"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three things

Let us consider three Things, in the abstract at first:

Each of the Things is represented by a different colour. The year-over-year increase in the cost of each Thing is shown for Years 1 through 5, as compared to what the Thing cost in a baseline Year 0. You can clearly see that the Blue Thing has had by far and away the biggest increase, pushing $2-billion by Year 5. The Yellow Thing, which is in actual fact a subset of the Blue Thing, has increased by nearly $800-million by Year 5. The Green Thing, by contrast, is about $56-million more expensive in Year 5 than it was in the baseline Year 0. Expensiver, to be sure, but an order of magnitude or more smaller than the other Things.

Got that?


* * *

Now let's put some names to those numbers, and remove them from the world of abstraction.

The first set of columns, in blue, shows the increase in provincial government program spending as compared to a baseline of fiscal year 2006-07. This was the year in which Danny Williams, rattled by the hit his popularity took during the three months in 2004 in which he actually tried to rein in spending, abandoned all pretext of being a conservative, hooked fire hoses up to the public treasury, and started spraying money around. Until the day he abruptly left office, he never stopped. The unrevised figures for fiscal year 2011-12 show program spending that's nearly two billion-with-a-b dollars higher than it was five years ago.

The second set of columns, in yellow, show the increase in the provincial public-sector payroll; i.e., the total salaries of provincial civil servants, employees of the public health and education systems, and of provincial crown corporations. (2011 figures are preliminary estimates.) Not only has the provincial government been on a hiring spree during the Williams years, it's been on a pay-raise spree, too. The net effect is a provincial public sector that is approaching a billion dollars more expensive now than it was in 2006.

The third set of columns, in green, show the impact of the provincial Liberal party's pledge to index public employee pensions, starting with a 2.5% increase in Year 1, and a cost-of-living increase, to a maximum of 2%, in each year after that. This chart assumes that the maximum 2% is reached every year, and, importantly, that not a single public-sector pensioner — how to put this delicately? — becomes permanently pension-inelegible due to unavoidable biological reasons during that time.

Whatever the merits, or lack of merits, in the pension-indexing platform plank, it is hypocrisy of the highest order on the part of the punditocracy, and, especially, of anyone in the Progressive Conservative Party, to suddenly claim to have found Fiscal-Responsibility Jesus in these past 48 hours.

Where have these people been for the past eight years?

[Data sources: Newfoundland and Labrador budget estimates, Statement IV, passim; Statistics Canada CANSIM Table 183-0002; basic arithmetic.]

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At 8:28 AM, September 23, 2011 , Blogger rod said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:11 PM, September 23, 2011 , Blogger Lonenewfwolf said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:33 PM, September 23, 2011 , Blogger WJM said...

Who leaves whom bordering on bankruptcy?


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