Last week, Germany completed its plan to provide free university tuition to all its students. It's an idea that no doubt would excite the hopes and dreams of young people in Canada -- which explains the need to snuff it out before it catches on.
Certainly, it's the kind of big idea that powerful interests here are keen to keep off the radar as Ottawa finds itself flush with surplus cash -- $6 billion next year, with bigger surpluses expected in future years.
Have you ever considered a career on stage? Do you like to manipulate peoples' emotions to make them fear catastrophe and then worship you when you save the day? Perhaps you should consider a career running the country's finances.
As an aspiring actor, you no doubt admire the pomp and circumstance of the throne speech. But the political theatrics go far beyond that. These days the politics of the federal budget book are worthy of a Broadway spectacle.
Federal fiscal theatre has it all. There is anxiety-provoking drama, a valiant superhero and a (not so surprising) happy ending. This week's throne speech is just one more glamorous soliloquy to remind us who to credit when the hero triumphs just in time to enhance the Conservatives' fortunes in the next election.
It's budget season everywhere, and it's all about debt and deficits and the elusive quest to balance the beast, which can only be done, it is said, by cutting services or raising taxes.
The burden of interest charges -- on the same scale as health or education in most provincial budgets -- doesn't get questioned because interest is fixed by the gods according to divine law, retribution from which we can only escape through harsher and harsher penance.
Or is it? Let's chew on a couple of startling points.