Simplistic economic policy – Opinion/letter – Simplistic economic policy
September 26, 2008

I am astonished at the continued success of the Conservative party in polls asking which party is best qualified to manage the economy. Conservative economic policy consists of only three elements:

Tax cuts. They are always presented as good, although this depends on the underlying assumption that all government spending is bad or wasteful.

Deregulation. Trusting for-profit corporations to give priority to things like public safety.

Privatization. Contracting for-profit corporations to provide services currently offered by the public service, on the theory that the private sector can somehow provide better service for the same or less money while making a profit at the same time.

No Conservative federal government in living memory has run a balanced budget. Stephen Harper’s government has barely managed to refrain from completely erasing the inherited and undisputed surplus, and is likely to run a deficit as revenues from income and consumption taxes fall, “forcing” cuts to programs that are viewed as leftist, such as employment equity, harm reduction, court challenges and arts funding.

Transfer of primary responsibility for food industry safety to corporations has given us the listeriosis crisis and 18 people have died; in Ontario, similar moves by the Ontario Tories led to tainted water and propane explosions.

Those who believed the misleading and outright false claims in Conservative attack ads recoiled from the prospect of increases in energy costs. They seem to forget that energy costs soared by far more under Harper than they might rise if the Green Shift were implemented – without compensation in the form of directed income tax cuts.

If Ontarians in particular want Harper to do at the national level what Mike Harris did to Ontario, then by all means, they should vote Conservative. The boardrooms of the nation will applaud.

Robert Moriyama, Toronto

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