Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The best of the worst

People like the idea of a balanced budget by and large.  The prospect of not passing on a mountain of debt to our future selves and the joy of avoiding interest on that debt is a real thing.  Nearly everyone wants to live in a place that has a responsible government that pays the bills.  The trick in politics is that the actual budget is so complicated and so huge that normal people can't possibly grasp it so the only thing they have to measure as far as budget predictions go is what politicians say.  Sadly it turns out that what politicians say on the matter is pretty useless in terms of actual results.

I see lots of arguments in my Facebook feed about this.  Generally it is the Conservatives that are positioning themselves as the financially responsible party and they try to portray the left as full of spendthrifts intent on tossing all of our tax money off of a cliff.  The fact is though that if you look at the history of right vs. left wing parties in both the US and Canada neither side comes out looking good at all in terms of budgetary responsibility.  They are both happy to spend enormous sums of money they don't have to buy votes; they just spend it differently.

The left spends money on services, hiring more people, and paying out more cash to provide things for those in greater need.  The right spends money on tax cuts, handing out cash moreso to businesses and the wealthy.  What it comes down to for me is that if any party really was likely to run a balanced budget and accomplish it by doing things that are sensible I would happily make that a big factor in my voting but that just isn't available on the ballot.  What you get no matter which party you vote for is a completely random level of fiscal responsibility but you can choose how they will waste the money.

For me that makes the final equation very easy.  I don't get to choose prudence - parties will be careful or foolish with money very randomly and in ways I can't predict.  The thing I get to choose is how they are likely to spend money and to my mind there is no question that money is better poured into middle class jobs and pensions than it is handed to investors, business owners, and the rich.  Equality is a really useful thing for overall societal health and happiness and since I can use my vote to lean things that way I will.

It is tempting to dislike the bums in power at the moment but since I am going to get irresponsible, corrupt bums at the helm no matter what I will try to make sure they at least tend to do foolish things I can live with.

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