Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Justin Trudeau and Budget Zen

Justin Trudeau isn't worried, in fact he is living in the moment and in the now. His budget for 2017 showcases just how zen he is about the Canadian economy and how positive he is about the future.

While no new major spending was announced today, the budget centers around caution and patience, which is understandable . With Donald Trump next door, Canadian policy makers really have no idea what might be realistic regarding the American economy. So, as a result of this, Trudeau has opted to take a more relaxed and cautious approach to fiscal spending.

So What Exactly Does It Do? 

Today's budget put a positive emphasis on the development and training of tomorrow's workers. This is evident primarily in the spending assigned to the tech industry and R&D alone. What does this mean for the average middle class Canadian now? Not much, but it does provide direction for the country at large, as the government is essentially investing in an area that it believes will surpass in providing good paying and stable employment. I mean, with all of this talk regarding automation in the manufacturing sector coupled with the fluctuation in resource prices, it is no surprise that the government wants to begin investing more in the tech sector, which essentially will feed the creative energy needed in both new and existing startups.

The only downside to this spending is that it spends today for something tomorrow, which isn't even a full guarantee by the way.  While it is good to try and get ahead of the competition in anything, it is also a huge risk. What if the Americans or Chinese or Japanese or Germans or someone else under cuts us and is able to garner enough to attract our talent away? In an ever connecting world via technology, someone working with a focus on the technology sector can essentially work anywhere on the planet. Worrying about this now is as unproductive as investing in coal as a renewable resource, it not only makes sense, but is impossible to predict just yet, so we are left with the positive move of just putting money there and going with it.

What should worry Trudeau more than anything is the political target placed on his back. Actually, the target was already there, it is just growing larger, much like that deficit that is going to be posted for 2017.

$28 billion deficit being posted for 2017, added together with the roughly $29.7 billion from last year equals trouble for Trudeau. In only two years, the Trudeau government has already gone above and beyond the initial prediction of a $10 billion deficit by almost $60 billion!

We as a country need to remember that while the government can easily handle deficit and debt, it is the future generations of Canadians that will be working towards paying off that same debt. While a few good revenue sources can help lessen the burden, we need to ensure that our government is using debt in an effort for something more important and not just wasting it.

On the right, Conservatives will argue that Trudeau is not in touch with Canadians and that his spending is helping anyone besides Canadians. On the left, the NDP will point out that much needed social spending is not even present and anything proposed doesn't come close to supporting Canadians in need of health care and child care. Not to mention that emergency funding is not targeted towards the Indigenous communities that desperately need it.

In closing. the budget was very underwhelming and safe. Granted that the government and much of the world is still awaiting what Donald Trump has planned next door, I was still hoping that money would be put into programs that could make everlasting change for all Canadians. Only time will tell how drastic our policies will have to be made in order to address any changes that the Americans propose for their own country. Until then, lets hope Trudeau has a few aces up his sleeve that will bring in some more money. If his attitude today says anything, he seems to be living in the now and with a lot of zen, lets hope he doesn't forget that many Canadians are not currently living with the same attitude.

Until Next Time!

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