Home > Federal, Liberals, NDP > An Attempt To Look At The Liberal Poverty Plan

An Attempt To Look At The Liberal Poverty Plan

November 10, 2007

The Liberals have come up with an actual policy statement besides tax cuts: they want to work to reduce poverty.

Well, I won’t make any cracks about the Liberals’ past failure to keep promises and targets.

Now the smart thing to do when releasing policy publicly is to make it sound good and avoid specifics, especially when there is no election occurring.  It stops one from getting into trouble later.  The Liberals have succeeded at this for the most part.

But, the Liberals have released enough specifics to raise some questions/points.

First of all, the plan sets specific targets for reduction: a 30% reduction of Canadians under the poverty line and a 50% reduction in children living in poverty.  Doesn’t this remind you of Kyoto?

Of course, those numbers could hurt the Liberals in the future, so Stéphane Dion is already working to reduce expectations:

“I am sure that many of you are familiar with the great strides that have been made by the United Kingdom in reducing child poverty.

The results speak for themselves. It is expected that by next year’s budget, there will be 700,000 fewer children living in poverty in the UK than when Mr. Blair delivered his promise. Not as many as first planned.

But had Tony Blair not dared to aim high, there would be far more children in poverty in the UK than there are today.

Today we aim high.”

Translation: the actual targets don’t matter, its doesn’t matter if we reach them, as long as something happens.

Secondly, the other specifics released in this plan has to do with adjusting the tax system to reduce the amount of taxes collected/increase benefits received.  Well, I suppose the poor don’t really pay much in taxes anyway.

But combine this with a general Liberal desire to reduce taxes in general, then look at the next part of the plan.  The Liberals want to create a childcare system, improve transit systems, increase funding to aboriginals, and fund affordable housing.  All of this sounds real great, but you can’t have everything.  Tell me, how is a government supposed to fund these new services while reducing the tax revenues needed to fund them?

Overall, you really can’t make that many conclusions about the Liberal poverty plan, because there isn’t enough specifics.  However, it feels to me that this plan tells people what they want to hear as opposed to what can really be done.  Then again, I could just be a cynic.

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Categories: Federal, Liberals, NDP
  1. November 10, 2007 at 11:19 am

    You nailed the analysis of that plan. The devils will be in the details, and of course, there were not real details. As for the tax plans, there’s another angle to look at this from too. We are not looking at a $16 Billion surplus to use anymore. Thanks to the Liberals supporting/abstaining the Conservatives GST and Corporate tax cuts, the surplus now only about $1.5 Billion. So he’s promising more, while he has drastically reduced his capacity to deliver what he’s promising. I think that is where supporting the Conservatives tax cuts will really come back to bite the Liberals in the ass.

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