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It’s Magic


Memorial University math professor Tom Baird posted a clever pie chart on social media Monday. It was a supposed breakdown of the Liberal’s projected savings and revenue from 2019-2020. One small sliver is attributed to consultant cuts. 

A modest slice will come from selling government properties. The remaining 86.6 per cent? Magic. That’s right. Magic. Because nothing else can explain the bizarre expenditure/revenue sheet the Liberals released this weekend.

The report breaks down the cost of the new initiatives they’ve announced. Some amount to just a few thousand dollars, others amount to several million.

But it’s the savings and revenue side of the equation that defies logic.

By 2020, the Liberals expect to have saved a whopping $383 million by reducing “government waste.”

It’s not clear where the waste is, however, considering the civil service has already been slashed, and salaries are the single biggest expense.

And amid all the hopeful new sources of revenue is a line item called “Improved Revenue from Economic Diversification.”

The total between now and 2020 is estimated to be $359 million.

In that last year, for example, the total will be $170 million. Think about that for a moment. This is not the total market value of the “diversified” economy. This is government revenue alone.

To put that in perspective, the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation raked in $170 million for the province last year. So by 2020, there will be new economic revenue generation equivalent to the value of all that over-taxed booze. Or look at it this way: Last year, the total revenue from personal income tax, sales tax and corporate income tax was $2.67 billion.

That means that this diversified economy will add more than five per cent to those totals.

Meanwhile, on the investment side of the ledger, the Liberals say they’ll be investing almost $40 million over five years by “building a stronger, smarter economy.”

In it, they outline a potpourri of new strategies, analyses, studies, councils and tax breaks in sectors such as mining, fishing, oil and gas, forestry and tourism.

All that, they suggest, will create almost $360 million in new revenue. That’s a nine-fold return on investment. We have one paper mill left in this province. Call centres have come and gone. The famous boot factory is kaput.

You can predict an economic turnaround in five years, but what the Liberals project wouldn’t be a turnaround.

It would be a miracle. It is in the realm of flying reindeer and dancing broomsticks.

To some extent, everyone is promising the moon in this election.

The Liberals seem to have thrown in a few planets to boot. It’s not realistic. It’s fantasy. 

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