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Friday, May 27, 2011

Ideology vs Fiscal Responsibility

Posted on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM

The U.S. Pentagon's top acquisition official, Undersecretary Ashton Carter, has warned that the F-35 cost-per-aircraft will be almost DOUBLE what we've previously been told and the budget overruns are continuing to mount. The critics, foreign and domestic, were correct on that score.

Even Republican U.S. Senator John McCain has criticized the program saying "No program should expect to be continued with that kind of track record, especially in our current FISCAL climate. It seems to me we have to start at least considering alternatives."

Meanwhile, back here in Canada, deep thinkers in Harper's government are still claiming that the program will still be delivered "on budget". I'd like a couple of kilos of whatever it is that they're smoking.

Prior to the last election, Canadian voters, at least the ones who were paying attention, were warned by military analysts, both in the U.S. and Canada, that the F-35 program was going to be a LOT more expensive than the Conservatives were claiming.

In fact, it was the Harper government's refusal to reveal accurate costing of proposed budget items (like the F-35 fighter acquisition program) to the Parliament of Canada which led to the unprecedented Contempt of Parliament ruling and the non-confidence vote on March 25, 2011 which triggered the recent election.

The entirely predictable result of all this will be a significant increase in the Canadian public debt. The government will then frame our fiscal situation as a "choice" between cutting program spending and raising taxes. It is part of a premeditated strategy that will be cynically employed to manipulate citizens into supporting the Conservative plan of cutting program spending that they are ideologically opposed to (never mind the billions that they will spend on things they like) and to further the mythology that the Conservatives are the party of fiscal responsibility.

They learned it from U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who presided over the largest increase in the U.S. public debt in the country's history, a record which stood until surpassed by the simultaneous tax cutting and bloated military spending of President George W. Bush. Reagan was known as the "Teflon President" because the responsibility for his many policy failures, including the ballooning U.S. debt, was never attached to him personally. Maybe Harper will be Canada's first "Teflon Prime Minister". The triumph of ideology over fiscal responsibility writ large. —I'm Laughing But it Ain't that Funny

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