Keith Baldrey and the Pachyderm

A few days ago in the Surrey Now, Keith Baldrey penned an op-ed “Teachers oblivious to big picture”. In it he poses the question that if our “cash-strapped” government – his words – should suddenly find $500 million to spend aren’t there higher priorities than teacher wages and benefits?

Fair enough. But he leaves out something. Something important. Something rather big (with a trunk and tusks).

That would be the billions the B.C. Liberal government has committed to tax cuts whose only real-world effect has been to deprive, and voluntarily at that, revenue that could pay for all the programs Keith cites as important. As well as pay teachers, whom I have calculated have lost ground over the last 13 years to the cost of living index (at least in Vancouver).

And oh, increase the economic divide in this province between the haves and have-nots.

The vast majority of the corporate media doesn’t even bother questioning the affordability of tax cuts anymore. In that the Fraser Instituters have successfully framed the narrative. But that’s not to say things don’t make it out. Today Stephen Maher has a piece – in Postmedia no less – on how the Harper Govtm is “Starving the Beast”:

It’s known as “starving the beast.” Rather than doing the politically painful work of cutting spending, you cut taxes and increase public debt to the point where it is necessary to cut spending to keep the repo men at bay.

Unlike Reagan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has never publicly discussed his “starve the beast” plan, but it’s pretty clear that that’s what he’s doing.

His former chief of staff, Tom Flanagan, described it as the prime minister’s long-term plan: “First depriving the government of surpluses through cutting taxes . . . and then it makes it easier to make some expenditure reductions.”

It’s pretty clear this is what factions [of whom Kevin Falcon is a perfect example] within the B.C. Liberals wanted to do too – and did in their first term. It would be nice if journalists like Baldrey started pointing out this rather large elephant in the room.

UPDATE: Charlie Smith never has a problem asking these questions.

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