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.