Don’t flame or tase me: I have some praise for the Conservatives. Yes, I’m still Green – I think business, particularly small business, can save the world if given every opportunity, with the imperative caveat that we (businesses small and large) must incontrovertibly demonstrate the way we do our business is of benefit to people and the planet in addition to being profitable. How anyone can argue with this beats me.
So am I a lefty? Progressive? Conservative? I like to believe I defy right | left categories.
Certainly I’ve been known, though, to publicly protest actions of Canada’s conservatives and my most popular blog post is one in which I went ape-shit about how we in Vancouver used to treat our homeless (arresting them for sleeping outside, for god’s sake). My point? I’m not typically an apologist for the Conservatives.
After my month in England and concentrated doses of BBC reporting and the immediacy of what’s gong on in Greece, I have a deepened respect for policies which get and keep us out of national debt. National debt, just like personal debt, gets a stranglehold on a country, and then takes them down.
Consider this: Greece funded its many worthy social objectives with debt for years. Now, it has to pay nearly 20% (at time of this writing – July) on its bonds. Canada only has to pay 0.65% because of our relatively sane debt levels. Yes, I know much of that should be attributed to Paul Martin under the Liberals. But it also is attributable to Michael Wilson (Finance Min. under Mulroney) and also attributable to the perception that the Conservative Gov’t will keep the debt in check.
What does this mean? It means the same sort of thing that it means for individuals. Because we are (relatively) in good shape on our debt to earnings ratio, we are considered a good risk and just like individuals who have handled their debt well and can get the best interest rates on their credit cards and their mortgages, so Canada can borrow money from other countries and its own citizens at the best rates. This translates to more of our taxes going to programs and less of our money going to dealing with our debt.
I’m good with that. If I’m going to be taxed (and I don’t inherently object to being taxed at all; I want to live in a society that funds the arts and takes care of the vulnerable and funds higher education) I don’t want it to be paying off debt, or worse, simply paying the interest. And if the Conservative Gov’t helps us on that, measured props to them.
Photo credit: British PMO office (somewhat ironic, eh? no photos avail from the Cdn PMO)