I sat in the audience at St. John's Rotary Club, last week, as Memorial Economics Professor, Dr. Jim Feehan, explained how successive years of excessive spending and a precipitous decline in revenues, much of it anticipated, had given rise to the province’s current fiscal mess. He took time to explain the limited options available to the government, quantified the savings associated with service and program cuts, and suggested possible new revenues, all in pursuit of self-rescue.
Lunch was already over before he launched into the proposal for a new “Muskrat Falls Financing Tax”. Luckily, the normally thoughtful Professor was empathetic enough not to have subverted decent gastronomy before exposing the audience to the most recent innovation of the ‘dismal science’.
A “Muskrat Falls Financing Tax”, an economic concept? Not really; not in the way of Piketty or the Nobel winning Klugman. It was just an idea; perhaps, like hundreds of others. Except, this one had more implications, an unusual rationale; it was presumptuous, to say the least, even for an economist.