There are very few guarantees in life.
Tom Peters, probably the most successful management guru of the 1980s, once said that American businessmen were true capitalists – until they walk through the front door of their businesses each day. Then they spend their time trying to wring tax breaks, grants, monopolies and other non-market benefits out of government.
Normally, this is under the umbrella “everyone is doing it so we have to be in the game”. You know what I mean. If my competitor is getting a tax break or government forced positive market conditions, it is only fair that I do as well. And I am sensitive to that argument. Governments shouldn’t change the conditions on the playing field to favour one over the other because if they do, it forces this kind of incentive war of attrition.
The interesting thing is that New Brunswick is actually one of the least offenders in this area. The think tank Fraser Institute periodically publishes a report on the amount of government subsidies to industry by province and New Brunswick, adjusted for the size of its economy, routinely ranks among the lowest users of subsidy to industry.
If we are going to use incentives, I favour government using tax breaks and other incentives where there is a clear return on the investment of taxpayer money on that investment. I do not recommend utilateral disarmament.