Blast from the past (I)
From the proceedings of the Bow-Wow Parliament on May 8, 2012, the wisdom of former Kilbride MHA John Dinn:
MR. DINN: One of our members mentioned today, the Member for St. John's South, that we are saving about $250 million a year now in interest payments on our debt.
Over the last several months, I have been keeping an eye on what is going on in the rest of the world. I have been watching the economies in Europe and in the States. If you look at what is going on in Europe for example, countries in Europe have overspent for decades. They are now reaching a point where they are having very, very serious trouble.
I think it was only this past weekend in Greece they had an election. They could not even establish a government; they have to have another election. There are very serious problems in Greece. I can remember this past February watching TV and they were rioting in the streets of Greece because they were in a position where they had to get bailed out. They were in debt so much that they could not afford to go on any more.
In order to get bailout money, Germany and France and some of other banking agencies of the world said that Greece had to curtail their spending. They ended up laying off 15,000 public service workers and had to cut a lot of the programs that they had brought in the past. The people were very upset over that in Greece, they did not agree with it and they thought they should keep spending, spending, spending and spending, but it could not happen.
I saw a man on TV one night; he was a diplomat from Britain. He was interviewed on one of the American stations. He said that there has been very, very few private sector jobs created in Britain in the last eight or nine years. The reason he said that is because so many entitlements have been brought in for British people over the last number of years that people who own businesses will not hire them any more. If they have a store, they would rather close the store up for two or three days a week than hire extra people. He said if you hire them, you have to pay them all kinds of benefits, pay for all kinds of holidays, child care, daycare, all kinds of stuff. He said if you hire them, it is almost like you own them and their families, so they do not hire any more.
I was reading in the paper the other day that Spain is having a terrible time. Unemployment in Spain is 24.4 per cent. Youth employment, people who are under twenty-five years old, the employment rate for them is 52 per cent in Spain. Spain has to take a lot of drastic measures. Their economy is shrinking. They now see that taxes have to rise and wages are going to drop.
Anyway what is going on in Europe, I mentioned Greece, Britain, Ireland, Portugal, and Italy have all had their troubles. What they are doing, they have taken a fiscal path that is directly opposite of what we are doing. They are not paying down debt; they are accumulating debt. They are not looking at what is going on in the future. They brought in programs not even considering that they had to be sustainable sometime. One of the foundations of our economy, of the fiscal path we have put ourselves on, is sustainability. We do not want to bring in stuff that we cannot forward. We do not want to bring in programs that in two or three years' time, if the revenues drop, we are going to have to cut them out. It is better to take an opportunity to take your time and analyze them. Just because you are flush with cash now, does not mean that you should spend, spend, and spend.
One of the most interesting things that I see happening is what is happening in the United States. We talk about going in debt in Newfoundland – people are concerned about it – going in debt in Canada. Do you realize that the United States of America are going in debt $4 billion a day. Every man, woman, and child in the United States owes $46,000, and that is going up from $13 to $15 a day, every day. What they have done, they are spending without any control. They are putting themselves in a position where they too are going to have difficult times ahead. I think, as a government, we are on a path, economically, that is quite the opposite of the direction that these countries are going in.
We have heard in the House in the last few days about all-day kindergarten, universal child care, universal home care, and affordable housing. I can say this to you: This government, and no government, can provide the level of affordable housing for people in the future – nobody. You cannot expect governments to pick up the tab for housing. It cannot be done. If you do, you are going to have very, very few years of success. We have to take our time and make decisions that are sensible and sustainable.
One of the things we can say that is kind of traditional for Newfoundland is that we are hard workers. I can remember, for years, Newfoundlanders were known as hard workers. We cannot, Mr. Speaker, expect to get a share of the pie without working for it.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
I remind the member his time for speaking has expired.
MR. DINN: I do not need too much leave, anyway. I am just about finished. I do not have time to go into Muskrat Falls.