A quote from Ignatieff yesterday, as he toured the Liberal bastion of Alberta. A now reoccurring theme, and one that owes any legitimacy to the corporate tax cut policy. In the past I noted the Liberals were guilty of "sucking and blowing" on the fiscal front, the Conservatives able to carve apart the idea of offering restraint, while simultaneously promising Canadians new expenditures.
Hard numbers are the lonely domain of wonks. Truth be told, in the political arena appearance trumps math, you can massage this and that to create a credible plan, so LONG as you have some artillery at your disposal. People that doubt the impact of the Liberal corporate tax policy, fail to realize it is the jump off point for much of the party distinctions. When the Liberals adopted the freeze on corporate taxes, my first post argued that this move put us in the game on the fiscal front. Prior to this pledge, the title quote would have brought laughter, aggressive counter from the government, the rhetoric lacked a concrete underpinning. Now, with the corporate tax cut freeze, Liberals have something to point to, something that says we can fund programs, while still looking fiscally responsible. The government can't attack on the fiscal front, because they are now saddled with a perceived lost revenue stream. I suspect the government is aware of the problem, because their only real attack angle centers around jobs, absolutely dead quiet on the fiscal front.
The corporate tax cut freeze has given a measure of teflon, as well as an ability to play offence, on an issue which was previously a liability. There is a certain sophistication in play, that involves adding up one item, minus another, ending up a certain point. I don't want to short change voters, but it's a bit of a stretch to think the Liberals will have to fully answer all the minuet in play. No, just like the Conservatives, all you need is the big banner items, something compelling to put in the window, and there is little risk that calculators will decide your ultimate fate. Cynical yes, but also a reality which plays itself out everywhere and anywhere come campaigns.
The Liberals will release a deficit fighting plan, and it will show a road to surplus, just as the Conservatives argue. The corporate taxes will provide a sense of restraint, as well as making Ignatieff bullet proof on certain new expenditures. Liberals can actually say "we can't afford" and not look hypocritical, at least not on the most basic of levels. Liberals can say "we've got to get our fiscal house in order" and actually look relatively reasonable.