they not?


sooey said...

I guess what Harper has finally come to terms with is that Conservative politics destroy economies, Liberal politics save them.

Greg Fingas said...

Actually, there are two separate issues which Harper would like nothing more than to conflate.

The starting point is that the Cons have actually created a structural deficit (to use their term for what they'd avoid) over the next few years. Deficit Jim's current number for that is $15 billion including $5 billion next year, but that counts unspecified asset sales and spending cuts - so the business-as-usual number for the next four years probably is in the $30 billion range.

But that's before any stimulus comes into play. And it's by adding, say, $15-25 billion in stimulus that the deficit for next year alone will likely reach a similar number.

Now, Harper's game is to try to link the two numbers as often as possible in order to pretend that the actual deficits over the next few years are solely a result of the stimulus. Consider it his Saddam-9/11 link - he probably won't let himself get caught claiming directly that the deficit is solely the result of the stimulus package, but will do his best to confuse the issue to the point where the general public sees the two as inseparable.