While the rest of North America is celebrating the fact that they can finally afford to till up their car falling oil prices have left everyone here in Alberta a little unhappy. No one is less impressed with this state of affairs than Jim Prentice, Premier of Alberta, who has been pontificating on how his government can make up for lost oil royalties. This is actually a wonderful opportunity for the province of Ontario to reduce the burden of government in this region. While Prentice et. al are sure to look at higher taxes as the way forward this would be the wrong approach. It is a truism that the greater the level of economic freedom in a locality, the greater the prosperity. Lower taxes and less regulation, ceteris paribus, mean people are financially better off. Instead of borrowing the money to make up this short fall or taxing it the government of Alberta should simply reduce how much of our money they are spending every year. Far from putting Alberta into a recession, as Prentice claims, this would usher in a new golden era of prosperity, if the cuts were drastic enough.
But where to cut? To the libertarian the answer is easy. Anywhere and everywhere, the more severe, the better. Why not reduce the number and salaries of the bureaucracy? Pensions could be clawed back, services privatized, land and buildings auctioned off. Why should MLA's make 200k+ a year when they could easily get by on 50? Auction off all the schools. Get rid of the ministry of aboriginal relations, the ministry of seniors, of jobs and skills training. Wield an axe mercilessly and let it land where it may. Shut these ministries down, fire all the bureaucrats that work with them, don't give them a dime in severance pay, take back their pensions and auction off all the buildings in which they pretended to work. Let these resources be reallocated back to the private sector (including the labour, such as it may be), where they can go to work creating wealth instead of mindlessly consuming it.