Friday, March 23, 2007

Poll & My View on the Sask. Budget

Yesterday was budget day in two of Canada's provinces (Ontario & Saskatchewan). But because I live in Saskatchewan, I will talk about that budget.

Strategic Council Poll

Released Mar. 22, 2007
Conservatives: 39%
Liberals: 31%
NDP: 13%
Greens: 9%
± 3.1%. 19 times out of 20
I am not going to elaborate on the details of the budget (just click here to read more), but I will just quickly say my prospectus on it. While I am a New Democrat, and believe that it is necessary to spend money in order to have a prosperous and equal society, I do find a spending problem in this budget. There are two points which I'd like to mention:
  • 1. The Senior Drug Cap
    The problem with this plan is that it will just cost too much, and it will cover people who don't need it. The plan is to cap prescription costs for seniors (65+) at $15/prescription. The only thing I'd change is to have a cap on income, too. (It makes no sense for taxpayers to cap costs for seniors making $100,000 per year.)
  • 2. The Deficit
    Again, I am for spending on social programs. But, however, I think it was a mistake to create a deficit in the meantime. The thing is that people are always watching to see if NDP governments are going to create a deficit; in fact, they critique them more closely than Tory or Liberal governments. People are going to be all over the fact that the NDP created a deficit. It has always been a pillar of the NDP to have strong social programs and not get into debt/a deficit. There are many people who vote for the NDP based on that.

So yes, I continue to support the Saskatchewan NDP government, but, unfortunately, I am thinking that this may cost the NDP in the next election.


Anonymous said...

Well hopefully there is a poll on the Saskatchewan budget soon, they we can see what people think.

Berlynn said...

A drug cap for seniors is absolutely essential so long as we are dependent on the multinational pharmaceutical corporations. The cap is also necessary for as long as we continue to treat our seniors -- especially senior women -- like crap, allowing them to live in poverty in what should be their years of regal splendour, a reward for all they've given to our society and culture.

The mistakes this government has made, however, have nothing to do with spending on social programs. Rather, it has to do with the increased corporate welfare. As a member of the NDP, you should be ashamed of that!

And, btw, of course they're going down in the next election. People are absolutely sick of this two-faced variety of "new" democrat. Call them Liberals and you might have a better descriptor for them. They're just blinkin' lucky the Left Greens haven't been able to get organized here or they'd have a real run for their money.

Alex said...

Berlynn, I do agree that there should be caps on prescriptions for seniors, but I do not think that, say, millionaire seniors should get discounts on drugs at the cost of taxpayers. It is completely acceptable, and a good idea, to have caps for seniors who make less than, say, $50,000.

Also, I do recognize that the gov. is getting a bit cozy with corporations, but something has to be done to get business into Saskatchewan. The coziness could be toned down a little, but we have to do something.

Nathan said...

Berlynn is right. To be blunt: Fuck the corporate welfare these "new democrats" are peddling.

I wish to refute the deficit argument. We have legislation in place so that you can run as much of a surplus, or deficit each budget, as long as in four years you have a surplus greater than or equal to 0. So I can run a 1 billion dollar deficit each year, as long as on the fourth year we have a 3 billion dollar surplus. We've been running in to surpluses, and so now we are spending the accumulated surpluses from previous years. This is also better for the economy, as it's more cyclical with the business cycle. If we did annual balanced budgets, we'd intensify the effects on the economy be it in recession or inflationary periods.

As for the drug plan, it sounds like the province is on the first pay list. That is, if you are covered by private insurance, the province pays first, and then you submit your $15 bill to the insurance company, as opposed to submitting the full price to the insurance company, and then the province covers all of it but $15. This makes it easier for private insurance, since it's less costly for them, and it makes the program less sustainable because we've structured it so that the gov't carries the most of the costs involved.

That said, yea, we are sunk next election, but it won't be this budget that will do it, it's the people being tired of seeing the same old faces and the same old uninspired policy of tax credits for this and that. Its time for some radical changes to catch people's attention. Abolish the regressive PST and shift the tax duty on to the wealthy for it. Free tuition. Reinstate the dental care for kids. Free prescriptions for everyone. Get more crowns (I'm thinking the funeral industry could use a little more state induced competition). Fully subsidized birth control, etc. We want to win next election, it's time we looked at some of these things.