8/19/11

Will Ontario funding plans be revised if there is a double dip?

It's amusing to see the Harper government begin to prepare the way for stimulus spending should the economy dip into a second recession.

After the election, the Harper government changed its focus to curtailing public spending  -- or, as they like to refer to it, “lowering the deficit”. Programs for working people would  have to be scaled back.

But curtailing spending (and reducing the deficit) is, apparently, quite expendable if the economy tips downwards. 

If events do go this way, I'm betting that most of the stimulus will go directly to corporations (and the well to do) via infrastructure spending, cash for struggling corporate industries, and tax cuts. 

Programs aimed at working people will get short shrift from these guys: the squeeze on these programs may even get worse.  

And that's a pity -- the government stimulus may be necessary to stop capitalism from choking off its own growth, but why not stimulate growth by supporting programs for working people, i.e. those who are most affected by the downturn (and who spend most of their dollars at home).

And Ontario?
To date, this change in emphasis has not come to Ontario politics.  Both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives have announced funding plans firmly focused on curtailing spending after the election.  These funding plans would mean a much tighter squeeze on health care, social services, education, and other programs that benefit working people

And so far, they haven't even whispered about changing those plans.  

But the re-consideration of stimulus spending is beginning in many parts of the developed world.  

So Ontario policy development is lagging much more than just the Canadian debate.  

If it does come to Ontario, stimulus spending that directly benefits working people should be on the table.  

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