Nobel Prize winning economist, George Akerlof, once accused George W. Bush of "looting", finding no other term for what amounted to the worst fiscal policy in 200 years.
Bush had raided Social Security, launched expensive wars that he had to borrow money to finance, and jeopardized the future of programs like Medicare.
A perverse logic that if he went on a massive spending spree, while reducing revenue by granting unheard of tax cuts for the wealthy, he would drain the treasury, meaning that Congress would not be able to pass any additional spending bills.
Unless they were for war, of course.
Like Stephen Harper, Bush had been left with an enormous surplus, but blew the bank long before the economic downturn. In Bush's case he actually helped to expediate the crisis.
It's hard not to see a pattern here. While Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty are promising more "bad news" and an "austerity budget" in the not too distant future, it's time to look at this government's spending habits.
- 130 million dollars on television ads
- 45 million dollars on signs
- millions to private religious schools, which included hundreds of thousands on an indoor soccer field, that is closed to the public.
- 100,000 to make a spending announcement in Cambridge Ontario because MP Gary Goodyear was in trouble over an alleged adoption scheme.
- 15 billion dollars to build more prisons while Canada's crime rate is the lowest in history.
- 100 million spent on opinion polls, while completely ignoring the "opinions" or wishes of Canadians.
- Billions in tax "incentives" to the tar sands.
- 50 billion in corporate tax cuts.
- 1 billion for the G-20 that resulted in the worst human rights abuses in this country. The bill included almost 100,000 dollars spent at mini-bars.
- 30 million dollars to change our census, despite the fact that no one wanted it changed.
- 50 million poured into Tony Clement's riding to help his re-election bid.
- Hundreds of thousands on first class travel, because heaven forbid they should be forced to fly economy.
- 19 billion for fighter jets that Americans are concerned may have safety issues. And though promising Canadians service contracts, we learn that Canadian firms can bid on them with no guarantees.
- 650 million dollars in loans to an American firm, Pratt Whitney. The latest 300 million granted in a single day, even though no payments had been made on the 350 million "loaned" four years ago. Pratt Whitney had a profit last year of more than four billion dollars.
- The most expensive photo-ops known to man.
- Two million dollars so that Harper can tape his own film to give to the media.
- Millions to bribe provinces to accept the HST (Harper Sales Tax)
- 50 million dollars to Afghan President, Hamid Karzai's brother.
- Unprecedented use of military jets, while instructing the crew to not release the names of people travelling with Harper. As of November 2009, there were 1,900 such flights.
- 130 million to settle a frivolous lawsuit without any attempt to fight it.
- Suing the Canadian people, by suing the Canadian Wheat Board and Elections Canada, on behalf of the Conservative Party.
- Almost one million dollars in tax credits claimed by Conservative candidates, in the "in and out" election financing scheme.
- 300 million for an election in 2008, breaking his own election laws.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars wasted when Harper prorogued Parliament.
The list goes on.
These are enormous sums of money, taken from us with little in exchange. What value did Canadian tax payers get for this transfer of funds?
Are we better off, knowing that Harper's caucus can travel in style? Are we better off realizing that Harper can fly his friends around in our military jets, that may help with party fundraising, but does little for out of work Canadians.
Are we happier with his HST? Are we smiling, living vicariously through the orgy at the mini-bars? Can we ignore expensive medial bills if it means we have fighter jets to keep us safe from the Russians and prisons to keep us safe from who knows what? Did I mention that our crime rate is the lowest in our history?
This is looting on a massive scale. Absolutely massive.
And yet the Harper government is blaming us for expecting too much.
How selfish are we that we want perks like healthcare and education? That we want to live in a just society? That we want clean air and clean water and a climate bill that actually fights global warming? That we want our veterans and seniors rewarded for their service to our country? That we want to end poverty and homelessness?
It's time to pull the plug on this government. We can no longer afford them.