Saturday, April 02, 2005

I drank beer and watched Ladder 49

Looks like Andrew Coyne spent his Friday night updating his "web-log". Both today's and Wednesday's columns are up, as well as an extended entry about the Conservative Policy Declaration (as amended by last month's convention).

He gives a report card to the CPC in eleven broad categories. The highlights? Spending policy gets an F:
Here is the party's commitment to spending discipline, in its entirety. "A Conservative government will strengthen enforcement and criminal code penalties for fraud involving misuse of tax dollars." So outright criminality they're against. And, doubtless, waste, fraud and duplication. But not a line on where or even if they would cut spending beyond that.

Tax policy gets a C, "possibly because tax cuts do not require any sacrifice from anyone":
...while the party has a long list of taxes it wants to cut [Woo-hoo! - Ed.], from personal income taxes to corporate taxes to capital gains, there's a singular absence of vision. There's no commitment to tax reform, ie moving toward a more neutral, less preference-riddled tax system -- and in fact the document is laced with proposals to add new "tax incentives" for just about everything under the sun. This is activism by the back door: rather than call it a spending program, you assuage your conservative conscience by delivering it through the tax system.

And this will further depress my fellow small government types - Subsidies gets an F:
While announcing a general hope to eliminate business subsidies "eventually," there isn't a single subsidy that the party opposes: not for high-tech, not for regional development, not for farmers, not even for Via Rail and the CBC. And while it promises to negotiate reductions in subsidies for industries that compete with other countries, the regional development agencies get a ringing endorsement, albeit with a promise to see that the pork is handed out in a less "politicized" way. Embarrassing is the only word.

I'm sure there's some other words, several of which are not even hyphenated with profanities.

(UPDATE: If you're coming here from The Monger, my rejoinder is here.)


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