Canadian politics in the 1990s were characterized by an unwavering focus on the deficit. At the beginning of the decade, it seemed that fiscal deficits were intractable - a fait accompli of Canadian politics - yet by the end of the decade, Ottawa had taken remarkable actions to eliminate its budgetary shortfalls and had successfully eradicated its deficits. How such a radical change of political course came to pass is still not well understood.
In The Long Run We're All Dead: The Canadian Turn to Fiscal Restraint offers the first comprehensive scholarly account of this vital public policy issue. Lewis deftly analyzes the history of deficit finance from before Confederation through Canada's postwar Keynesianism to the retrenchment of the Mulroney and Chretien years. In doing so, he illuminates how the political conditions for Ottawa's deficit elimination in the 1990s materialized after over 20 consecutive years in the red, and how the decline of Canadian Keynesianism has made way for the emergence of politics organized around balanced budgets.
This important book provides scholars and students of Canadian politics with a new framework by which to understand the adoption of government policy, the economic and fiscal legacy of the Mulroney administrations, and the emergence of the new "politics of the surplus." It will be of great interest to those engaged with Canadian politics, political economy, and public policy, as well as to participants in policy processes and the informed public.
Timothy Lewis has a PhD in political science and a law degree from the University of Toronto. He has worked in both the private and the public sectors.
Preface 1 Fiscal Politics 2 Deficit Finance in Historical Perspective 3 The Political Economy of Economic Decline 4 Persisting Keynesian Conceptualizations of Deficit Finance, 1975-84 5 Restructuring Power Relations 6 The Priority of Structural Reform, 1984-93 7 Economic Insecurity and the Political Conditions for Deficit Elimination 8 Only Nixon Can Go to China, 1993-8 9 Maynard Where Art Thou? Appendix Notes Bibliography Index