(This politically themed post is on request of a loyal reader, so blame him if you don’t like reading my ideological ramblings.)
I was asked by my good friend Roy to describe a liberal party as I would want it to be, and I’ll try my best. One important note is that these ideas are not party-exclusive, so feel free to take them and add them to your views.
I’ll start with the overall guiding ideals that would shape the decision-making process. There are 3 governing traits that define the political experience that I want to be a part of: sensible, responsible, and compassionate.
- Sensible means making policy and governance decisions based on fact and reason, and not based on emotion or how many votes it will get you in the next election.
- responsible means making the decisions that will lead to the greatest increase in the well-being of the Canadian people, even if it’s wildly unpopular with an interest group. The elected officials represent their constituents: not the corporations, not the unions, not any special interest group.
- Most importantly, compassionate means that every decision is made with the goal of creating a better, more compassionate society for our children. We are a country with great wealth, safety, health, and ability. Our humanity is best defined by the kindness we show others, and as a nation we should pursue that kindness from coast to coast.
These ideals are the ones I try to live by each and every day, and I want any group that I choose to support and work with to reflect these values.
“But these are just vague, ideological musings. Where’s the beef? I want specific policy statements!” you cry, and I will submit to your demands. be warned: there’s nothing radical in my personal platform. Those vague guidelines that I listed above keep me from being too far out on either side of an ideological argument, since I have to keep in mind all sides of an argument before charting my own course. So, in no particular order, a few policy ideas:
- PAY DOWN DEBT. Tax money paid to service the debt (aka pay the interest) is shameful spending, throwing away the hard-earned money of Canadians, all because the Government spent money they didn’t have. Accumulating debt is a crime against the next generation who will have to deal with your sloppy fiscal policy. Before we make any other fiscal policy changes, we have to get the books in order.
- Simplify the tax code. Close the loopholes. I won’t ever promise you tax cuts, but I will try to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share.
- Clean up corporate subsidies. Any government subsidy has to be measured against the long-term value to the community and to Canadians. How many long-term, permanent jobs will be created by the subsidy? If that money would create more long-term, permanent jobs in the public sector, then that’s where the money will go.
More than anything, I believe in a meritocracy, where those with the talent and will to succeed are able to do so, and our society as a whole benefits when we make the barriers to success as few as possible. I want to get everyone to the starting line, and then it’s up to them to go as far as they can. Access to healthcare, education, safe living conditions, all of these things will get our kids ready to compete.
5 thoughts on “My Liberal Party #LPC”
I agree with your 3 points.
Deficit budgeting is poor management, in my opinion.
The Canadian income tax system and laws are now so complex that most people need to pay a tax preparer to complete their tax return and they don’t understand the resulting documents. This creates a horrible situation of people being taxed but being helpless to understand how or why. (Did you know the Canadian income tax form used to be one, single page?)
There should be no corporate subsidies. If a business can’t function long-term on it’s own, it should close.
Good answer, Mr. Loblaw!
I completely agree with the sentiments, but my inner contrarian can’t help but point out that Paul Krugman has repeatedly pointed out that deficits are okay in an recession. In such a case, government spending is used as economic CPR to get the system working on its own. And yes, that means that government should cut spending when the patient is healthy. Of course, it would be nice if the system were stable enough to avoid the need for intervention, but even my inner optimist is doubtful of that ever happening….
There will be times where running a deficit is necessary, I absolutely agree, but the long-term goal is to create a robust economic environment that can circumvent those situations before they arise.
I really understand why you feel what you do – in your comments; really, I do.
However to elaborate from the comments made by Roy above and to expand:
the economics of a country/state is NOT the same as a household. It NEVER has been – and never will be.
A simple example that all can identify with — do you have any Canada Savings Bonds? Well… to you – the investor – that is a DEBT by the state…. payable to an individual… this is but on avenue for debt by the state – amongst many and ALL of the tools of the state to raise capital… yes – tools like a business – to do things for the common good.
The country is not the finances of the household – of pure debt and assets– the bank balance and the credit card debt.
The fundamental means to make things for the state -and has been in motion since before World War 2 — is that the state has the economic scale to make really big things happen… to get that project done…
You have to realize that the debt from World War 2 – never really went away — as we in Canada invested nearly 128% of our GDP growth into fighting fascism and totalitarianism.
Was that a bad investment? Was that unnecessary?
What were the payoffs for our benefit in the LONG TERM? — beyond our freedom?
Investment and multiplier effects into all our industries– jobs, pooling of other resources into helping other aspects of our economy (research, development, etc.)
Don’t sell short the aspect of developing the economy — debt is a good thing for a state….
It is not the limited economy of a house – or the individual…. contrary to all the pundits from the US have you believe…..
Take in this consideration — note how much we invested in the fight in WW2 and what the benefits were for over 3 generations – why is it that stimulus needed to be generated from The Enemy from Without?
We need money invested in the macroeconomics of the state and its infrastructure. Period. Full Stop.
How much – is always the debate.
I would argue – we have not at all – come close to even maximizing that investment – as we have been held back by the short term short sighted economics of the times — seeing only the year to year balance book.
Just my one example stated above with CSB’s — would you eliminate them – and why? By ideology or by financial facts….?
Ideology – is something the Conservative have staked and framed basic questions out there…. for economics — and are generally a ‘fact free’ zone.
Liberals – have time and again – called upon expertise — and analysis and facts… and will build a better Canada.
Happy New Year – peace, health, prosperity and joy to you and your family and friends….
Hons. B.A. International Relations – Glendon College, York University (1990)
Director – Barrie Federal Liberal Association Board
Thanks for commenting. I should clarify that I am not championing the absolute avoidance of deficit spending as a tool for the government to maintain long-term progress in the face of unanticipated adversity. There will be times where it’s necessary to run a budgetary deficit. Debt reduction has to be an element of any long-term fiscal policy, but the government has to look at both spending and revenue when making those plans. Unfortunately, people like to believe that deficit/debt reduction can happen simultaneously with endless tax reductions. If we don’t fund the government with sufficient tax revenue to implement long-term strategic plans, we get caught in the cycle of service degradation that we’re watching unfold right now.