Public finance
1 min

Budget countdown, part whatever

In the pre-budget throes, two caucuses met yesterday. The Liberals met, and expanded upon their conditions for supporting the budget, and expressing their concerns regarding broad-based tax cuts, and the size of government deficits as currently being proposed. In other words, a little bit of deficit is okay in this time of need, but a whole lot of deficit is not so good. (No word on just what the dollar figure of too big is, in case you were wondering). And at the end of the day, Prime Minister Harper had Michael Ignatieff stop by his office for a half-hour chat, but so far no one has said anything about just what it is they talked about.

The NDP also met yesterday, and spent their morning listening to a number of economists (liveblogged here) including the TD Bank’s chief economist, Don Drummond, and Infometrica’s Mike McCracken. The gist of the economic advice was that we were headed for four years of deficits before we even started any stimulus spending, but we need to be careful with how and where we spend so that it doesn’t take us too long to get out of deficit. Also, if the government should do any tax cuts, it should be to the lowest brackets because they’re the ones likely to spend it rather than save it or use it to pay off debts. Also good: greening government buildings, and incentives for making homes energy efficiency, which echoes what Brison was saying on the weekend. Oh, and reform the EI system, but we pretty much already knew that.