Main menu:

Posts by Author

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

Progressive Bloggers

Meta

Recent Blog Posts

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Archive for September, 2007

Stiglitz on Klein

From Joseph Stiglitz’s NYT review of The Shock Doctrine: Klein is not an academic and cannot be judged as one. There are many places in her book where she oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed […]

Federal surplus: the fine print

At budget time this year, Stephen Harper delivered a Paul Martin budget, with more spending than tax cuts. With the release of the Annual Financial Report and Fiscal Reference Tables for 2006/07, we see even more of old blue eyes. Back when this budget was tabled, the projected surplus (mostly earmarked for debt reduction) was […]

Homelessness and health in Toronto

A dispatch from Nick Falvo, the winner of the undergraduate prize in the 2007 PEF essay contest. Nick works for Street Health in Toronto, and speaks to a newly released report: In 1992, Street Health conducted a groundbreaking research study on homeless people’s health and access to health care. The updated 2007 study finds that […]

The Tax Back Guarantee in Action

As usual, the federal surplus has come in far larger than forecast: $14 billion for 2006/07. As legislated through the Tax Back Guarantee, all of the interest savings from this debt repayment will finance personal income tax cuts. Therefore, the 2006/07 surplus will reduce income taxes by $0.7 billion annually. This tax cut will barely put […]

Low-Income Households Missing Alberta’s Boom

  Canadian Policy Research Networks have put out what looks like an interesting study. Their blurb follows. The study is at http://www.cprn.org/doc.cfm?doc=1757&l=en  Alberta is Canada’s hottest economy. Many Canadians are moving to Alberta drawn by its insatiable demand for skilled workers and professionals. Workers in Low-Income Households in Alberta, prepared for the Alberta Ministry of […]

The Strange Economics of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

I and David Green from UBC have commented on this topic before. A key question is why we have a program to bring in temporary  workers at the prevailing wage, rather than let rising real wages signal job opportuntities and appropriate adjustments in the job market. Bringing in so-called unskilled temporary workers is of concern […]

BC municipalities reject TILMA

This week in Vancouver, the annual meetings of the Union of BC Municipalities are talking TILMA. The BC government signed the deal without consulting municipalities, and it is now in effect. Over the next two years, however, municipalities have an opportunity to seek exemptions from the agreement, although their appeals would go to Economic Development […]

More on the Olympics and poverty in Vancouver

My office window looks out over Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, an area notorious for being Canada’s poorest postal code. Back when Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Olympics, we pointed out that the world’s media would be stationed just ten minutes walk away from truly abject poverty, and when the cameras started rolling, it may not be […]

Robert Brenner on the Roots of the Current Crisis

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2177006,00.html An interesting column – roots of the crisis are seen to lie in the continual injections of financial liquidity required to keep growth going in a global economy with a serious underlying deflationary bias, the result of excess capacity in manufacturing. “Merely cutting the cost of borrowing will do little to remedy the long-term […]

The NEB Keystone Pipeline Decision – Critical Analysis from CEP

September 25, 2007 – The NEB decision: 17 jobs in hand and 18,000 in the bush Wed, 09/26/2007 – 09:40 — Fred Wilson   (Full post can be found at http://blogs.cep.ca/en/node/53  Readers of this column have by now seen the reports of the National Energy Board decision to approve the Keystone pipeline. CEP has received […]

Stelmach Speaks to the Empire Club

Yesterday, the Premier of Alberta addressed the Empire Club in Toronto. He said some encouraging things about Our Fair Share: “We will get a fair economic rent on the development of our resources. In fact we have recently received the recommendations of the Royalty Review Panel that I established as one of my first acts […]

Exports and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

Today, Statistics Canada released a very interesting study on the economic demand that is driving greenhouse-gas emissions. Between 1990 and 2002, exports outstripped Canadians’ personal expenditure as the leading source of Canada’s industrial emissions. Indeed, exports accounted for essentially all of the increase in these emissions. Canadian Industrial Emissions (in megatons) Final-Demand Category 1990 2002 […]

Sightline: Climate pricing 101

The Seattle-based Sightline Institute offers this tidy and accessible overview of carbon taxes versus cap-and-trade (in two flavours), with some scoring as to who supports what. Canada’s New Harperment supports none of the options below, and Harper has been on the international stage telling everyone else to be “flexible”. Climate Pricing 101 A primer on […]

Canadian Manufacturing, Global Supply Chains and National Regulation

I spent the morning at Industry Canada’s global supply chains conference. The general tenor of the opening plenaries was as expected – Canadian corporations should slice and dice their supply chains asap to take advantage of lower costs (especially labour costs) in relation to productivity and quality if they are to survive. In a phrase, […]

Carbon tax shifting

Statements like this drive me nuts. This quote is from an otherwise excellent article in The Tyee by Matt Price of Environmental Defence, speculating on the meat for the climate change action bones, expected from BC Premier Gordon Campbell later this week. Price falls into the same simplistic trap a lot of environmentalists get stuck […]

More TILMA leaps of logic

The Canada West Foundation today released an economic profile and forecast for BC. Most of the report is numbers-based, and it looks at a wide variety of topic areas. But in the conclusion is this chestnut: Public policy developments such as the implementation of the BC-Alberta Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) will also […]

Another Call for Lower Rates

In the online edition of today’s Toronto Star, Arthur Donner and Doug Peters have joined the labour movement and the National Bank in calling for the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates.

