A cruel irony of the federal budget, introduced on Monday by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, is that child care was a big part of the 700-page document, among other things, all with large price tags attached.
The cruelty is that those who are children today are going to be paying for this budget for many, many years to come once they come of age and enter the labour force.
This budget has over $101 billion in new spending over the next three years, and will add a deficit of $154.7 billion this year, on top of the $354.2 billion deficit from 2020-21.
Since this is the first budget in two years, it encompasses that huge deficit, and the projection for the federal debt is for it to surpass $1.4 trillion by 2025-26. That’s billions, with more zeroes added to the end, an amount that is very difficult for most people to even imagine.
What these huge dollar amounts mean is that there are going to be debt payments required by this country for many, many years to come, both current and coming generations.
It was not for nothing that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation characterized this budget as Freeland’s “fiscal inferno”, as there seems to be no limit to the spending the Liberals are doing, in spite of going into massive debt.
Freeland stated that they are banking on using the low interest rates that are currently in place, and indeed even said it would be irresponsible not to do so.
Irresponsible is the term that would describe this reckless spending spree, with a Russian roulette mentality. There is no guarantee whatsoever, given the state of the economy in Canada and around the world, that the interest rates will remain where they are now.
Referring back to the daycare program, under which the proposal is to have fees down to $10 a day within five years, it is well-intentioned. If we could afford it, this program is what working families need, particularly those families dealing with impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (and that would be nearly every family in the low to middle income brackets).
The problem is, of course, we can’t afford it. This kind of program was talked about when we had a much, much lower debt and it was deemed then as too expensive — but it’s brought out now? Certainly there are families who could really use it, but can this country afford the price tag of $30 billion over the next five years?
The fact that the program is aimed at benefitting children, the same ones who will grow up to inherit a massive debt, is not doing any favours for our future generations.
Indeed, this budget is not doing any favours for most sectors of the economy, and leads one to speculate that the Liberals may be spending their way to an election, not the best way to be handling a pandemic.