Agood article, apparently HM Minister of Finance is doing stealth austerity. There are hundreds of silly programs to cut. I am glad we are cutting, but we need to cut more and more rapidly!
One of the few countries now practising austerity, however marginally, is – trumpets, please! – Canada. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has completed one year of real-dollar, per-capita austerity. He envisages four more. If he meets this target, Mr. Flaherty will achieve a remarkable accomplishment: five consecutive years of austerity.
More remarkable still, however, is this astonishing fact: Hardly anyone will have noticed. Call it austerity on the quiet. By making small, incremental spending cuts, here and there, hither and yon, Mr. Flaherty has provided the world with a good example of responsible restraint – without inciting mobs.
Mr. Flaherty appears to have mastered his difficult assignment: Rubbing his tummy and rubbing the hair on his head in different directions at the same time. On the one hand, his budgets will show nominal increases in national expenditure every year (averaging 2 per cent a year). This means that no one will ever find a minus sign in a Flaherty budget. This is smart. Opposition parties go berserk when they spot minus signs.
On the other hand, plus signs notwithstanding, Mr. Flaherty’s budget will produce decreases in real-dollar, per-capita expenditure. You can calculate the decreases by taking last year’s expenditure and adjusting it for population increase and for inflation. This population-plus-inflation formula ensures a fair and objective comparison of year-over-year spending.