Monday, May 25, 2009

"deficit will be substantially higher than we thought"

The above quote comes as no surprise to anyone, but it's nice to see Jim "behind the curve" Flaherty catching up to what economists told him right after he delivered his "rosy" budget projections. Apologists will argue that this admission is nothing more than a recognition of the changing landscape. That rationalization aside, it raises a legitimate question- why can the Parliamentary Budget Officer, independent economists, bank forecasts, international agencies, better predict Canada's fiscal situation than Canada's Finance Minister?

If you go back to last year's election, move forward to today, and trace Flaherty's "analysis" of the economy, you will find the most consistent of patterns. This government has a tremendous LAG, relative to reality. When economists warned of recession, Flaherty said there would be none. When economists warned of deepening recession, Flaherty only saw a "technical" one. When economists started using the D word, Flaherty then conceded recession. When economists spoke of deficits, Flaherty said Canada would remain in surplus. When economists argued for stimulus measures, Flaherty argued we didn't need additional expenditures. When economists said the budget forecasts were too "optimistic", Flaherty said his projections were sound. Now today, in the latest example, Flaherty comes in three months later and concedes that the deficit will be every bit as large as previously told.

The inability to display the most rudimentary of foresight, to never see anything coming and to continually be the last one to accept conventional wisdom, one has to wonder, is Jim Flaherty still shovelling his walkway, comforted in the knowledge that spring is just around the corner? Is he telling friends that the Leafs have a mathematical chance to make the playoffs? LAG is not leadership, making it up as they go.


Gayle said...

Yeah, but Ignatieff has a massive ego and was not in the country when Gretzky broke all those world records!

Canajun said...

All I know is I'd like to bet on sports with ol' Jimbo. The game would be over and he'd still be talking odds. Maybe I could get some of that money he stole from me back!

RuralSandi said...

Anyone else being fooled by the tiresome old line - Canada is doing better than other countries?

It's like Canada has pneumonia and the rest of the world has double pneumonia (both lungs).

So you're better off if you're only really sick compared to really really sick.

ottlib said...

Just more of the same from this guy. He did it when he was with the Ontario government and he is doing it at the federal level.

I wonder is someone more technically savvy that I would make a video comparing the two. Reminding Canadians in general and Ontarians in particular of his history could have an interesting effect.

Steve V said...


Someone should really do a visual rehash of Flaherty's past performance. In some ways, I think people have forgot.