March 20, 2019 12:04 pm

Bill Kelly: Do deficits even matter anymore ?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Wednesday that the government was prepared to handle possible debt that is incurred from the budget, but said they are continuing to work towards balancing the budget.

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It’s a question that makes economists cringe, but, to average Canadians, do deficits even matter anymore?

After leading the churlish behaviour of the Opposition Conservatives during the reading of the Trudeau government’s pre-election budget, Andrew Scheer once again chided the government for running deficit budgets.

That’s pretty rich, coming from the Conservatives, who ran nine years of deficit budgets when they were in government, but the larger point is, do average Canadians even care about a debate about deficits?

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Economists and financial advisers tell us we should care, but most Canadians are dealing with huge mortgages and car payments and household debt; in other words, they’re running their own deficit budgets.

Families, which receive the enhanced Child Tax Benefit; students, who just got much-needed relief from onerous student loans; seniors, who will see enhanced CPP benefits; or blue collar workers, who will receive government assistance for retraining programs — they probably don’t care much about budget deficits.

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In fact, aside from the concern about deficits from pundits and opposition members Tuesday, the biggest hue and cry was the absence of a national daycare strategy and pharmacare policy, both of which would have added even more to the deficit.

Deficits may be bad policy, but it seems that these days, it’s good politics.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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