Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On crippling the public finances

Let's compare...

The Globe editorializing on the F-35 announcement in mid-July:
Fighter jets do not come cheap. On Friday, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay announced that Canada plans to spend $9-billion on 65 Joint Strike Fighter F-35s to replace our current fleet of aging CF-18s. Add in maintenance costs, and the total sum will likely rise to $16-billion. And yet we must remember that sovereignty does not come cheap either.
Yes, by all means, let's not be "cheap!" We're only talking $16 billion on the F-35s. But no real concern is expressed in the editorial about how to pay for the jets or the lack of a competitive bid process.  Instead, and rather incredibly, the Globe bought the Conservative talking points about there having been a competition for the F-35 already. But we know that was a U.S. competition, not Canadian.

Now here's the Globe today editorializing on Ignatieff's home care announcement from last week:
Canada needs more and better home care. How to pay for it economically, and without crippling the public finances, will be a challenge, for all governments and political parties. At least Mr. Ignatieff has had the courage to raise the subject.
How to pay for this one is raised, for starters. And doing so "without crippling the public finances" is its framing, as if this policy would be the difference maker. So on a floated cost of $1 billion, versus $16 billion above, suddenly a critical lens is applied to the costing. It's actually not a bad editorial overall on the policy, but that double standard on the budgeting jumped out.