Monday, January 19, 2009

How Does He Think He Will Know?

Iggy lets Harper know what he has to do next week:
"This budget has three simple tests that it must pass," Ignatieff said. "Will it protect the most vulnerable? Will it save jobs? And most important of all will it create the jobs of tomorrow?"

This sounds lovely, but when confronted with the budget next week, how will he know the answer to any of those questions. I can see vaguely how he might evaluate the first two. "The most vulnerable" is a code-phrase for Liberal constituencies so the Liberals will want to see money channeled to them. "Creating jobs" means enormous government spending in a whole bunch of areas that appear to be otherwise planning to lay people off or are not currently hiring enough to please the Liberals.
But creating the jobs of tomorrow? Does he actually believe he has any idea what they are, other than lots of new jobs in new federal bureaucracies to support programs he wants to set up for his constituencies? In fact the urge to have the government spend like crazy on things that will 'create' jobs real soon now is likely to inhibit and at least delay the creation of the jobs of tomorrow.
Now don't get me wrong. I think Iggy knows this. And when Harper presents his budget, he will likely assert it is creating the jobs of tomorrow, though he knows otherwise, likely much better than Iggy does. After all, Harper has spent most of his energies trying to triangulate like the Liberals of old, and building budgets somewhat incrementally different from what the Liberals would have.
Now as for my personal preference (not my policy recommendation), if you really want my vote, I say commit to keeping all the jobs of yesterday and today in place for five more years. After that, come what may!

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