Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 1: Bright Futures and buying off the electorate

The first real day of the campaign, and we have two distinct policy announcements.

The SK Party started off their campaign with something of a noodle scratcher, while the NDP decided that the electorate likes being overtaxed and promises to guarantee it.

The SK Party's promise on Day 1 was $500 per year for high school graduates who go on to post-secondary.  You know, to help with tuition or some such.  While this was met with puzzlement by reporters and students, wanting all the details right away, what is clear is one thing: The SK Party thinks that by doing this, by putting money into the hands of the student (or their parent, is there really a difference) they can shut up the whining about tuition increases.  My thought on tuition increases has been well documented throughout the years, but the refresher is that they should happen, they should be regular, in fact, universities should be charging full cost to students - no subsidies from the province.  This is a loser proposal because the students are still going to whine, and that lets the NDP whine.

The NDP promise on Day 1 was a Bright Futures fund, fully funded by your tax dollars.  The details are simple - the government will put away and invest $100 million per year into a fund that can't be touched for at least 20 years.  The "Dividends" from the fund can be used for capital projects starting after year 10.  Mr. Lingenfelter tells us that it should grow to $10 Billion by 2050 or so.  First the math: In order for it to get to that magical $10 Billion, it has to average 4.25% over the next 40 years or so, and that's assuming no future governments will raid the investment income for their pet projects.  Second, the morals: Some reporters on the radio were liking this idea, likening it to the normal household which has and makes debt repayments, but also has money in savings for the future.  The problem with that line of thinking is that governments AREN'T A NORMAL HOUSEHOLD.  "Savings" for a government is overtaxation, pure and simple.  This proposal creates a big ol' slush fund that all future governments can raid at will to fund their big expansive projects that they have no business funding.  No Thanks.  Want my vote Dwain?  Promise to legislate a payment on the debt of $100 million per year and then give me my money back so that I can invest it for my own Bright Future.

You will notice that I'm not going to cover the Liberals too much this election.  The reasoning is simple - they're running about as many candidates as the Progressive Conservatives, and it will come to virtually the same effect.  I'd love to see a true free enterprise party compete (and a fellow blogger tells me that that's what the Liberals are), but in reality the Liberals became toxic when they joined the minority NDP in '99.  I'll still review their platform and add it to the future roundup, but for all intents and purposes, this is a two horse race in Saskatchewan.

Winner for the day:  Students
Loser for the day: Taxpayers.

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