Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

And the winner? He who promises the most!

Well folks, here in Alberta the provincial election is in full swing with only 10 days until the big event. As expected all of the party leaders are busy making the rounds and trying to convince all of us why their way is the path to the happily hereafter. All ends of the political spectrum are covered, the left, the middle, the right, with some parties trying to hedge bets by being everything to everyone. At times it is difficult to knows who is on first, and who's on second.

taxpayer, government spending, Alberta election
Like a carrot on a stick
None the less they all share one thing in common, when it comes to spending " the sky's the limit". With every speech given by a party leader more taxpayer money is doled out, You name it they seem to have it covered, in fact some of them are are promising funding for problems most of us didn't know existed. It's gotten so bad that the Average Joe (not to be confused with Frustrated Joe) has lost track of all the promises of spending and who committed to what.

What's worse is that the leaders seem to be competing as to who can promise the most spending with the goal being to simply "buy" the voters. I have a bad feeling that as taxpayers we will be paying for this election for years, if not decades to come (so whats new, you ask).

So how bad is it?
Well, lets start on the Left and work our way over to the Right, or what used to be (in theory) the Spenders and Fiscally Responsible.

The Wannabe's 
New Democrat Party - Led by Brian Mason a former public transit bus driver (at least this guy can count change), they don't garner a lot of support in this province. However from this party we tend to expect wild spending with no foresight, generally over and above any election promises. But at this point they could promise the world and not have to deliver, their chances of winning this election are about the same as the proverbial snowball in hell. However, they may find themselves in the position of propping up a minority government formed by one of the "contenders" (see below), as it appears to be that close of a race.

Spending Promises? 29
Taxation Plans?        $3.6 Billion in new taxes
Cost Of Promises?     $1.9 Billion
Highlights -                 Make Alberta an environmental leader by issuing deadlines
                                to big industry to clean up after itself, such as setting
                                "science-based"guidelines for oilsands companies to clean
                                up existing tailings ponds at their own expense. They
                                would also offer oil royalty incentives to companies that
                                upgrade bitumen in Alberta.
                                Take from the oil companies with one hand and reward them
                                using their own money with the other. Good Plan? Well it
                                is the same one they plan to use on the rest of us as well.

Liberal Party Of Alberta - Led by Raj Sherman, Former Conservative who crossed the floor (or as his website states "he took a principled stand") and then proceeded to "Cry Wolf" about doctor intimidation in the health care system, funny no proof was ever presented by him.

Spending Promises? - 37

Taxation Plans?           $1.6 Billion in new taxes
Cost Of Promises? -     $770 Million
Highlights -                     A promise to slash tuition fees, with the goal of
                                  eliminating them altogether by 2025 and a pledge to
                                  "raise taxes on the rich" (no wonder I get these birds
                                  confused with the NDP). For reference the Liberals
                                  apparently define "rich" as any income over $100K
                                  a year, the silver lining (if there is one) is that pretty
                                  much includes every MLA.

The Contenders
Middle- Right
Progressive Conservative Party -Current Ruling Party - Led by Alison Redford, our Premier who acquired the job when former Premier "Steady" Eddy Stelmach stepped down in late 2011. In my opinion she got off to a rocky start, but appears to be working hard to sell a new image..

Spending Promises? - 22
Cost Of Promises? -    $3.4 Billion
                                          (shame on you Alison, this is anything but "Conservative)
Taxation Plans? -         No proposed increases, small reductions in the form of tax credits
Highlights -                  A promise to build 50 new schools across the
                                   province and renovate 70 more over
four year
                                   (total cost $2.4 Billion).

WildRose Party of Alberta - Led by Danielle Smith, this is supposedly the most right wing of the parties. Currently they have 4 elected MLA's (3 who crossed the floor from the Conservative Party) and Danielle herself does not even hold a seat.

Spending Promises? - 9
Cost Of Promises? -  $308 Million

Taxation Plans? -        No proposed increases, small reductions in the form of tax credits
Highlights -                 A pledge to issue resource “dividends” of about
                                  $300 (Holy Ralph Klein, Batman!)
to each
                                 Albertan by 2015 using a portion of any surpluses
                                 and another $130-million
annually towards a $2000
                                 child tax credit

(Bear in mind that not all spending promises have been fully costed-out by each party,  imagine that a politician proposing a plan before they have a cost on it? The Alberta Liberals have 14 un-costed spending promises, the NDP have 9, the PC Party has 5 and the Wildrose have 3. So the estimated costs shown are subject to change.)

One of the things that surprised me about the above numbers is that just two months after introducing a provincial budget the Conservative party is making such major spending promises as 50 new schools, expansions at five universities and major health care expenditures, They didn't seem to feel any of these were needed just 2 month prior, yet they are today. So what changed in 60 days? I have a feeling Alison is up to her old tricks and attempting to buy a win with taxpayers footing the bill.

Now to be fair the NDP and the Liberals are at least up front about where the money is coming from to pay for their spending. Right out of our pockets, plain and simple! On the other hand the two contenders, the PC's and Wildrose have plans to spend more with no corresponding immediate increase in revenue. Considering that the province is currently running a deficit how does that work?

The bottom line is no matter who wins, the victory will come with a price tag. The good news is that the provincial treasury should be overflowing as the oil sands really hit their stride, with a $5-billion surplus expected by 2014-2015, and beginning the same year the new health transfer formula will mean another $1.1-billion from Ottawa (like they have any extra money to dole out). However the bad news is one day the oil will run dry.....

1 comment:

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