EDMONTON and CALGARY -- Alberta, long the envy of the nation with its vast energy resources and overflowing treasury, is about to post a stunning financial setback - an estimated $1-billion deficit, one of the largest budget shortfalls of any province this fiscal year.
Albertans learned for the first time yesterday how dire their economic situation has suddenly become after Finance Minister Iris Evans announced the debt-free province has entered a "sharp period of recession."
She said Alberta, which hasn't posted a deficit in 15 years, is expected to shed 15,000 jobs in coming months as its economy shrinks by 2 per cent.
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Um, I told you so?
I mean, come on, everybody and his dog with any brains was pointing out how obviously overheated the Alberta economy was and that efforts should have been made to both cool it down, so it would last longer and to put down money for when it ended. The response of the government and the majority of Albertans was that the rest of the country was jealous, that finally it was time for "Western" values to be listened to in Ottawa, blah blah blah.
Now normally, I don't like to make fun of governments and regions being in debt. It's always the poor and the people who are already struggling who suffer in these situations. What is so infuriating about Alberta is that it wasn't just a case of a bunch of greedy, short-sighted assholes signing away the future of the province to a bunch of multinational oil companies and taking a huge personal cut on the side. No, this was happening during the height of neo-con cultural indoctrination and propaganda. So now instead of simple lying and prevaricating, the Albertan government and all the people making out like bandits got to walk around acting like they were actually part of some political philosophy and what they were doing was morally correct and to the benefit of society overall.
It still blows my mind how these "conservatives" have abandoned entirely the fundamentals of conservative financial behaviour. Spend wisely. Save your money for a rainy day. Balance risk and security appropriate to your future needs. Husband your resources. And so on. All that stuff has been tossed out the window. They are decadent, wasteful and greedy but at the same time get to act all righteous about social issues, as if they themselves are living some morally superior lifestyle. I think that if you are holding a credit card debt that you are not able to pay off that month, you should not be allowed to have any socially conservative viewpoints. How can you rail against abortion, immigration or gun control when you can't even afford to pay off your home and you are driving around in a new pickup truck that you don't need and don't own. This goes from the individual level right up to the government itself.
When things get really bad, and you want to complain and whine, take it to the big oil companies to whom you gave all your profits in the first place. Maybe they'll lend you some money to get through the hard times.