Waiting for the chickens to come home to roost

Making life easier for people is a commendable role played by government. But it costs money.
In the case of the current federal government, who can fault it for wanting to ease the sting of the pandemic? Who can say affordable daycare is a bad thing, or not needed? The same goes for supports for struggling businesses. Mental health. Housing. The list goes on and on.
But no matter how much government generosity appeals, at some point the fiscal chickens are going to come home to roost. They have to. And that should be making the tenderest liberal hearts quake with fear.
Fiscal conservatives have been nervous all along. They don’t run their own finances that way, and can’t be comfortable with the idea of large amounts of debt at any level. At the federal level they are becoming astronomical.
The world runs on debt, though. The question is how much is manageable and how much is too much. The people who claim they have simple solutions are blowing smoke.
When politics gets involved, the question becomes much more complicated. When you give stuff to people, and they get used to it, they will punish you at the polls if you take it away. Examples of government who have been willing to do that, I.e. sacrifice popularity on the alter of ‘fiscal responsibility’ are few and far between. The Klein government managed it in Alberta and in the process earned the hatred of some people who have never gotten over it. However, it didn’t seem to hurt the PCs at the polls. Federally, the Chretién government managed it, quite impressively, in the second half of the 1990s. Those were the days.
The current feds are hopelessly mired in debt and it seems all they can do is get deeper into it. The reckoning, whenever it comes, is likely to be brutal.

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