Don’t bet your pay cheque on this budget

To be honest, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, you did nothing wrong. Listening to your preamble on the budget the other day, you said that hope is possible. You talked about the years after the Second World War when the middle class emerged in Canada. We were strong. We were confident. And yet in the 1970s we found that the middle class were just like gerbils. We were running in a wheel to nowhere.

But now Bill and you and your colleague Justin tell us that the middle class is back and we can bet the pay cheque on it. We are just going to spend our way out of our problems.

But just a few questions if we may?

How do you bet the pay cheque if you do not have one? Neither you nor Justin are exactly middle class. You have never had to live from pay cheque to pay cheque. As one astute observer said in Ottawa yesterday, being middle class is a state of mind. People constantly fall out of both ends of that pipe. There are no safeguards

And by the way, you need to know up front that what you did for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples yesterday was admirable. It might have helped if the money was more specifically assigned but it looks like our First Nations could be winners.

But are you not the one who is really gambling? It looks very much like you are gambling on Canada’s ability to join the recovery. If oil is back over US$60 a barrel sooner than expected, will you have not won your bets?

Your budget reads like you gave the list of Liberal promises to the civil servants there in Finance and said see how much of this you can do and stay under a $30 billion deficit. You know how we can tell? There is absolutely no creativity in those figures. The budget is a bloody boring read.

You might have restored the Baby Bonus but you have really done nothing else for the middle class.

You might have raised the desperation level money for seniors with the Guaranteed Income Supplement but you have left most seniors mired in mediocre living because their savings for their retirement are producing nothing for them.

Your budget might have righted some wrongs but you built nothing for the future.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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