Friday, April 8, 2011

Fast-Tracking End Of Deficit - Now You're Talking

Finally, we hear some promises from the Conservatives to tackle spending growth and to try to eliminate the deficit sooner than in 2015:
The newly released Tory platform calls for a review of government operations expected to cancel out $4 billion in spending in three years.

"Consolidating our fragmented computer system across government, I know we can save all kinds of money there. We've got 80,000 public servants retiring over the next few years. We don't need to replace all of them," said Harper, giving examples when he was challenged to describe where those cuts would come.

Factor those into Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's deficit projections from last March, and you end up with a $3.7-billion surplus by the 2014-15 fiscal year.
That sounds like a good start. And allows us to look forward for the Conservatives to finally be Conservatives, if only they are given the opportunity to work without having to appease the opposition with every move.

But why stopping there? How about not replacing any of the 80,000 public servants scheduled to retire in the coming years? That will be a mere 2.2% reduction in Canada's 3.6-million strong public service, but with all the extra billions saved on wages and more than generous benefits, it would be possible to end the deficit if not a year earlier then at least by late 2013.

That in turn will prevent further increases in public debt, avoid burdening future budgets with even more interest payments and it will free up some room for the long-awaited second step towards ending tax discrimination against families. (Yes, I'm talking about the income splitting.) So, Mr. Harper, how about giving it a try?

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