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Their parents didn't pass the bill down onto the boomers.

Wrong. In the case of Canada, if we didn`t have the debt passed down from WWII and given the exact same spending we did we would not have a debt today, in fact a strong surplus*.

*note I really need to redo this to reflect the Harper years as well, but I believe we would still be in surplus.

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There are even fewer who seem to know what natural capital is.

Yes true.

I know all about that with my investment in Western Forest Products common stock. ;)

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Ahem...I don't think this figure applies to Canadian "millennials"....plus it is in USD.

No, but one can extrapolate from it. For Canada it is probably around $3 trillion, give or take.

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I'll entertain you. How do you propose we make a 'generation' pay for its own debt?

Simple. Aside from emergencies, we don't borrow money. If we can't afford it, we can't afford it. That doesn't mean we can't borrow money at all. We can if we pay it back within ten or twenty years, just like people have a mortgage. The generation before the boomers had to borrow to fight world war two. They pretty much paid it back within twenty years. Trudeau borrowed, not for an emergency, but because he felt an enlightened society ought to have a number of expensive social services but that people wouldn't be willing to pay for them.

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Wrong. In the case of Canada, if we didn`t have the debt passed down from WWII and given the exact same spending we did we would not have a debt today, in fact a strong surplus*.

We owed a total of about $17 billion when Pierre Trudeau was elected and $90 billion when he was booted out. You can start with that. Double digit interest rates built on that, along with our habit of wanting things we couldn't afford to pay for.

Edited by Argus

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It seems millennials got screwed by changing economic circumstances.

People in their early 30s are half as wealthy as those now in their 40s were at the same age, a report finds.
Today's 30-something generation has missed out on house price increases and better pensions, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37508968

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Simple. Aside from emergencies, we don't borrow money. If we can't afford it, we can't afford it. That doesn't mean we can't borrow money at all. We can if we pay it back within ten or twenty years, just like people have a mortgage. The generation before the boomers had to borrow to fight world war two. They pretty much paid it back within twenty years. Trudeau borrowed, not for an emergency, but because he felt an enlightened society ought to have a number of expensive social services but that people wouldn't be willing to pay for them.

That's actually not a bad idea, but why are you singling out Trudeau? Mulroney and Harper spent like a couple of rich kids with daddy's credit card and I don't see you saying boo about them.

In fact, in the time I've known you you've supported and voted for Harper in spite of his mass deficits.

Edited by BC_chick

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That's actually not a bad idea,

No, it's a terrible idea.

Nothing wrong with borrowing money to pay for infrastructure.

It is absurd to "save" up funds to pay for a highway or bridge etc....

These assets last decades or longer and can be funded by borrowing over similar time periods.

Then we have the softer infrastructure - the "social" kind.

Even here the benefits are intangible - we can't see them all that well when that person on EI gets new skills and goes on to a successful new opportunity they otherwise would not have had.

This idea that we need permanent austerity until the debt is zero will not serve past generations nor future ones and is a product, once again, of people spending too much time counting up the liability side while completely ignoring the asset side. Of looking at the sunk costs and projected future costs while ignoring all the opportunities now available due to those investments that were made decades ago.

Now, I know you're an accountant so you probably get accused of this just as I do but it is largely true - these people behave like they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

This is why I recommend more people spend more time doing what Warren Buffet does - read companies annual reports - not just the GAAP stuff but the forward looking stuff too.

Then place some of your money into some of these companies and take the time over many years to ride out the investment.

It changes how you see the world - you start seeing value and you begin to understand the price that needs to be paid to get that value. Sometimes you get lucky and the price gets bashed down so you pick it up on the cheap.

Yet, that is exactly the opportunity government has now - record low interest rates. In some countries negative interest rates.

Opportunity being squandered because it is easier to comprehend the value of debt than the value of opportunities.

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To clarify, when I said it's not a bad idea it wasn't referring to not borrowing unless it's an emergency, I was referring to the idea of having a proper amortization period when borrowing.

I don't know how feasible it would be in reality, but if it there is a way to come up with amortization periods, I would prefer it to continually accumulating debt without a proper payment structure.

Of course the economy is more unpredictable than someone's income but paying down a debt should be considered a necessary part of expenditure.

It makes for more responsible borrowing.

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That's actually not a bad idea, but why are you singling out Trudeau? Mulroney and Harper spent like a couple of rich kids with daddy's credit card and I don't see you saying boo about them.

In fact, in the time I've known you you've supported and voted for Harper in spite of his mass deficits.

If you care to check back you won't find my having said much nice about Mulroney. In fact, I haven't said much nice about Harper either. My preference for Harper was as the lesser of three evils.

I do, however, cut both him and Mulroney (who should be in jail) some slack over the fact international events overwhelmed their domestic economic agendas. Nothing forced Trudeau the elder to double spending his first term in office, just as nothing forced Trudeau the younger to bring in a budget with a $30 billion deficit. Harper should have refused the demands of the opposition for a huge spending spree. That would have been standing on principle, but he clearly wanted to stay in power more than retain his principles. At least he returned to balance, despite some quibbling caused by a sudden enormous drop in the price of oil. Mulroney did cut back as much as he could in the midst of stagflation, and would have had a balanced budget were it not for the huge sums being paid on interest on the existing debt.

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No, it's a terrible idea.

Nothing wrong with borrowing money to pay for infrastructure.

