Monday, June 04, 2007 needs remedial headline writing class

Call this a pet peeve of mine, but the headline on this Globe web story was like nails on a chalkboard to me:

Cutting health tax will put province in debt, McGuinty says

From Monday's Globe and Mail

June 3, 2007 at 9:56 PM EDT

, ONT. — Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty signaled Sunday that he plans to fight a negative election campaign as he accused the Progressive Conservatives of being “reckless” for pledging to cut the controversial health tax imposed by the Liberals.

“We've seen that movie before,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters.

Umm, guys, we already are in debt. By a healthy amount I believe. What Dalton is talking about is deficit, which is not at all the same thing.

If your annual budget for the year is not balanced, ie. you’re spending more than you’re taking in, that’s a deficit. That’s Dalton’s concern, Ontario is now in surplus and he feels this move would lead to a deficit. Debt is the accumulated deficits from all the years you spent more than you have that you carry over, are paying interest and are making payments on.

So Ontario, while in surplus, is still carrying a lot of debt from all those years it was in deficit. We are already in debt. We’re not Alberta. McGuinty’s concern is falling back into deficit. It would be kind of nice if the Globe headline writers knew the difference.

They had another wonky headline for awhile on Friday that was later changed, along the lines of Giant Airbus 380 lands for the first time. Many puzzled Globe commenters, who knew the plane’s first flight had been months ago, wondered just how the thing had stayed up in the air so long…

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