Reach deeper into your pockets, Mr. Flaherty

I’m concerned about the federal budget, which is fortunate because the more concerned I am about something the easier it is to reach my word count.

As I write this, journalists are using all their skills (begging and whining) to get “government sources” to tell them budget details before today’s official announcement. But I know how it will go:

1) Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will explain that the budget is a fiscally conservative plan (except for the prisons and jets part) and that it will create jobs (except for the jobs-cuts part), and that it shows that Canadians have a bright future (except that we’re one step away from DOOM and only the Conservatives can protect us).

2) The opposition leaders will, using talking points they wrote three weeks ago, explain that Flaherty has the same moral standing as, say, Satan, and that the budget document is the worst thing they’ve read since Twilight.

3) The opposition will vote for it anyway.

I don’t know about you, but this era of deep cuts is starting to get me down.

There’s the world economic collapse, where countries like Greece decide they can’t have nice things anymore and burn them.

There’s provincial woes, where places like Ontario have budget speeches that read like eulogies.

And in Toronto, where I live, the only thing approaching economic good news is when sports fans win free pizza because the Raptors score 100 points. (Rumour has it the Leafs have a similar promotion, but it’s been lost to the mists of time).

It’s getting to the point where we should really give up on the tradition of finance ministers buying new shoes on budget day. Instead, he or she should pose for newspapers with a nice, shiny axe.

I’m trying to take a pragmatic, level-headed approach to the cuts, which is why I offer the following advice to Mr. Flaherty. Forgive me if this is trite, but I think the government should -— this is important, write it down — wear a lot of jackets.

I’ll explain. I, like Canada itself, am in debt up to my earmuffs. But I just made some money back, as I do every spring, because I pulled out a spring jacket and discovered a crisp $5 bill. Pretty sweet.

Clearly, all MPs should carry the federal coffers in their jacket pockets. Then wait till next spring and reap the surprise windfall.

This works so well for me that I’m thinking about getting more jackets to increase my return. I’m pretty sure Ben Bernanke does this as well.

Frankly, Mr. Flaherty, I see this as our only hope. If you don’t agree, I’ll be deeply concerned. At least until I hit my word count.

Now.




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