Thursday 14 June 2012

We Will Be Fine…

I have a friend that seems overly concerned with government fiscal responsibility. I don’t like to see our elected officials pissing my tax dollars away either, but I am prepared to allow a certain amount of leeway in the way they see fit to spend those taxes. They are after all the people who are privy to all of the facts pertaining to those expenditures.

I like to think that on the whole our politicians are trying to do good as they see it. Oh, it makes me angry when they get caught spending twenty thousand bucks on a dinner, but I really don’t think it happens as often as the media reports it.

My friends concern seems to be that we are putting our children and grandchildren into debt for our excesses. I don’t think that can actually happen. Sure there may be carry over from capital projects, but we have to remember that these things take an enormous amount of money and resources. They need to be done.

Suppose that our politicians decided that getting into a war with Germany, Italy and Japan would be too expensive and future generations would be on the hook for the bill. We would have been paying a larger price than just money. The Hoover dam was an incredibly expensive project, but as a result Las Vegas was able to thrive. Where once there was only desert, a city of over a million people stands and it provides entertainment and joy for millions and millions of people each year. I am sure there were people that were against the building of the dam because the cost was so high. Sometimes you just have to do it now and pay for it later.

In Calgary recently we have had debates about whether to build a tunnel which will provide access to the airport. The price tag was estimated at between $250 million and $500 million which is a lot no matter how you look at it. The nay sayers claimed that we have other access points and it isn’t needed. They are wrong of course. It is true you can get to the airport in other ways, but eventually the tunnel would be built and every year it would be put off more millions would be added to the cost. It would be fiscally irresponsible not to build it.

I am kind of sick listening to people say that I should suffer and lower my expectations of a good life for the good of the future. WWII was incredibly expensive, but in the long run the world benefited from the experience. My parents went through unbelievable hardships but came out the other side with an appreciation of life and the decades that followed were arguably the best times of a century. How could they have been happy and our society manages to thrive while being so far in debt?

The answer is in the way that you look at life. When you base your society on scarcity and “fiscal responsibility” you stagnate. People lose their jobs or can’t get jobs in the first place. The world has always functioned better when money was spent and people had jobs that enable them to purchase the fruits of other peoples labour. There is abundance in nature as a general rule, only mankind thrives on scarcity.

Our kids and grandkids will be just fine. I suspect that when they reach our age, there will be worries about putting the grandkids into debt. Every generation should be concerned with the next generation, but not if they have to suffer and struggle themselves. We will be fine…

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