Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...The Debt-Free Delusion.


Marvin Shaffer, of the CCPA has an interesting commentary up about the Snooklandian's 'Debt Free' fallacy.

Point one focuses on the curious inability of the puffed-up proMedia punditry's inability, even with all its 'established credibility' to see the fallacy for what it is, where it came from, and what it has led to:

...The issue, however, is not whether the promise of a debt free BC will be achieved. It won’t, at least not in my lifetime. The issue is whether it was ever a reasonable policy objective in the first place. After all, debt supports investments and long term assets, as (the VSun's Vaughn) Palmer pointed out in his curiously soft, almost apologetic (recent) commentary. If no debt means no investment in needed assets we will be making future generations worse, not better off.

I recall when Mike Harcourt was elected, the mainstream media (with Palmer at the forefront) railed against increasing government debt, with virtually no regard to the investments and assets it enabled. That anti-debt campaign had two unfortunate consequences. It caused government to cut back on capital expenditures, however needed and valuable they might be. And it encouraged government to look to ‘innovative’ off-book financing in order to reduce the reported amount of public debt. The political need to hide debt led directly to the widespread use of P3′s even if that increased, through long term contractual obligations, the liability future British Columbians would ultimately have to pay for...

And point two deals with larger, really and truly important policy matter of running up debt on mostly worthless junk while we avoid investing in things that actually matter:

...The real policy problem in this province is not that we are failing to move to a debt free B.C. The policy problem is that we are incurring debt for things we don’t need, that arguably don’t offer benefits in excess of their cost or at best are low in priority relative to other pressing demands (think Cadillac upgrade to the Sea-to-Sky highway, Smart Meters, the NW Transmission line and the retractable roof over BC Place). And at the same time we are failing to make the ones we should, for example in early education and high quality childcare, flood control and other preparation for extreme climate events, and a host of other areas....


Hidden debt backed with longterm liabilities driven by largesse handed out, hand over fist, to cronies while we simultaneously strangle the baby named 'public good' out back in the bathtub?

Is it possible that there are actually a few Straussian wizards hiding behind the curtains marked 'Pay-To-Play' in Snookland?

Tip O' The (itchyscratchysummer) Toque to Norm Farrell on the Twittmachine, who is most definitely NOT an 'idiot blogger'  for pointing us back towards Mr. Shaffer's post.



Anonymous said...

P3 is just a cover word for oursourcing.?

Anonymous said...

Political pablum projected to pacify public perceptions- and win elections!

e.a.f. said...

debt free B.C.? We owe around $60 Billion. We are Detroit North, except we don't have the excuses Detroit had. We are in debt because various politicians gave out nice contracts to friends, like those P3s, stupid meters, stadiums, highways to whistler, run of the river projects.

Never let it be said B.C. went into debt to provide decent educations for children, provided children with a decent level of income within their homes, never let it be said B.C. went into debt to ensure schools met earthquake standards; never let it be said the B.C. government went into debt to provide adequate housing and incomes for the disabled.

B.C. has lots of debt and it will continue to pile up as Christie and her crew run this province into bankruptcy having their version of fun.

RossK said...




I truly believe that what you say was the true goals of the Golden Era...In fact Mr. Brown has said as much...The thing is, it did not make things better and now we have the pay-to-play playa's running the place.


Interestingly (and tellingly?) Mr. Palmer left out all mention of said wizards....I mean where does he think the paid and paying HST floggers and flack-hackery the wizards were running were up to (see CC4BC, for example) between the referendum and the election?

One of the bizarre things about his latest is the suggestion that the Snooklandians' moving back of the election date was actually part of some kind of grand strategy rather than the act of fear and expediency it really was given that they would have been stomped into oblivion if they had gone to the polls early as previously planned.

And speaking of the flack-hackery...Mr. Palmer may not but I distinctly remember who first floated the election delay rumour back in the day...


Norm Farrell said...

@ e.a.f.

Should be noted that the $61 billion debt reported as of March 2014 (forecast to be $69 billion as of March 2017) does not include all of,
"P3s, stupid meters, stadiums, highways to whistler, run of the river projects."

Most of those costs are in a separate list of "contractual obligations" that totals $103 billion, as of March 2014.

Strange isn't it that Liberal pols and spinmeisters talk about balanced budgets while debt rises at unprecedented rates. Les Leyne's July 22 Times Colonist column is a but one example of partisan misinformation reported about this subject.

Anonymous said...

Bc on road to Argentina by way of Greece Iceland and cypress.