Budget

I meant to post this yesterday, but much like my confrères (consœurs?), I’ve been terribly busy at late. Much is afoot in the world…

So anyhoo, the Liberals (both Federal and BC) released their budgets earlier this week, to much fanfare, hoopla and discussion. So here’s my take:

The Federal budget gives things to the rich, the old, the young and the poor (actually the young and poor). As Leah said, it’s a fear-based budget. “We’re all getting old, let’s make sure Healthcare can support us.” “We’re getting old, let’s make sure we can max out our RRSPs”. If you’re middle-classed, and in particular, youthfully middle-class, you got squat from this budget, although as Brian pointed out (snidely), that’s how Canadian socialism works: Take from the middle class to give to everyone else, rather than from the rich.

My particular disapointment in this budget stems from two places: First and foremost, the complete lack of support for education. All across the country, primary & secondary schools are having their budgets slashed, while tuition rates are skyrocketing at the universities. Special Ed programs, after-school programs and arts & cultural programs are the hardest hit. To me it’s seems foolhardy to not make education a continual number one priority. Far more than healthcare, far more than defense, it can help everyone. My second disapointment stems from the infrastructure budget. That (I think) $3 billion over 10 years? what on earth good can that do? That won’t support public transit development, at least meaningfully. Even if it was only being used in the largest 5 cities in Canada, it would fall far short of what’s needed to really improve our infrastructure (and when I say infrastructure, I really mean public transport).

Of course, probably what makes this a good budget is that it seems to dissatisfy everyone: most people got a little, no one really got a lot. On the other hand, I’d rather see some target development in some areas. And, on behalf of my parents, who both rely on research grants for their work, I was very pleased to see an increase in R&D funding.

The BC Liberal’s budget, while been lauded as good for business (in the Sun & Province), seems a travesty to me. For the second budget in a row, social services are being completely slashed; the debt will increase again (by a smaller amount, though!), and there’s still a record deficit. On the plus side, there is a one-time large-ish transitioning & re-education budget for coastal forestry workers that are out of work, which is nice. But the budget still smacks of ideology over reality to me, which is depressing.