And thanks to Justin Trudeau & friends, it’s only getting worse.
Better sit down. Pull up a chair at the kitchen table, you and your spouse and the two kids. Keep everyone away from sharp objects. I’ve got a shocking number for you.
A Canadian family of four — yes, you — pays $7,009 a year toward government debt. JUST IN INTEREST.
(I don’t know what the extra $9 is for. A tip?)
It’s criminal. Or should be.
Together, we poor Canuck schmucks spent $62.8 billion last year servicing debt racked up by our glorious leaders, or $1,752 for every Tom, Dick and Harriet of us. Did I mention?: IN INTEREST ALONE.
The grim stat was calculated by the Fraser Institute, an independent think-tank, in a study released Thursday.
How, you ask, could it be so much? How did we get to this sorry state?
Easy. Federal and combined provincial debts jumped half a trillion dollars between 2007 and last year, to a gob-smacking $1.4 trillion.
As an Ontarian, you’ll be proud to know Queen’s Park is the undisputed king of provincial debts. The Wynne government squats on a $318 billion IOU, doubled since 2007. Our share of what the feds owe is $288 billion, for a grand total of $606 billion, or about $43,300 for each man, woman and child. Only Newfoundlanders have it worse.
Yes, we are governed by drunken sailors.
And you felt guilty putting that hamburger on your Visa?
OK, think of it as hamburgers. A Big Mac combo meal is about $9 in Toronto. It will take 67.3 billion combos to pay off our government debts, with relish.
A Toronto cabbie would need to drive 600 billion km, at the current rate of $1.75 per, to do the same. In other words, 64 round trips to Uranus. The planet, silly. And good luck getting Uber to Uranus.
Speaking of holes, if Ms. Wynne and Monsieur Trudeau dig us any deeper, we’ll be paying off in yen or yuan.
Why should we care?
“Because there are immediate consequences,” says Fraser report author Charles Lammam. “(Interest payments) take away resources from education, health, social services or reducing taxes.”
I’ll say. Here’s a gem: Our hapless leaders’ debt payments ($21.3 billion) are nearly what the Wynne crowd collects in HST ($23.8 billion) all year. And you thought the HST paid for silly things like roads, trains and windmills.
“The sad reality is there’s no end in sight,” says Lammam. “No government is taking this seriously. (Ottawa) plans persistent deficits and Ontario has been running them for a very long time.”
How can they get away with it? It is illegal for City Hall to run a deficit — so what makes QP and Parliament Hill so special?
True, cyclists, socialists, tax-and-spend liberals and lobbyists would squeal, but, hell, so do piglets when cut off from the teat.
The racket was earsplitting when Mike Harris (remember him?) outlawed budget deficits — but the contented suckling resumed about five seconds after Dalton McGuinty became premier.
Back then, I proposed an amendment to the Criminal Code, to wit:
Subsections B and S: “No government shall accrue a debt with more than six zeroes. Penalty: Three zeroes off the salary of each member of said government.”
The proposal did not exactly receive universal acclaim in the halls of power.
No wonder. Demanding that politicians police their own abuse of our money is like asking a sex addict to stand watch at the bordello. Or a pig to guard the trough.