Monday, February 02, 2009

What took them so long?

It's a little rich to see these reports: "Conservative supporters upset with Tory budget," "Stephen Harper, conservative sellout." After all, it's not like the looming and massive deficit came out of nowhere. Steps taken by the Conservatives over the past two years have been part of setting the stage for that $85 plus billion deficit. And we've heard little until now from the Conservative intelligentsia.  

For example, Tasha Kheiriddin wrote today:  
From a conservative perspective, the current Canadian budget offers the worst of all worlds: negligible tax reductions, tremendous spending hikes and massive deficits. It is a recipe for economic misery, as far removed from the conservative worldview as possible.
And here was Tom Flanagan yesterday (CTV link above):
Tom Flanagan, a professor and former Conservative campaign manager, said Sunday that these supporters are angry that the prime minister authorized a budget that will see his country plunge into an $85 billion deficit over the next five years.

"I am getting more people e-mailing me and commenting to me on this than I ever had by far on any other issue," Flanagan told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.

"I do think there is a problem among Conservative core supporters...I think many of them they don't like the budget and I guess I would believe that Mr. Harper has to do some things to reassure these people that his direction is still fundamentally Conservative." (emphasis added)
Kheiriddin decries negligible tax reductions, spending hikes and massive deficits in the budget. Yet all three have been present in Harper's policies of the past two plus years and no Conservatives sought to put the brakes on. It's only now that they're in a huff, as the budget gets flak from all sides.

On spending, recall in September the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation loudly blowing the whistle over the massive spending coming out of the Harper government to the tune of $19.2 billion:
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today updated its tally of pre-election spending announcements made by the Conservative government to $19.2-billion. The timetable is June 2nd to September 6th, the day before the start of the federal election campaign. This is roughly $198-million a day and more than $8.2-million every hour.
No cries about lavish spending then. Conservatives were trying to win a majority.

On "negligible tax cuts," combine the heavy spending with the GST cuts that were roundly panned by economists, taking @$12 billion out of the coffers per year, and it was foreseeable that a slowdown would set us into deficit. And that deficit is here, $13-15 billion projected already for 2009-10, prior to any spending being undertaken in this budget. So what is the Conservative position exactly...that $13-15 billion is OK but now $85 billion, well that's just pushing it?

Where have the Conservative finger waggers been for the past few years to lecture their guy who was leading us to this point? Likely too cowed by the group think deference paid to Harper who, having brought them two minority wins, still held out hope for growth. Looks like now that the bloom is off the rose, it's open season.