In a recent column about the upcoming Metro Vancouver transit plebiscite, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham complained about business leaders who talked “way more about cutting taxes for poor beleaguered taxpayers for the past 30 years than they have about the valuable services tax money provides.”
size of government
This year’s Economic Freedom of North America 2014 (EFNA) report shows that, once again, while we are the United States, our states have bigger differences than climate, seasons and terrain.
Murray Smith, a former Alberta cabinet minister in the Ralph Klein government, the one that privatized government liquor stores and licence registries in 1993, once told me about a side benefit of such divestments (and I paraphrase): fewer distractions, which led to more focused government.
President Obama has frequently cited the seemingly intractable debate about the size of government currently consuming the political class as his primary obstacle to getting major reforms through a divided Congress.
For example, in his State of the Union address he said:
Government is the single most pervasive institution of modern life and its programs are important to our quality of life. While government spending around the world has grown, more and larger government is not always associated with better outcomes.
The Clerk of the Privy Council's Blueprint 2020 exercise is a positive step in redefining the role and functions of the federal public service in Canada. It asks important questions about how the public service needs to evolve, what best practices it should adopt, and how the federal public service can come to represent a competitive advantage for the country. We laud the Clerk and the entire public service for this introspective initiative.
However, a key question omitted from the blueprint document is: what's the right size and scope of the federal government in 2020?