We’re liv­ing be­yond our means

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear ed­i­tor,

So, the Dun­derdale government fore­casts an ad­di­tional deficit of $4 bil­lion in three years. That rev­e­la­tion came re­cently from new Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jerome Kennedy as we are al­ready deal­ing with cur­rent pro­vin­cial debt which will reach $8.9 bil­lion by March 31.

If the cur­rent slip­pery slope con­tin­ues — I pre­sume most of the money to be saved by 2013-14 cuts will go to­wards paying in­ter­est on the $8.9 bil­lion — we are worse off. In three years, fac­tor­ing in an­other $4 bil­lion, our 2016 deficit could trans­late into $26,000 for ev­ery man, woman and child.

This from a government that set its 2012-13 bud­get based on oil prices be­ing over $120 a bar­rel. Cur­rently it is ring­ing in at ap­prox­i­mately $96 a bar­rel.

Some time ago, the cur­rent government was call­ing us a “have” province for the first time since 1949. Have province? If my math is cor­rect it in­di­cates a “havedebt” province, one the rest of the coun­try can view as hav­ing an as­tro­nom­i­cal fi­nan­cial cliff to climb. That debt does not in­clude Muskrat Falls ex­pen­di­tures yet to come.

Cut­ting equal­iza­tion pay­ments to the province gave us an ego trip. What did we re­ceive ex­cept a new feel­ing of pride? And that was good and well de­served, but not long last­ing. I think cut­ting cur­rent government goods and ser­vices (in­fra­struc­ture in­cluded) is a Band-Aid so­lu­tion. We could call it government by credit card.

Bill West­cott writes from Clarke’s Beach

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