|Ontario Premier McGuinty and his ministers|
Now a lot of us non elected types who manage businesses and our own households understand the most basic of financial concepts, that you can not continuously spend more than you take in. Sure on occasion, all of us have gotten a little loose with the purse strings in the short term, but generally we rein them in pretty quickly to avoid financial ruin.
So why is it that governments with their army of accountants and advisers can't seem to balance a budget? To be fair I understand that on occasion revenues will be lower that anticipated and might result in a short fall, but the theory is that you adjust spending accordingly. Our governments in general have gotten to the point, particularly in the last number of years where a balanced or surplus budget is the exception, not the rule. Where they celebrate the introduction of a budget that shows a slight reduction (not elimination) in its projected deficit from the previous years deficit. Case in point, the Province of Ontario.
The province which is currently in debt to the tune of around $260 Billion has just introduced their 2012 budget whose bottom line is a $15.2 Billion dollar deficit! The good news (if you can call it that) is this is a reduction from the previous years $15.3 Billion deficit. They're kidding, right? The best they can do is a $100 Million reduction on deficit projected at close to $16 Billion.
Now one of the ways they anticipate pulling off this miracle of financial wizardry is by encouraging their own citizens to drink and gamble more, thus generating additional "sin" taxes for the coffers. Like this will have no long term social repercussions. Trust me, I am not making this up.
Another point of interest in the budget is that the government will freeze wages for 1.2 million public servants with the premier stating that the government will legislate a wage freeze in 4,000 different labour agreements if it cannot be negotiated. Before I comment on this one, think about it just a bit and let it sink in.
Here I go.....
According to Stats Canada the population of Ontario in 2011 was 13.37 Million (13,373,000 to be exact), of those 4.1 Milllion were either under the age 15 or over the age of 65, leaving a balance of approximately 9.27 Million individuals between the age of 15 and 64.
So lets just for fun say this group is your potential work force, now we know that unemployment in Ontario is currently sitting around 7.5 %, which reduces our 9.27 million to about 8.5 Million actual workers. Now here comes the scary part.....
Based on Ontario having 1.2 million public sector workers this means that that about one in every 7 workers in the province is on the government payroll, that equates to about 13%. Now I realize that my math is not exact as the overall potential count of workers does not allow for those on disability and such, but doing so would further reduce the overall number and simply make the end result worse. Is it any wonder why Ontario has a financial crisis?
So what's the big deal, it's Ontario's problem. right?
Wrong again, if they can't get their finances in order, and in worse case scenario face defaulting on their debt, where do you think they will turn for money? Yep, someone will be on the first flight to Ottawa with bended knee and hat in hand.
So let me ask again,
Is it just me or does it appear that having a complete lack of common sense or any level of financial savvy is one of the prerequisites to holding an elected office in Provincial or Federal politics?