Hurting our grandchildren by encouraging deficits

 

By Bruce Rhodes

 

December 22, 1988

 

As the Post’s recent Report on the Nation indicates, the current national debt of $322.3 billion works out to $12,340 for every man, woman and child in Canada.

 

This situation is ominous: a typical family of four would be devastated if it had to come up with $49,360 – its share of the debt.

 

Canada has lived beyond its means for years. Government pledges to reduce the deficit will only reduce the rate at which water pours into an already sinking ship.

 

We need to shift our fiscal focus from deficits, and even reductions thereof, to debt and the surpluses required to reduce that debt. This is easily said, yet we have no choice if we want to leave a reasonable standard of living for our grandchildren.

 

Elected officials must cut social programs. Equally important, we all must abandon the idea that social programs are sacred. This may seem disruptive to some, but we have no choice; we are already at the mercy of banks and foreign lenders, without whose generosity our social programs would have disappeared long ago.

 

Worse, we pay these lenders to be generous to us. Thirty cents of every tax dollar is theirs. Another deficit, however modest, will only add to the lenders’ share of our tax dollars.

 

We have to ease the pressure on the government to act as a savior, so that it can act as the servant it is supposed to be. The government will be neither savior nor servant if it throws more deficits onto our backs, and we will ultimately hurt only ourselves if we egg them on.