Joe Oliver announced yesterday that he would be introducing balanced budget legislation. Asked to comment on CBC's Power and Politics, former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page said:
"Do we need the legislation? We didn't need the legislation from the mid-1990s to 2007-2008, when we had 11 years of surpluses. I think the government feels somehow it needs to constrain itself."
The Harperites blame past governments -- particularly Liberal governments -- for the deficit. But Page pointed out that Mr Harper and his confreres inherited a $12 billion surplus from the Liberals. The Conservatives created the deficit, he said, by lowering the GST by 2% and by cutting corporate and personal tax rates.
And tax free savings accounts also cut into government revenues. Asked if many people would be able to put away $11,000 in savings every year, Page answered, "I don't have $11,000." To increase savings, he said, we have to increase wage growth -- which isn't happening.
The difference between Kevin Page and Stephen Harper is that Page is a real economist. Harper is a mere politician. That's why Page is the biggest thorn in the prime minister's side.