In the wake of our last provincial election, Justin Trudeau came to New Brunswick and made the outrageous claim that “You can’t cut your way to prosperity”.
He was referring to spending cuts proposed by the opposition. The left has an a priori commitment to spending. They rattle off lines such as, “We made investments into healthcare”, “We invested into education”, and they fear-monger by warning the electorate that cuts are on the way if the opposition arrives in power.
There are no shortage of ethical arguments for spending cuts, but I wish to address this from the perspective of the left: service delivery of social programs.
Imagine program A is designed to assist at-risk youth, and program B does the same. Each receives $1 million in funding for a total of $2 million in social program spending. Also, each program assists 100 youths.
In terms of actually helping, out of the 100 that walked through program A’s doors, 5 were able to turn their lives around. Out of the 100 that walked through program B’s doors, 80 were able to turn their lives around.
The government’s response can easily be to cut program A entirely while increasing spending for program B. If they increase B’s budget by 50%, an additional 40 youths will be aided. The government has reduced the total spending from $2 million to $1.5 million and increased service delivery.
Anytime a politician says that they will invest in some pet project, the leftist ought to be asking for clarifying details. In the social sciences, they use logic models like this:
- What are the inputs, how much are we spending and who is administering the program – do they have a background that suggests they can do this effectively?
- What is this money being spent on?
- What are the expected outcomes?
- What are the ways to measure these outcomes?
- What are the actual outcomes?
You seldom hear measurables from leftist politicians. This is a recipe for mismanagement. Liberal Party donors can receive major government contracts and deliver minimal service outcome.
The recipients charge hefty consultation fees, massive overhead costs, and are the attendants of expensive galas. It comes as no surprise that, as leftist politicians gain power, the wealth gap grows.
There is a cost to taxation. When you buy food at the grocery store, the grocer must pay income taxes, and that payment comes from the revenues of the grocery store which comes from people buying food. The food comes from truck drivers who pay income tax. The shareholders of the grocery store must pay a dividend tax. Their tech support pays income tax. All paid for by the poor person that just wants to eat.
When Justin Trudeau and his staff fly in expensive private jets, with $300,000 alcohol budgets for weekend trips, it’s paid for by the single mother who just bought a can of tomato soup. When their liberal donors attend government-funded galas with the fanciest of accouterments, it’s paid for by the at-risk youth buying cigarettes the Liberals continually raise taxes on.
The economy could be better served not through naive social programs that under-deliver, but rather by making life more affordable for the average person through tax cuts and spending cuts. This is cutting our way to prosperity.