I didn't say we couldn't do that, so long as we could repay it within a couple of decades.

However, that Is NOT what Trudeau is doing. He's borrowing money to pay for new program spending. Almost none of the deficit is due to infrastructure spending.

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If you care to check back you won't find my having said much nice about Mulroney. In fact, I haven't said much nice about Harper either. My preference for Harper was as the lesser of three evils.

I do, however, cut both him and Mulroney (who should be in jail) some slack over the fact international events overwhelmed their domestic economic agendas. Nothing forced Trudeau the elder to double spending his first term in office, just as nothing forced Trudeau the younger to bring in a budget with a $30 billion deficit. Harper should have refused the demands of the opposition for a huge spending spree. That would have been standing on principle, but he clearly wanted to stay in power more than retain his principles. At least he returned to balance, despite some quibbling caused by a sudden enormous drop in the price of oil. Mulroney did cut back as much as he could in the midst of stagflation, and would have had a balanced budget were it not for the huge sums being paid on interest on the existing debt.

I think there is more to it than economic misfortune. Conservative governments want the best of both worlds. They cut back on taxes but they spend like liberals (albeit prioritizing differently).

Everyone had their evils, but I really respect Chretien and Martin for paying down the debt as they did. Trudeau's fiscal policy has been a disaster and so was Harper's.

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If you care to check back you won't find my having said much nice about Mulroney. In fact, I haven't said much nice about Harper either. My preference for Harper was as the lesser of three evils.I do, however, cut both him and Mulroney (who should be in jail) some slack over the fact international events overwhelmed their domestic economic agendas.

You cut Mulroney some slack, yet Trudeau the elder was the one that was dealing with 2 recessions and interest rates 5-10 points higher than Mulroney. I think your bias has nothing to do with international events, it is all about your partisan leanings.

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Everyone had their evils, but I really respect Chretien and Martin for paying down the debt as they did. Trudeau's fiscal policy has been a disaster and so was Harper's.

You mean when they downloaded just about everything on the provinces?

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You mean when they downloaded just about everything on the provinces?

and restored funding later, it was like a 2-year blip in lowered transfer payments

Edited by ?Impact

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and restored funding later, it was like a 2-year blip in lowered transfer payments

Yes, after the downloading created all kinds of problems for the provinces, they did try to "address" some of the issues, they did not "restore" funding, and they also hiked taxes right after.

Sound familiar....like Wynne pushing the envelope until the damage is done and then they "try" to do something....not to fix the problem mind you....only to try and save their sorry asses from getting kicked to the curb (which eventually did happen, and hopefully will happen to Wynne too).

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they did not "restore" funding, and they also hiked taxes right after.

Look at the transfers to provinces, there is indeed a blip where they lowered them for about 2 years but they were restored and increased after that, not hard to see it is in the fiscal tables.

What tax hike? More revisionist history. Yes, they did increase the number of tax brackets to 4 from 3 (not Mulroney decreased it from 9 to 3) but they didn't increase taxes. In fact the 2nd highest tax bracket was lowered by 1 percentage point.

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Everyone had their evils, but I really respect Chretien and Martin for paying down the debt as they did. Trudeau's fiscal policy has been a disaster and so was Harper's.

I would have respected them if it didn't become blatantly evident that the reason they weren't spending was because they had no opposition to threaten them in the polls and wanted to keep the money available for big campaign promises when they did face a threat. Note that as soon as the Tories and Alliance merged and the Liberals did face opposition the money taps were turned on high and all the spending room in the budget was immediately used up. Had Martin won the election his many costly promises would have taken us back into deficit.

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Everyone had their evils, but I really respect Chretien and Martin for paying down the debt as they did. Trudeau's fiscal policy has been a disaster and so was Harper's.

I would have respected them if it didn't become blatantly evident that the reason they weren't spending was because they had no opposition to threaten them in the polls and wanted to keep the money available for big campaign promises when they did face a threat. Note that as soon as the Tories and Alliance merged and the Liberals did face opposition the money taps were turned on high and all the spending room in the budget was immediately used up. Had Martin won the election his many costly promises would have taken us back into deficit.

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You cut Mulroney some slack, yet Trudeau the elder was the one that was dealing with 2 recessions and interest rates 5-10 points higher than Mulroney. I think your bias has nothing to do with international events, it is all about your partisan leanings.

Trudeau was elected in 1968. During his first term, inflation averaged 3%. He doubled spending. During his second term he doubled spending again, though there wasn't high inflation until 1974. So no, I don't think I'm being unfair. He also didn't inherit much in the way of debt. He offered Canadians social programs like universal health care but didn't make them pay for them.

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Trudeau was elected in 1968. During his first term, inflation averaged 3%. He doubled spending. During his second term he doubled spending again, though there wasn't high inflation until 1974. So no, I don't think I'm being unfair. He also didn't inherit much in the way of debt. He offered Canadians social programs like universal health care but didn't make them pay for them.

You can't look at on metic in isolation. GDP and revenues were increasing until about '74, and the debt to GDP ratio was decreasing. The reckless years were '75 through '95, yes Mulroney had a couple of good years when first elected but then his ways turned just as bad if not worse than Trudeau was during the early 80's. The debt:GDP was lower in '79 then when Trudeau was elected in '68. I have no problem with you criticizing Trudeau from '75 onwards, but when you give Mulroney a break you are showing your true colours.

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