High finance

It could be an age thing, but has anyone else noticed how easily millions and billions slip off the tongue these days?  

In almost a daily occurrence, mega millions are announced by governments to support this or that cause. 

Rarely does fiscal responsibility even surface as a talking point anymore, except limited interjections quickly dismissed as old-school thinking. 

“Get with the times,” they might even say – it’s 2022.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), lived experience suggests at some point bills have to be paid. For far too many years, governments of all stripes have kicked the proverbial can down the road. 

The practice has proven successful in the sense that politicians seem to hang around for a long time, but what about the moment the final bill comes due?

Health care, education, infrastructure, long-term care and housing – these are all examples of fundamental priorities that have not been given their fair due.

The pandemic certainly highlighted shortcomings in health care and long-term care for seniors. We are short on beds and held captive by a system that is more about the system than the patient.

Education – from daycare through to university – has limited points of praise for the costs associated with it. Again, the system seems hung up on its survival rather than on its pupils.

Infrastructure, ignored often until it becomes a crisis, is reaching its tipping point. A 30-year plan recently spelled out by Premier Doug Ford provides little solace considering subsequent governments can change course at any moment.

And housing – that will heat up in the coming weeks as municipalities attempt to accommodate provincial growth mandates and federal immigration commitments. 

How about the military? Pared down and starved for decades, meagre offers of weaponry to Ukraine have exhausted our surplus supplies already.

While pledges to increase spending and tackle these problems holds some promise, the track record of all parties suggests we are in for more of the same, perhaps worse.

The deal earlier this week that will have the NDP supporting the Liberals on confidence motions until 2025 just added more previously unfunded commitments to the mix.  

Although millions and billions are flowing with no end in sight today, the cost of high finance will, in the end, be flabbergasting.