In the land of make believe known as Hollywood, some would argue that the most creative talents belong to the accountants. The really good ones can make sure that no movie ever really shows a profit. For more on that, Google the name Art Buchwald.
In Canadian politics, the goal for decades was to avoid running a deficit. A few years ago we seemed to be doing pretty well. Every province, as well as Ottawa was running a surplus. But even then, it was a bit of a Hollywood illusion in some cases.
The last province to continue printing the bottom line of its budget in black ink is Saskatchewan. Finance minister Ken Krawtez is still projecting a surplus of about $12 million this year, despite a shortfall of about 400 million in revenue from oil and potash.
Four years ago, Saskatchewan showed a surplus even when potash revenue alone came up short by almost two Billion dollars. In both situations, Brad Wall and friends dodged a deficit in a number of ways that make auditors very angry.
They stripped away profits from a variety of crown corporations. Manitoba has done the same with Hydro a number of times over the years.
They hiked taxes on liquor and tobacco, and they increased fees on a wide range of government services. The question that needs to be asked is Why ? Where is the crime in running a deficit when your finances are hit by unforeseen events?
This happens to homeowners when the furnace or the water heater break down. Stephen Harper is an economist who used to be a disciple of the 11th commandment Thou Shalt Not Run a Deficit. The meltdown of 2008 changed everything for a lot of us.
I think most taxpayers would prefer a more honest bottom line, even if the ink is a bit red, over a picture that belongs more properly inside the Walls of MGM.
I’m Roger Currie
You can listen to Roger Currie’s commentary by clicking on the link below: