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Archive for July, 2007

Michael Moore, the CMA and directions for Canadian health care

I just watched Sicko for the second time last night. The catastrophe that is US health care is a clear demonstration that universal, public health insurance works a whole lot better that a system based on for-profit private insurance companies. So, I was thinking about the Canadian system in comparison with Europe, and wondering why […]

Working People Deserve More Paid Vacation

http://canadianlabour.ca/updir/Working_People_Deserve_More_Paid_Vacation.pdf Here’s the link to a mini study on statutory rights to paid vacation timey just posted to the CLC web site – we fall well short of European standards and there is a surprising amount of variation in Canada.

Mortgage interest deductibility

Given the odd rumbling in Ottawa that the feds might make mortgage interest deductible from income tax, this article from the New York Times provides some interesting background on the origins of this deduction in the US, the impacts it has had, and the current state of play. The full article is rather lengthy; this […]

Housing the homeless before the 2010 Olympics

If our governments cannot get their heads out of the sand and start building some housing for those who desperately need it, we can expect more negative images of BC and Vancouver. As captured by The Washington Post: When the Winter Olympics open in Vancouver, visitors will find one of the most alluring cities in […]

Mark Steyn on Conrad Black

I did not follow the Conrad Black trial, but enjoyed reading Mark Steyn’s mammoth post mortem. In contrast to Marc Lee’s excellent commentary on this blog, Mark Steyn is a die-hard supporter of Black. The post mortem’s main argument is that Black’s legal team did an extremely poor job. In one sense, blaming the lawyers […]

Adam Smith the anti-corporate activist

Thanks for Harper’s for reminding us what the grandfather of economics thought about groups like the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade, the Recording Industry Association of America, PhARMA and all of the other thousands that are part of the “business industry”: The proposal of any new law […]

Chavez and the Venezuelan Economy

New CEPR Paper Looks At Venezuela’s Economy During the Chávez Years For Immediate Release: July 26, 2007 Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-293-5380 x104 Washington, DC: A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research looks at the Venezuelan economy during the last eight years and finds that it does not fit the mold of […]

Homelessness prevention

The August issue of the Journal of Primary Prevention is dedicated to articles on homelessness, addictions and mental illness. It has a US focus but many of the problems will be familiar to Canadians, too. A guest editorial (pdf) kicks off the issue by scoping out the problem, with a good summary of studies on […]

A Profile of Very High Income Earners in the US

The US National Bureau of Economic Research have just published a fascinating dissection of top income earners, the ones we know have grabbed a rapidly escalating share of all income. This study provides a wealth of detail on the incomes of those we would suspect to be in the top 0.1% or higher (in 2004 […]

US Democratic Debate: Observations of an Uninformed Canadian

I watched most of last night’s debate among Democratic Party presidential candidates and vaguely got wind today of Clinton panning Obama’s indication that he would meet with the presidents of Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. What struck me was that all the candidates who answered this question seemed to accept the lumping together of […]

Spill-overs from Loss of Good Jobs

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=978399 A new NBER Working Paper from Beadry, Green and Sand of UBC looks interesting.. Spill-Overs from Good Jobs PAUL BEAUDRY University of British Columbia – Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) DAVID A. GREEN University of British Columbia – Department of Economics BENJAMIN SAND University of British Columbia – Department of […]

The Manufacturing Crisis and Greater Toronto

It is notable that TD Economics is much more concerned about the scale and impacts of the manufacturing crisis than colleagues like Jeff Rubin at CIBC – not to mention Steve Poloz of Export Development Canada. TD’s recent report on the state of the Toronto economy http://www.td.com/economics/special/db0707_gta.pdf notes that 100,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost […]

Foreign ownership in the resource sector

A centrepiece of Canada’s industrial policy is attracting foreign investment. This seems to me a lack of imagination on the part of our elites; rather than develop genuine industrial stategies, so much the better to just let foreign capital come and create the jobs for us. And in the resource sector, the flipside of investment […]

More on the strange economics of temporary foreign workers

The Alberta Federation of Labour reports that more people now coming into province as temporary workers than traditional immigrants. From their press release: Alberta has become the first province in Canadian history to bring more people into its jurisdiction under the temporary foreign worker program than through Canada’s mainline immigration system. According to new figures […]

Why is Harper privatizing federal office towers?

