After Gordon Campbell’s Liberal party won a massive majority in the Canadian parliament on the strength of their New Era electoral platform in 2001, the premier’s first act was to fulfill his campaign pledge to reduce personal income taxes. In Big Promises, Small Government, former elected official George Abbott reveals the consequences of those and other dramatic changes in tax policy on social programs, arguing for a more sustainable level of taxation. When Campbell’s confidence that that lower taxes would spur investment and growth, essentially paying for themselves, proved to be misguided, ministries had to scramble to maintain a balanced budget—a situation that was exacerbated by the the decision to exempt health and education from any cuts. The damage, Abbott shows, was significant. This insider account of the real-world genesis, implementation, and consequences of a tax policy offers vital lessons for future governments and considerable insight into the role of taxes in society.