A Budget or Aspirational Theatre?

In this era of grave uncertainty it can be nearly impossible to judge a budget beyond the "what's in it for me?" test. Is this the hill the Liberals are prepared to die on, i.e. trigger an election? Or is this just political theatre, a wish list to run the gauntlet of minority government?

The CBC's Andrew Wherry sees it as exorcising the ghosts of Reagan, Thatcher and (sorry Brian) Mulroney, the beginning of the end of the neoliberal era. Up the Revolution! If it is then kudos to the prime minister and Ms. Freeland. I'm not convinced. Neoliberalism isn't ready to die just yet and it will not be going without a fight.

Over at the National Post there are dire warnings of the return of centralized state planning and collectives. No surprises there. The Globe's Coyne frets that the budget doesn't create a path for economic growth. 

The word “support” appears nearly 1,000 times in the budget; “benefit” or “benefits” more than 1,300; “gender,” 740, “Indigenous,” 831. By comparison, the word “growth” appears just 280 times; “productivity,” 39, “competitiveness,” 13.

In my humble view we don't know what this budget means. The Liberals are trying to hit a moving target. We are in an era of uncertainty and we're not prepared to meet disruptive events that can be economic, social, political or environmental. A full year after the fact we're still trying to formulate a winning strategy for a public health challenge. How is that going? Two words - Doug Ford. 


  1. All I could think of when I read details of the budget, Mound, is that it is clearly one designed to go into the next election. Many of the goals are far down the road and require a degree of co-operation from the provinces that will prove hard to achieve.

  2. All that budgets are proving nowadays is that capitalism as we know it has failed.
    What comes next is anyone's guess.
    I think the China model seems more likely to succeed, not that I would wish to emulate many of its' vulgarities.


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