I have always felt that debt involved a certain amount of "hope", mostly that I could actually pay it off. Yesterday our Premier put a new spin on "debt" that I can really get behind:
I paid for the new tires on my truck with MasterCard, now I "hope" I won't get stuck. If I get stuck I won't be able to get to work in which case I "hope" the boss does not fire me because if he does I do not stand a "hope" in hell of being able to pay the MasterCard, keep up with the utilities, the truck payment, the payment on my sled or the satellite TV with the HD sports channels.
All of these things give me "hope" in the case of the house, the HD sports channels and the sled, they bring me joy, happiness and contentment that can only be found by high-marking in Valemount, or watching the world series. (go SOX)
Actually while I have a fleet of pick up trucks, a bevy of flat screen TV's some tractors, a motorhome and know where Valemount is, I prefer to pay cash for everything so apparently I have it wrong: I would have more "hope" in my life if I had more debt.
Somehow this does not ring true for me or anyone else and should not ring true for government. Debt is not "hope" it is quite the opposite. Debt is a cancer that spreads silently, insidiously and is without remission: once your have debt, all "hope" is lost until it is paid off.
Once governments get into the habit of "debt" or "hope" as our current premier calls it, borrowing becomes easier and easier because every time you need something, you can justify debt for it by the "hope" it brings.
An average MLA may think:
I hope if I build this new hospital in Wandering River that:
a) I can find a doctor who wants to work there
b) I can get enough votes to win the next election.
That's the "hope" motivation of "debt"
Debt is not "hope" in any way, context or by any definition: debt is a sign of mismanagement: overpriced cars, of overpriced chiefs of staff, over budget redevelopment of old buildings and an ever expanding fixed cost structure that eats into the governments cash flow.
Did you know: if the interest income from the Heritage Fund had simply been reinvested into the Heritage Fund, we would have 150 BILLION dollars that AIMCO would invest and generate 10 BILLION dollars a year in revenue. This is the cost of the PC party choosing to ignore the power of compound interest.
And why I lost "hope"
I know people from Ontario don't bring their schools and hospitals with them when they come here, but Albertan's are the ultimate beneficiaries of migration not the victims so it's a stupid justification for more debt.
The Progressive Conservatives have had 42 years to prepare for this. 42 years of consistent growth in a province where in first boom every town of 500, got a Treasury Branch, a Liquor Store and a Seniors Home. It was this PC government that got us into the mess then and got us back into it now.
There is little room to maneuver, all that can be outsourced has been and what's left is a shortage of services.
Will this government tell the current baby boom kids to "hope" when in 2 years all these wee tykes expect to have schools to go to?
Will this government tell the seniors population to "hope" as grandma can't find a place to live within with in four hours of the family?
The Deputy Premier drives an $85,000.00 Audi you pay for. And the senior Deputy Minister, gets his government Silverado gassed up and washed twice a week by a junior government employee.
"Those are just a drop in the bucket they will tell you, insignificant" but it's not. It's systemic and will only be cured by surgery, deep and radical surgery. Entitlement is really what they "hope" to hang onto.
Debt is not "hope" there is no illusion about the truth of this or many other things.