What campaigns for trade deals are made of

An interesting memo just cropped up from Costa Rica in the midst of the debate about the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), one of the latest installements in the string of plans to free trade and capital flows in the Americas. This memo came from the YES campaign and advocated interesting strategies, such as […]

Raising Alberta’s Royalties

Last week, the Royalty Review Panel recommended that Alberta raise its oil and gas royalties. Its 100-page final report, Our Fair Share, has generated healthy debate on a critically important subject. The basic message follows: Albertans do not receive their fair share from energy development and they have not, in fact, been receiving their fair […]

The Exploding Canadian Income Gap

Statistics Canada today released an excellent study of  high incomes and inequality –  http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/070924/d070924a.htm Thanks to Michael Wolfson, Brian Murphy and Paul Roberts for getting this powerful data out into the light of day. No big surprises here – the top end grabs a disproportionate share of all income, and their share has been growing […]

Canada-US Tax Treaty

On Friday, the Finance Minister and the Treasury Secretary signed the Fifth Protocol of the Canada-US Income Tax Convention. The Canadian government lined up several business organizations in advance to provide endorsements, which have dominated the media coverage. One of these organizations, the C. D. Howe Institute, made the case for the amended treaty through […]

Chinese toys redux

I overheard on the radio that Mattel has made an apology to the Chinese government for its recall of numerous products – a huge symbol of just how mighty China is. At the time of recall mania there was a lot of China-bashing for its lax regulatory oversight (not so much what it meant for […]

The CLC’s Tax Briefs

The Financial Post has picked up on my response to the C. D. Howe Institute’s Tax Competitiveness Report and corporate-tax brief to the House of Commons Finance Committee.  The Canadian Labour Congress submitted this brief, and one by Andrew on personal income taxes, in August before the prorogation of Parliament delayed the committee process.

The Soaring Canadian Dollar and Retailer Profit Margins

On closer examination, there does seem to be statistical support for the view that the higher exchange rate is having more of an impact on retailer profits than on consumer prices. Data from the Financial Statistics for Enterprises survey show that operating profits in the trade sector (wholesale and retail trade combined) have jumped from […]

A Black Day for Canada

Further to my companion post (on the Commodity Price-Exchange Rate Transmission Mechanism), here is an op-ed from Buzz Hargrove that appeared in today’s National Post, responding to yesterday’s parity event. It reflects some of the arguments I made in the companion post about why, exactly, higher commodity prices drive our loonie higher.  The policy implications […]

The Commodity Price-Exchange Rate Transmission Mechanism

Well, it happened. The petro-fueled loonie broke parity with the greenback yesterday, and is headed higher still. I can’t believe that so many people still interpret this as a symbol of our national renaissance.  In fact, the reverse is true.  The dollar’s flight both reflects, and simultaneously reinforces (in fine Kaldorian fashion) our regression into […]

The history of the Conference Board’s TILMA report

Keith Reynolds, a researcher with CUPE-BC, has been following the BC government’s transactions with the Conference Board through access to information requests. Below is his summary of how this deal went down: Conference Board contract on TILMA I put the following notes together from about eight FOI requests over the last eight months and thought […]

Voodoo Economics at the C. D. Howe Institute

In successfully seeking the 1980 Republican nomination for President, Ronald Reagan embraced the Laffer Curve theory that tax cuts would increase tax revenues. At the time, rival candidate George Bush Sr. derided this notion as “Voodoo economics” and it has been since been discredited many times. Jack Mintz struggles to revive the theory in today’s […]

Cut Interest Rates

The Canadian Labour Congress sent the following letter to the Bank of Canada today. September 20, 2007 David A. Dodge Governor Bank of Canada 234 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G9 Dear Governor Dodge: I write to urge you to reduce interest rates by 0.5% on October 16th to match the recent US rate cut. […]

The Rising Dollar and Canadian Inflation

There’s a piece by Heather Scoffield in today’s Globe on the issue of the impact of exchange rate appreciation on consumer prices. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070920.wdollar20/BNStory/Front TD Bank argues that only a modest portion of the fall in import prices is being passed on, while Philip Cross from Statscan argues there is a much tighter link. On the […]