Monday, August 22, 2005

Well Duh!

Poking around the web this evening, I spotted this revelation from the Alberta Government.

My goodness - Ralph's boyz are finally figuring out that they actually have to spend money occasionally. Things like roads, public building (say - schools) actually need upkeep - for King Ralph and his merry court to recognize this is nearly as big a revelation as Sir Isaac Newton's Physics.

I was in University when Don Getty started blindly cutting things like University funding, while spending huge dollars to pave every back road in the province he could find. When Ralph's bunch of bandits took over, the cuts simply started coming fast and furious from all over the place. Spending is evil became the mantra. We had to slay the deficit. A few years later, the deficit slain, Ralph turned his gaze on the provincial debt. Not only was spending evil, debt was truly evil. The gutting on the province's infrastructure continued, with Ralph blindly chopping away at the debt.

Today, with a provincial government pulling down billions in budget surpluses, Ralph's Boyz look around and blink at the fact that the provincial infrastructure is crumbling. Brilliant thinking! You spend nearly 15 years playing hack-and-slash with the deficit, avoid spending so much as a plug nickel of public money if you can avoid it. If I don't do basic maintenance on my house - like paint it occasionally, or replace worn shingles on the roof, it's pretty much guaranteed to collapse around my ears sooner or later. I plan those expenditures - I replaced the furnace and water heater shortly after moving in; a year or so later, I put a new roof on the place, and next year, the trim will need painting. No big deal any of it - as long as you do a bit of simple planning. If you don't - it tends to pile up on you, all at once.

Oh - the "free market will provide for us" - I forgot about that little piece of mythology. Just like the "open market" will save health care. Tell me another fairy tale, pal. The cheque has just arrived at Alberta's table for the last dozen years of fiscal "prudence" which really meant "don't spend anything". Infrastructure, like health, is an investment in the province. The "Alberta Advantage" won't mean squat if the potholes make our roads impassable, or the cost of a toothache is enough to drive a family into bankruptcy.

It's all about balance. Deficit financing of a governments "day to day" operations is bad news - debt taken on to support long term infrastructure investments is not. (So far, Real Estate remains one of the safest investment vehicles out there!) Ralph's chimpanzees are all missing half their brains - causing them to constantly tilt to right, and they are blind in the left eye. If there was ever an argument to elect a sizable opposition next election, this surprised revelation on the part of the Klein Conservatives is it.

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