For those who will vote on election day in Alberta, May 5, keep in mind that the real political power rests with the non-elected government bureaucracy. The government bureaucrats will continue with their agenda regardless of which party (or coalition of parties) gets to pretend that it calls the shots.
The elected politicians are not entirely to be blamed for what has happened and will be happening. They have to be quite careful about what happens in their constituency offices and what they do or say there. Their office staff is comprised of employees who are in the pay of government services.
Will any of the politicians have the power to make good on their promises to cut government spending and thereby to lower taxes?
Will anyone be able to get the firm control they promise to have on the Alberta Heritage Savings and Trust Fund that has been promised for the past fifty years?
Alaska’s Permanent fund was set up in the same year, in 1976. It is worth about $65 billion now (compared to Alberta’s Savings and Trust Fund being worth about $15 billion, even though both plans produced comparable amounts of annual revenues). However, the Alaska Permanent Fund has been paying out dividends every year since it began doing that in 1982, $38,000 in total to every Alaska resident. That’s not bad, eh?
Mind you, Norway is the country that truly was serious about putting its money where its mouth is. It has a comparable savings fund that is now worth about $854 billion.
So, looking past their rhetoric, what practical plans do the prospective ostensible leaders of Alberta have? Privatization – to bring cash into the kitty – has not been mentioned by anyone this time around. A lot of the government assets that the taxpayers once owned have already been sold off.
It seems to me that anyone who totally ignores what truly matters to private industry and commerce in determining how well things are going cannot truly be serious about understanding how well the government is doing that he alleges he will lead well. I have never yet seen any Alberta politician produce a statement of government assets and liabilities, let alone make projections that indicate how profitable the Alberta Government will become in the near future. It would be foolish to think that a politicians expressing concerns about balancing the budget knows enough about government to be trusted with running it. Balancing the budget is comparable to deciding how much money to take along when going grocery shopping. Balancing the budget does not prevent a government from going broke.
Keep in mind that anyone trying to get a loan to finance a business for any reason will get laughed out of the bank if he cannot produce a statement of assets and liabilities and a cash-flow projection. Considering how vital our votes are to our future, it is astonishing that so many people who cast them (or not) are not as careful with them as the banks are with handing out loans.
“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” — H. L. Mencken