Thursday, March 24, 2016

Federal Budget 2016-2017 Thoughts

There's not a lot I can say that hasn't been said by people who follow the federal budgets closer than I. This Stephen Gordon piece in Maclean's is good.

I would say that this follows the playbook of the Ontario Liberals, which isn't surprising when Trudeau's closest advisers (Katie Telford and Gerald Butts) are former Ontario Liberal advisers. Spend a lot, say it will bring growth and the growth doesn't materialize. Most of the spending doesn't seem like it will cause productivity growth and some of the social spending looks like it will encourage people to work less. People need to remember people respond to incentives.

When pundits say Canadians are OK with near 30 billion dollar budgets, I don't think they are totally wrong, however approximately 60% of Canadians voted for balanced budgets.

Finally the federal Liberals are also borrowing from the provincial playbook where they predict a colossal deficit and then claim they succeeded after they slightly beat that target. Or don't when GDP growth doesn't materialize sufficiently. Or a global slowdown occurs, which doesn't seem unlikely over Trudeau's term.

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