Driving home yesterday I heard about Canada’s record home sales last quarter. I have been reading in the New Brunswick paper for weeks about record low unemployment, population growth, strong home starts. Yesterday we were told that all the growth was spread around New Brunswick.
Is it just me or were the politicians – provincial and federal – just a few months ago talking about the worst recession since the Great Depression? Didn’t the Graham government turn a surplus into an $800 million deficit to stimulate the economy to ward off this Great Depression?
I’ve read a lot about the Great Depression. The thousands of suicides. The bread lines with 50,000 people lined up in NYC just to get food. My dad talking about how his dad went months without paying work but was too proud to go on the dole so they lived exclusively off what they could grow, fish or hunt.
The biggest recession since the Great Depression.
I think that politicians (and maybe society as a whole) jumps to the cataclysmic card too fast these days.
“Without action on [fill in the blank] we are facing an unprecedented problem.”
“Unless we addres this now [fill in the blank] we will pass [an overused] tipping point and may never make it back.”
The problem is a bit like the kid who kept calling wolf. The more the politicians play this card the more desensitized we will be to it.
In the provincial context, as the government is forced to cut deeply to get out of this deficit used to pave every single highway in New Brunswick – trust me I have been on the majority of primary and secondary highways in New Brunswick logging some 15,000 kms for work in the past six months – maybe they will have second thoughts about the political consequences of propping down the unemployment rate by a point or two.
New Brunswick has serious challenges. It’s population is stagnant. It’s economy chronically doesn’t produce enough business investment. It’s government spending is rising at three times the rate of inflation. Health care costs will bankrupt the government – not in 30 or 4 years but in the next 5-10 if growth rates remain the same.
But we’ve lost the urgency card because we play it too much.