The first presidential debate between Obama and Romney is now history. I, along with millions of others, watched it. My primary motive was to assess the arguments presented by each candidate. And who is better to monitor than the two men democratically chosen to lead the most powerful country in the world. At least the US has been the most powerful country in the world, and as its closest neighbour and biggest trading partner, Canada has every reason to be observant and vigilant.
I thoroughly enjoyed their debate on the economy because, in a lot of ways, Governor Romney’s fiscal plan for America resembles the Christian Heritage Party’s plan for Canada. Smaller government, pay down the debt, decrease taxes, and cut spending in order to stay within budget: a good, sound, conservative platform that he defended well. One of Mitt Romney’s answers reminded me of a question that I, and I’m sure many of our CHP candidates, have been challenged with during debates, “In order to balance the budget, what government programs do you plan to cut?” It’s a good, yet cornering, question… so where would we start?
Well, we’d privatize the CBC; that’s a $1.1 billion saving. We’d stop funding abortions; that’s another billion-dollar saving every year. A short answer never seems possible or adequate to list all the government programs requiring a value for money assessment. But, we know there are many; when it’s politically advantageous, Finance Minister Flaherty always seems able to find another $5 billion or so.
So how did the potential US President answer this challenge? Romney said that as president he will ask a simple question about every federal program: “Is the program so important, so critical, that it is worth borrowing money from China?”
Hmmm! He certainly put things in perspective, didn’t he?
The same can apply when assessing our Canadian programs—regardless of where our government borrows the money. Our debt costs us an enormous amount of interest and we don’t have the resources to repay it. We’re passing our debt on to our children—and that’s morally wrong. So I will add another question: “Is this program so important, so critical, that it is worth making our children pay for it?”
Historically, borrowing money and/or a small rise in taxes spread across the country has been the tactic used to pay for instant delivery of a new government program.
Generally, these are campaign promises given to buy votes during an election. Over years, the accumulation of debt and all those small increases in taxes have put an enormous tax burden on today’s families, especially when we consider the impact on small business owners. Small businesses are the employers, the job creators of our country; and now (under the burden of taxes) they must cut costs by reducing the number of employees. This, in turn, reduces the number of people paying taxes, and adds to the number of people requiring government assistance via employment insurance. So, this stealth approach to pay for instant gratification returns to haunt our country.
We in CHP Canada know that the real solution requires a 180-degree reversal of that type of thinking; and Governor Romney’s approach was very similar. A good fiscal policy would reduce taxes across the board and give breaks to small businesses, allowing them to flourish. For a person’s immediate needs, a small reduction in taxes doesn’t stand out as anything substantial; but in the long term, it will revitalize our nation’s economy.
Over the long term, businesses will blossom, jobs will be created, fewer people will collect employment insurance, and more people will pay taxes, which will more than offset the small reduction in taxes it will initially cost in order to initiate the economic growth. Continued yearly small decreases in taxes would continue until a balance was met.
The great debate will continue as we endeavour to convince Canadians that the better solution for their family, their business, and their country is to support, join, and vote for a party that will not offer them a mythical golden egg but one that will return businesses, families, and our country to solid and secure financial ground.
The Christian Heritage Party of Canada has the answer to the question, “What programs do we need to cut to rescue Canada’s economy?”