Public Service Alliance of Canada President John Gordon wonders what the feds are up to by selling buildings they own so that they can become tenants. This policy sounds a lot like P3s, where new infrastructure is built, owned and run by the private sector, who act as a landlord to the government using the […]

1H2007 CPI inflation

Further to Erin’s post on the odd fluctuations in the monthly inflation rate, a better approach is to look at year-to-date averages in order to smooth out these monthly fluctuations. For the first six months of 2007, the average CPI was 111.05, and for the first six months of 2006, 108.87. This works out to […]

No Increase in Consumer Prices

A month ago, I noted that if the Core Consumer Price Index remained unchanged from May to June 2007, the annual core-inflation rate would jump to 2.5% because this Index had fallen from May to June 2006. Today’s release from Statistics Canada reveals that this is exactly what happened. Since the monthly Index remained constant […]

Fighting Poverty Through Municipal Wage Ordinances

Progressive municipal governments in Canada should consider developing and implementing wage ordinances to boost campaigns for higher statutory minimum wages, and to help the working poor. More than 130 municipal living wage ordinances have been passed in the US since 1994, including in many big cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Los […]

Taxes and Business Costs

As noted yesterday, Canadian advocates of corporate-tax cuts have proliferated alternative measures of corporate taxes. The C. D. Howe Institute’s “Tax Competitiveness Program,” which largely consists of papers by Jack Mintz and Duanjie Chen, has focused almost exclusively on marginal effective tax rates (METRs) on capital, expressed as percentages of pre-tax rates of return. There […]

Alberta, interest rates and RPE’s soft power

It is worth filing under the “you heard it here first” heading that both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star have taken editorial positions similar to those proffered by Relentlessly Progressive Economics. That is, the Bank of Canada is raising interest rates because of what is happening in Alberta, and in doing so […]

Profits and Investment in Alberta

In recent years, about one-quarter of Canada’s corporate profits and business investment have been in Alberta.  The following figures are from Statistics Canada’s Provincial Economic Accounts. As corporate profits have ballooned in Alberta, business investment has not increased as a share of the province’s economy. More than half of this investment has been in non-residential […]

Nova Scotia and TILMA

Public hearings proved to be an effective defence against TILMA in Saskatchewan. The following editorial from yesterday’s Halifax ChronicleHerald appropriately concludes, “Nova Scotia should hold public hearings, just like Saskatchewan, if it is toying with joining TILMA or a regional version thereof.” Published: 2007-07-16 Talking trade WHEN corporate Canada thinks of TILMA, it pictures a […]

The Super-Rich and The New Gilded Age

The New York Times has an interesting piece on the New Gilded Age, with many a multi-millionaire interviewed. Below is a rather unbalanced clipping of some of the more interesting (and progressive) parts of the article: “I don’t see a relationship between the extremes of income now and the performance of the economy,” Paul A. […]

International Corporate Tax Rates

Canada’s corporate-income-tax rates are fairly low compared to other G-7 countries. Advocates of further Canadian corporate-tax cuts have responded to this reality in two ways. First, they promote alternative measures indicating that corporate taxes are higher in Canada than elsewhere. Second, they compare Canada to a much broader range of countries. In the latter vein, The […]

Almost One in Ten Canadians Experience Food Insecurity

Some sobering data from the Canadian Community Health Survey http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/income_food_sec-sec_alim_e.html#lex It is recognized that “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” (Food and Agriculture Organization 1996).  This report […]

Foreign Ownership DOES Matter

I’ve pasted in below a letter to Ministers Bernier and Flaherty re the just-announced review of the Foreign Investment Act and foreign take-overs of large Canadian corporations. Links to the two research studies cited in the letter showing that foreign ownership of large internationally-oriented corporations does matter in terms of impacts on the Canadian economy […]

Dark Lord sent to Azkaban

Guilty. The trial is over, or at least this lengthy phase is. The Globe has a good summary of why he was found guilty (see The Independent, too), and an insider look at how the jury made its decision. Below is a (lengthy) retrospective based on various post-trial commentary and analysis in the media, with […]

Taxing capital gains

Asks Paul Krugman: [S]hould we even be giving preferential tax treatment to true capital gains? I’d say no, because there’s very little evidence that taxing capital gains as ordinary income would actually hurt the economy. Meanwhile, the low tax rate on capital gains is one main reason the truly rich often pay lower tax rates […]

Do tax cuts pay for themselves? The evidence from BC

Back in the 2001 BC election, the Liberals repeatedly made the voodoo economics claim that “tax cuts pay for themselves” as a means of heading off concerns that their tax cuts would inevitably lead to spending cuts. The Liberals won in a landslide, implemented a 25% across-the-board personal income tax cut and dramatically cut corporate […]

Stopping TILMA on the East Coast

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies has been calling for the Atlantic provinces to join TILMA. Yesterday, I discussed this proposal with the Halifax ChronicleHerald’s editorial board. The following report was printed in today’s edition. Also yesterday, the CCPA posted a paper based on my submission to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on the […]