John Robson: Exactly how much debt do Canadians think they’ll ever be able to repay?
Surveys suggest that too many Canadians are barely a paycheque away from financial catastrophe. And governments are eagerly supplying the catastrophe.
The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation just noted that since taking office in 2003, the Ontario Liberals have added $14,000 per person to the provincial debt. So what exactly is the plan to cope with this mountain of fiscal obligations?
No, no, put down that glass. Instead take out your own family financial plan. I trust that unlike the government you have one. Look at your assets, liabilities, net worth and monthly expenses. Now fill the glass with red ink and dump it all over them.
Specifically, in Ontario, if you’re in a family of four, add $56,000 to your liabilities and, assuming you pay just four per cent interest, $2,240 to your annual payments. That’s $186 a month.
Oh, phew, you say. You had me worried for a moment. But don’t pour a post-crisis cold one yet, because that’s just what’s been added since 2003. Total provincial debt is fast approaching $350 billion. At $25,700 per person, that’s $102,800 per family of four, and monthly payments of at least $342.