I think each party knows what needs to be done, but they also know that voters willing to live through the sacrifices are by far in the minority. It's like voting in a team captain from a team of individual "contributors" versus a team that plays as a team. The captain is elected based on how he will help the individual players increase the stats on their player's card... nobody seems to care what will happen in 10-20 years, because nobody plays that long... People aren't unemployed that long, in school that long, in need of grants that long, starting their businesses that long, expect to be disabled that long... etc... I remember running some stats a couple years ago... It's hard to do what's right when your main focus is just getting the votes and your team looks like: 12.8M unemployed, 14.8M unionized, 43M Seniors, 41M aged 18-30 plus all the people receiving social assistance. Knowing there are 240M eligible voters - extending unemployment, catering to the unions+seniors+youths and increasing social assistance is an easy way to win the favor of 125M people. Also understanding to set expectations at a 40%-55% turnout, and on top of that, as an ironic coincidence, the unemployed, the unionized, the seniors and the under 30 have the highest turnout percentages... doing the smart thing won't, I mean, CAN'T get you elected.