Okay, this shouldn't be nearly as bad as my old post on Baire Category. The Globe is running a story about how Saskatchewan is "making hay" with a $1.6bn sale of a fertilizer plant.
Now, a fair bit of money in the bank, right? But the plant cost $453m in the late 1980's. Let's say 1988, since it's not specified. Now, adjusting for inflation, that's about $753m in today's dollars. That's still a substantial profit, right?
Now, 753(1.04)^20 =~ 1600. Or, in real terms, the rate of return on the investment was 4%. Which isn't great.
But, even worse! Over the 1981-2000 period, the average interest rate the Government of Saskatchewan paid on provincial debt was 9.12% (page 25).
And 9.12 > 4. Admittedly, 9.12% is an overestimate of the interest rate over the 1988-2008 period, but it's still a safe bet that the government could've saved a considerable amount of cash by not buying this fertilizer plant and issuing fewer bonds instead.