Friday, November 05, 2010

Liberals: Endangered List?

Middle Class Abandoning Liberals in United States?
Many governments in the advanced economies have begun to tighten their belts to reign in their stimulus spending. Canada is also not extending their stimulus spending in order to tackle the deficit and risk of inflation. The US is pushing for more stimulus to ease the unemployment and high rate of foreclosures. Germany, China and Brazil have criticized the decision to ease the money supply taken in the United States as they believe it will increase the  risk of a currency war. 
The mid-term elections  matched the 1938 results by sending  a large number of  Republicans in the Senate, Congress,  local state governments. It is too simplistic to suggest this was an anti-incumbent  movement.  This shift has been taking place for before as a message to Washington with the displeasure from the voters.
  • reduce spending and waste by their government.
  • shrink the role of government in society and intrusion in the pursuit of happiness (Liberty).

 Speigel Online has an excellent article:
"Two years ago his vision inspired voters. Today the same man often sounds strangely bloodless. Back then his cool, self-assured composure impressed many, now the same character comes across as cold, arrogant, even elitist. The right may well put on a shrill rough performance, and stand in the media spotlight. However, this president was never going to win votes on the right anyway. Obama's historic victory in 2008 was created by the middle of American society -- the independent voters and the suburbanites. It is this center that has abandoned him." -Süddeutsche Zeitung
The country is experiencing a new version of an ancient dispute over the heart of America. It is about what belongs to the state and what belongs to the citizens. The Tea Party wants less redistribution and more individual responsibility. The fall from grace for them was the bank bailout, because for them freedom includes risking failure. Many of the Tea Party people are 'libertarians' who are horrified to see managers on Wall Street make huge profits for years and then see the entire population have to bear their losses." - Die Welt
Are the American middle class tired of both parties failing to deliver on their promises? This rebuke of the Liberal-Democratic policies may have implications beyond the borders of the United States.
In Canada we have Liberals and left of centre parties that share many of the views of the Democratic party in the United States.

Unemployment Rate 1976-2009 J.C excluded 79-80
The Liberal party talks "social justice" the morality of the need for redistribution of wealth while in opposition but the last time in government Liberals attacked the most vulnerable with massive spending cuts . They gutted Health, Education and Social Services payments to the provinces in order to post a balanced Federal budget. They decimated the military budget and foreign aid. Employment Insurance program witnessed nearly $ 56 billion be removed to fill the general coffers. The Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that the increase in rate for  2001, 2002 and 2005 was unconstitutional.

The current leadership and front bench of the Liberals brag about the courage of the Chretien-Martin decade of darkness that reduced billions in transfers for the delivery of these programs. We had years of a  projected small surplus estimate with a substantial miss in the double digits.
The opposition is critical of the priorities of the Federal Government but they don't vote  non-confidence . The  Separatist are in parliament demanding the Federal Government by pass the provincial government in providing financial cooperation to municipalties including a hockey stadium. The Bloc has consistently voted against the same  projects they are now demanding have an extension. Hypocritical?

  • The Bloc have not supported any budget or supply bill in 2009 or 2010.

The Democrats like to talk about gimmicks on "heating oil" this winter,. They insist using wealth distribution from profitable companies and productive people will help make  Canada  a more just society.  If Cuba has admitted the socialist utopia model does not work, when will the Democrats embrace reality?

  • The NDP felt it was necessary to avoid an election in November 2009 by joining the Government and passing a supply bill. In 2010 they have not supported any supply bill.

The Liberal party of Canada  has serious challenges with leadership, fundraising, historical low level support at the ballot box since losing power. It does not appear in the short term anything has changed since Ignatieff was selected in 2008.
  •  Liberals joined the Government to pass the Budget in 2009, the budget included a two year Plan for stimulus. In November 2009 they voted against the Plan only 1x.
  • They have at least 30 MPs that don't show up to vote against the supply bills. In 2010 they have failed to vote against any supply bill that would trigger an election.
  • Their leader is the most absent MP when it comes to actual votes.
  • Finding 'star' candidates that will run.

Two opposition parties are calling for more government spending  for their projects but have been busy being critical and voting against every spending bill. The  Liberals are critical but fail to show up. Some in the media are starting to speculate the Liberals will have all missing MPs show up and possibly not vote in favour of the priorities of this government and risk an election. I don't. The Liberals have too many internal problems as they risk an open leadership fight if the government secures a majority or the Liberals fail to make significant gains. Ignatieff like Martin and Dion will be scapegoated for the poor performance of the party.

Ignatieff has only one shot in becoming the PM.  He need to secure the cooperation of the NDP and Bloc on the election timing. He needs the coalition to act in unison to vote non-confidence on a supply bill.

If the middle class believes your policies will increase their tax burden  through Kyoto, Carbon Tax, Global Bank Tax, Home Care, early Pensions for immigrants, GST hike, EI360, Green Energy Act, National Daycare, and Scholarships for Foreign students will they punish or reward you at the ballot box? 

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