In charting the course for the ACT's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has a simple choice.
Simple because there isn't really a choice to make.
The only way up and out of the coronavirus-induced economic slump, as he sees it, is to go down.
Down into more debt, down into more deficit. The alternative - austerity, cost cutting - would lead to "misery" and even worse and more lasting economic pain, Mr Barr says.
To repair the economy, to save and create jobs and keep struggling industries afloat, his government has committed to pillaging its budget, at least temporarily.
The ACT budget figures revealed on Thursday might not contain the eye-wateringly bad numbers the Commonwealth and other states and territories are having to contend with, but they are - as Mr Barr notes - certainly not good.
The territory's deficit is forecast to eclipse $900 million in this financial year, as debt surges beyond $4.7 billion.
Had these numbers been put to Mr Barr prior to the pandemic, his eyes wouldn't have watered, they would have burnt. But these are the circumstances the ACT, and the nation, finds itself in. Such is 2020.
Mr Barr takes comfort from the fact that every Australian leader - Labor or Liberal - has, at the insistence of Reserve Bank governor Phillip Lowe, resolved to spend their respective states and territories out of economic ruin.
The best and quickest route back to prosperity is clear in the chief minister's mind.
But setting the course is the easy part. There are, as Mr Barr says, simply no "economic policy alternatives".
The far more challenging task will be actually navigating the route, successfully passing through the crisis and creating the jobs and economic activity in a post-pandemic world.
Two factors - one very much outside the government's control, the other very much within it - pose the greatest risk to a smooth rebuild.
The first is the pandemic itself, and the immense uncertainty surrounding it.
ACT Treasury officials have made more conservative assumptions about the virus than their Commonwealth counterparts, anticipating that social distancing rules won't be relaxed, and Australia's border will remain shut, until July next year.
The budget predicts the ACT's record deficit will slowly come down over the course of the next four years, indicating a degree of underlying confidence about the prospects for a strong economic rebuild.
But those hopes could be dashed, or set back significantly, if the ACT suffers another wave of infections or restrictions have to re-imposed or extended elsewhere. The ACT's reliance on GST revenue means it is vulnerable to economic shocks in other jurisdictions
Locked-down Melbourne might seem a world away from Canberra, but every million not spend in Victoria leaves the ACT worse off.
The second threat is posed by the Barr government itself, should it be returned on October 17.
Labor is hoping infrastructure spending can drive the economic recovery, with $4 billion of the $4.9 billion recovery package allocated to major projects.
The various projects are not new - they've been fixtures of the government's infrastructure agenda for some time. In the case of the Canberra Hospital upgrade, an entire election cycle.
Mr Barr says it is wise to stick with promised projects. Much of the arduous planning work has been done, meaning shovels can start hitting the soil sooner rater than later.
But these long-promised projects have only been factored into the pandemic rebuild because they haven't been delivered already.
The Master Builders Association of the ACT says it has grown sceptical of the government's budget announcements, saying it has repeatedly failed to deliver on infrastructure spending promise.
It has accused Mr Barr of making "hollow promises".
If the fate of the ACT's economic recovery rests on these projects, broken promises could spell disaster.
The Labor leader wants to fashion himself as "Barr the Builder" amid the once-in-a-century economic shock.
Can he be trusted to fix Canberra's virus-struck economy?