When the economy first collapsed, in 2008-2009, my mother told me that I was lucky. I was still young. I still have time to build a nest egg. The city that I live in, Ottawa, was mostly safe from the fallout. It had curled up under a blanket of a minority government, covered its eyes, and threw a bit of a money at the problem, in the hopes of making it okay. The blanket was thrown off this week, those underneath had their eyes uncovered.
Her Majesty’s government released its first budget as a majority government yesterday. I know people who say that it could have been worse. I know people who say that public servants should be fired, the lot of them, that they’re overpaid and underworked. I think this is demeaning, cruel, and untrue, to say the least. It can always be worse. But, these are the first serious austerity measures that Ottawa has seen in quite some time. The numbers are there, if you’re so inclined.
The point is, that Ottawa this morning is eerily quiet. So quiet, you could hear a penny drop, except that the government has also vowed to get rid of those. There are tumbleweeds rolling across the government campuses and the atmosphere is dim. It’s reminiscent–though not to the same degree–of the rust belt. The government cuts are not so severe that Ottawa will be hanging signs asking the last one to leave to turn off the lights.
It’s a rather depressing air that surrounds the town, though. And I’m not quite sure what to do about it.