Over the course of the holiday season the federal finance department subtly published a report stating that Canada could be facing decades of deficits. While the report acknowledges that there is a fair degree of uncertainty in its projections, as is the case with all long-term projections, it is far from being the worse-case scenario that the Government would have us believe it is. The report is in fact a base-line scenario. It describes itself as a broad analysis of the Government’s fiscal position, allowing it to respond to upcoming challenges as well as to protect the long-term sustainability of public finances.
The report refers to a mix of stable and unstable variables, such as demographics, current economic trends, fiscal policy, and so on. Some of these are in the Government’s control and some not. But the report highlights an important fact that seems lost on the Trudeau Government, which is that “economic growth stems from growth in either labour supply or labour productivity – real output per hour worked.”
In other words, wealth is the result of real productive effort, which necessarily requires the use of actual human time and energy of which all of us have only a limited supply. A person’s time and energy is their dominion; they alone have authority to determine how it is to be spent. If a person chooses to spend wealth prior to producing it then, for better or worse, they voluntarily make themselves a servant to their creditor. If, however, a state chooses to spend wealth prior to it being produced; and if the anticipated production of wealth is postponed or does not occur, the state’s debt is coercively transferred to future citizens. In short, productive members of the next generation can be economically enslaved by a previous generation that lived beyond its means.