Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pity the single male

For it seems we're the only group not singled out for special tax cut largesse in Tuesday's Conservative budget. As far as I can figure I'm coming out worse than I was going in.

I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about the budget, I think it has been well dissected elsewhere. Still, a few thoughts though. Politically I think it's good for the Cons, policy wise not so good for the country. As a political observer I appreciate their strategy, but as a citizen that takes an interest beyond the headlines some of their choices are unfortunate.

I'm surprised they didn't keep the entire Liberal income tax cut, the money was there. Instead they keep half, which can still be easily spun as a tax increase, although given all of their other little tax cuts floating around it's a tough case to make in a soundbite.

Usually I read the Globe in the mornings, but I came into a free copy of the Toronto Sun Wednesday so I read its budget coverage yesterday. Apart from the cover of a fairy princess Jim Flaherty sprinkling tax cuts to the good citizens (dammed Liberal media!) I was surprised to find the editorial/columnist coverage rather negative. Of course, the neo-Cons felt Harper et al hadn't gone far enough!

And really, this isn't a small-c conservative budget. There's no across the board tax cuts or slashes to government programs. If anything, government has gotten bigger, with all these targeted tax cuts designed to appeal to specific voter segments in the next election meaning more complicated tax returns and more paperwork for the bureaucrats to push.

You might call it bribing the voters with their own money, but hey a) the Liberals did it too!, b) campaigns are campaigns, c) it's called pragmatism, and d) When you're on a righteous crusade any sin is permissible for the Greater Good.

Playing chicken

As for this whole game of chicken nonsense, of course the Liberals are going to vote against it in the House. I was told that's what the opposition is supposed to do (by Stephen Harper). With the BQ's support it will pass. And in the Senate?

Harper seems to be daring the Liberals to vote it down in the Senate. All that's missing is a taunt about gonads. While such action would purely be symbolic, as it would go back to the House which would then pass it again once and for all, it's not necessary. Make our stand in the House, propose some carefully selected and crafted amendments, and move on. There's more important work to be done than waging symbolic and pointless fights.

If Harper wants to play fight, let him play with himself.

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