Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two problems that governments never admit...

Ontario's Debt Clock
In preparation for the Oct. 6th election, my local newspaper asked me for the two most pressing issues in my riding in 500 words or less. They might expect me to rail about the horrendous traffic, or long waits for medical care or the growing nanny state. No, those are just symptoms of the deeper more fundamental problems. Problems that won't be fixed by electing the same old parties and replacing them again with the same old parties. So here is my letter - 496 words -, and if you are a Libertarian candidate, or a candidate for any party for that matter, you may use this:

The two major problems facing Markham-Unionville are the same as those facing the entire Province of Ontario; they are:
(1) the increasing DEBT and 
(2) the increasing SIZE of Government.

When Dalton McGuinty was first elected, he promised not to raise taxes or have deficits. He has flagrantly ignored both promises.
The 2011 Ontario Budget, projected the debt for 2012 to be $282.3 Billion, more that twice the debt when the Liberals took office in 2003.
That budget also projects continued deficits and increasing debt until 2018, and that assumes that the economy will improve and interest rates stay low. This unprecedented, reckless, runaway spending is directly related to the second major problem: the size of the Ontario Government.
The Liberals have increased program spending in virtually every ministry as the Ontario government assumes more and more responsibilities from the private sector.
For example: McGuinty’s full-day kindergarten program has severely impacted private sector nursery and daycare businesses. At the same time, the Liberals have created an entire Green Industry of windmills and solar panels subsidized by taxpayer’s dollars through the FIT and microFIT programs.
The debt has been acknowledged by the Progressive Conservatives, and their laughable solution is to cut spending by 2% per year for four years, but increase spending in Healthcare and Education at the same time. That is not a solution at all.
All across the Western world, governments have realized that the profligate spending of the past 50 or 60 years has been greatly overdone. As a result governments have been forced to cut back everywhere, at all levels, to avert a financial crisis worse than the one the world faced in 2008-09.
In Ontario, Libertarians would make real cuts in government spending and decrease the size of government as quickly as possible. At first a budget freeze would be instituted followed by 10% cuts in program spending in each of the first four years across all of the 30 Ministries. This would include elimination or amalgamation of at least half of the ministries within one term.
For example, Markham-Unionville MPP Michael Chan’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture would be closed. There is precedent for this, in the US. The state of Washington closed their Department of Tourism in June 2011 due to budget constraints. Almost immediately, a consortium of private businesses and industry stakeholders formed the Washington Tourism Alliance, shifting costs from the State and public sector to the private sector.
Ontario has over 630 agencies, many like the LCBO, demand huge budgets. Even the Liberals have announced that they plan to cut a paltry 14 agencies if re-elected. A Libertarian government would cut hundreds of agencies, including the LCBO and allow competition in the retail sale of liquor, beer, and wine.
As government ministries and agencies are reduced, and program spending is cut, tax reductions will follow. Ontarians will have more choice about how and where their money is spent, and Ontario will become the dynamo of Canada once again.

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