The pandemic is changing how we talk about deficits — maybe for the better


Various observers and unnamed officials spent last week worrying aloud about how large a deficit the Liberal government might be preparing to run — and then the new leader of the Conservative Party more or less disavowed any interest in balancing the budget. “Economic growth is as important as controlling spending,” Erin O’Toole told the Globe and Mail, adding that his goal would be to see the budget balanced over a “decade or so.” The Conservative leader in 2020 sounds like Justin Trudeau did in 2015, when the rookie Liberal leader broke with Canadian political orthodoxy and said that a government led by him would run a series of annual deficits to fund new spending. Take it as another sign of how completely the pandemic has upended the world.

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