Sunday, September 26, 2010

A plan to fail

Jim Flaherty's latest excuse for not extending the deadline for stimulus projects - even those delayed for reasons entirely out of anybody's control - is that he's more worried about balancing the federal budget than continuing with any stimulus. So let's ask the question: what impact would extending funding actually have on the federal government's fiscal picture?

After all, one would hope that enough money to complete the agreed stimulus projects in full would have been budgeted in any event. So whether the money is spent before or after March 2011 will have precisely zero effect on any long-term budgeting issues.

That is, unless the Cons have been budgeting for some of their allocated money to go unused - in effect banking on the failure of part of their stimulus efforts. But if that's the case, shouldn't we know exactly how much of the money they've promised is in fact intended to be pulled back?

Update: I'm apparently not the only one suggesting that it shouldn't matter if money is held over. But the fact that provinces had been proposing a way to meet Flaherty's concern even before he made it public only makes his determination to cut off funding all the more galling.

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