Roundtable: What Ford means for the youth vote

How Doug Ford’s plans for debt reduction will affect young people

Doug Ford.

As it stands, the Progressive Conservative party is the only official party in Ontario which has reasonably concerned itself with debt reduction and the reduction of structural deficits.

With a provincial debt of close to $350 billion, Ontario has become the most indebted sub-national entity on earth—and most of that has taken shape under the Liberals watch, who’ve held power since 2003.

The provincial debt has more than doubled since 2005, going from $150 billion to $350 billion in just a little over a decade. This, of course, matters for all Ontarians, but most profoundly for young people, who will be forced to carry the burden of overspending by governments they weren’t old enough to elect.

For students, the province’s outstanding debt puts the future of our economic opportunities in jeopardy.

With repeated credit rating downgrades caused by 28 years of structural deficits kicked off by Bob Rae’s NDP, Ontario pays relatively high interest premiums on its debt. At a time of globally low interest rates the province still spends approximately $1 billion per month on interest payments — more than the average cost of building a new hospital.

Because of the short-sighted deficit spending of Bob Rae, Dalton McGuinty, and Kathleen Wynne, Ontarians are left with two reasonable options: some austerity now or crippling austerity later.

As students, most of us understand the mentality of procrastination—but fiscal prudence cannot be put off any longer. We cannot afford it.

This election, the Liberals and NDP are proposing that we sacrifice sustainable, long term economic prosperity for short-sighted handouts which bolster their electability.

Unless discretionary spending is controlled—as only the PCs are willing to do—students will enter the workforce amidst ever-deteriorating public services and higher tax burdens to boot. This will make it increasingly difficult for young people to establish rewarding careers, start families, and to own a home.

The discretionary spending that the Liberals and the NDP promote as working to our benefit effectively amount to today’s youth being left worse-off in the long run.

 Of course, if Doug Ford and the PCs address over-spending as they’ve indicated they will, it’s unreasonable to think people will immediately have as generous a system of social benefits as the NDP or Liberals have proposed.

We’ll have to pay for some things ourselves. But in doing so, we’ll be able to steadily pay off Ontario’s debt, eventually freeing up 8 percent of government revenues assuming debt to GDP remains static. That’s money that can be put back in our pockets, invested in our companies, saved for retirement, put towards subsequent generations’ educations, or put to use in public policy; meaning increased prosperity for ourselves and our children.  

When it comes to your financial future—don’t procrastinate.

Aidan Scott is a third-year Political Studies major.

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