One of the most frustrating things about contemporary politics is the counter-historical association of "fiscal conservatism" with Conservatives. Small-government types alternate between extremes in their failure to understand public finances. They have irrational fears of debt and deficits, certain that the complete collapse of the nation is just a billion dollars away. Yet they're also militantly anti-tax, insistent that tax rates are always on the wrong side of the Laffer curve.
And so we come to the unfortunate case of Ed Clark. Mr. Clark, CEO of TD Bank, is guilty of giving voice to a home economics level financial fact, if you're spending more than you're making, either spend less or make more. This had the Cons (or at least the ones on CPC HQ's e-mail list) salivating, and now Canadians are being told that Clark has spoken to Ignatieff, Clark wants taxes raised, ergo, Ignatieff will raise taxes.
I don't doubt that Ignatieff has consulted Clark, nor would I suggest that Clark, the head of the country's second largest bank, would be ignored in future Liberal economic consultations. My problem with this conversation is that the CPC refuses to address the substance of Clark's comments and the media just let them get away with it. Those CPC supporters, the ones that we're told are the fiscally responsible ones, blather on about the multi-millionaire Clark wanting to tax hard working Canadians, dutifully ignoring the question of whether taxes actually need to rise or not.
The kicker though, the thing that has me grinding my teeth, is that this has unfolded exactly as the CPC had hoped, and the inevitable attack ads linking Ignatieff to Clark and his higher taxes will convince a good chunk of Canadians that they must trust Harper, the fiscally conservative one, to run the country.
3 weeks ago