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Archive for October, 2007

Is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Right-Wing? (Globe Coverage Redux)

The Globe and Mail’s mini-budget coverage was such that, even after Marc’s thoughtful and thorough critique, a couple of important criticisms remain to be made. It identified Bruce Campbell as “executive director of the left-wing Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives” (page A5). In addition to several economists from banks and finance companies, it quoted representatives of […]

Still More on the Costs of the Corporate Tax Cut

I spoke to a senior Department of Finance official who tells me that the $6.1 Billion annual revenue loss number for 2012-13 when the rate moves to 15% is calculated relative to the already announced reduction in the rate to 18.5% in 2011-12, NOT relative to the current rate of 22%. To my mind this […]

The Globe’s terrible tax cut coverage

Today’s Globe features nothing but gushing praise for the Tory tax cuts, and complete antipathy towards obvious social spending measures that would actually improve people’s lives. This cave-in to the self-interested perspective of corporate Canada is really quite scary (I was going to say alarming or troubling, but hey, it’s Halloween). Those who favour tax […]

The Department of Finance, the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Dollar

It’s not often that you can detect even a nuance of difference between Finance and the Bank on key economic issues, but do I detect a hint of greater alarm on the part of the former over the recent super-rapid appreciation of the Canadian Dollar? In yesterday’s Economic Statement (Chapter 1, p.19) “If the Canadian […]

Costs of the Corporate Income Tax Cut Under-Stated

The Economic Statement announced a cut in the federal corporate income tax rate from 21% today (22.1% including the corporate surtax, which is being phased out), to 19.5% in 2008, to just 15% by 2012-13. The new 15% rate is well below the already announced reduction to 18.5% by 2011-12. The revenue cost in 2012-13 […]

Marc’s Notes on the Economic and Fiscal Update

The surprise Economic and Fiscal Update delivered today demonstrates how politically clever the Harper government is, and at the same time, how out of touch they are. At a time when there are major challenges facing the country, this update, as predicted, squanders the opportunity. Tax cuts will not build any affordable housing, they will […]

Andrew’s Revised Analysis of the Economic Update

The significance of this Economic Statement is political in much more than the narrow partisan sense of the word. It does set up the Conservatives nicely for an election (to the extent that the GST and Personal Income Tax cuts timed to be felt in  2008 resonate with the public.) More importantly, it implements a […]

Merrill CEO Has So-So Day

As reported in yesterday’s Globe ROB p.1, Merill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal seems set to be the fall guy for his firm losing Billions on asset-backed securities. That sounds like bad news for him. But news of his pending departure drove up Merrill shares, giving Mr O’Neal a paper gain of $16 Million on his […]

Building whose better Canada? EFU preview

Swelling federal surpluses provide a real opportunity for the federal government to get serious about the priorities of most Canadians: for aggressive climate change action, including major new public transportation projects; fighting poverty and homelessness in our cities, including big investments in non-market housing; in building a world-class early learning and pre-school system. This opportunity […]

Race and Earnings

Economists tend to be remarkably circumspect about racial discrimination in employment, and Statistics Canada is similarly loath to attribute differences in employment and earnings to racial status in other than the most nuanced way. Yet the evidence increasingly shows that racial discrimination is a matter of empirical fact in Canada, and not just a matter […]

Are federal liberals more progressive than conservatives?

A recent debate on strategic voting between Erin Weir and Matthew Bergbusch prompts me to wonder the extent to which liberals are more progressive than conservatives in the federal political arena. I think we can mostly agree that on social issues, such as gay or women’s rights, the liberals do stand on the left of […]

Economists call for BC carbon tax

A group of BC-based academic economists have joined together to call for a carbon tax in a letter to BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor. BC is taking suggestions towards a climate change action budget this February. I’m not holding my breath that a carbon tax is likely; from what I’m hearing out of Victoria this […]

Alberta’s Compromised Compromise on Royalties

Notwithstanding the usual doom and gloom from the oil industry and its cheerleaders, Premier Stelmach’s decision to increase oil and gas royalties by $1.4 billion in 2009 is an unduly timid move in the right direction.  The provincial NDP leader summed it up as follows: “The premier has compromised yet again a report that represented […]

Giving Mark Steyn His Due

CBC recently reported that Conrad Black was acquitted on most of the charges against him because a lone juror dug up critical evidence that his own lawyers did not present. This revelation seems to support Mark Steyn’s criticism of these lawyers.

The C. D. Howe Institute on TILMA

Yesterday, the C. D. Howe Institute released a Backgrounder supporting TILMA by Kathleen Macmillan and Patrick Grady. They make the most sensible case for the deal that I have read, but give short shrift to its pitfalls. They previously co-authored papers on internal trade and labour mobility for a federal conference that I attended. Days […]

Stopping TILMA in the Territories

It seems that, having failed to lure any other provinces into TILMA, the Premiers of Alberta and BC have turned their attention northward. Whereas the understanding was that Saskatchewan would need to sign the agreement before trying to negotiate any changes or exemptions, territorial officials have apparently been invited to begin such discussions without having […]

Kuttner on Greenspan and Financial Regulation

Thanks to Pierre Habbard of TUAC for this Quote: “His memoir also confirms Mr. Greenspan’s strong support for free markets and his deep antipathy to regulation. But I don’t see how you can have it both ways. If you are a complete believer in the proposition that free markets are self-regulating and self- correcting, then […]

Equal per capita CO2 emissions vs global population growth

George Monbiot’s book about climate change, Heat, recommends a scheme of global emission reductions based on the principle of equity. That is, every person on the planet should have an equal right to emit a certain amount of CO2 per year, with some long-term total emissions cap that keeps the planet from getting too hot. […]

Labour Market Regulation and Productivity

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/download/elm/elm07-4.pdf  A useful reference; a methodologically sophisticated attack on the core neo liberal belief that labour market regulation undermines efficiency. Why labour market regulation may pay off: Worker motivation, co-ordination and productivity growth by Servaas Storm & C.W.M. Naastepad ILO Economic and Labour Market Paper 2007/4 Abstract The impact of labour market regulation on labour […]

Harmonizing Sales Taxes: The Spending Power in Action

Three weeks ago, I wrote, “Budget 2007 used the federal spending power quite aggressively to pay provincial governments to eliminate their Corporate Capital Taxes. A similar use of the power will be needed if the Conservatives are serious about harmonizing provincial sales taxes with the GST.” The front page of Friday’s National Post reported, “The […]

BC greenhouse gas emission reductions

The BC government has gotten religion on climate change, and has committed to a 33% reduction from today’s greenhouse gas emission levels by 2020. Some of the details of how we are going to get there are now coming out, and a rolling series of announcements is expected through the Fall, leading up to a […]

Op Ed on Retail Profits from Today’s Globe

Greed, gouging and bad citizenship KEN GEORGETTI Special to Globe and Mail Update October 17, 2007 at 11:34 PM EDT What have Canadians gained from our loonie’s parity with the U.S. greenback? A more valuable currency should make the things we buy from other countries cheaper. But, over the past five years, as the value […]

Old Boys (UCC Blues Part 3)

Perhaps the strangest thing about my reunion was coming to grips with my own status as an Old Boy, albeit disconnected from the Old Boys network. Those connections were quite apparent during the reunion but the clique-iness I remember from my school days was not really present at all – as Old Boys at a […]

Canada-US Free Trade at 20

The October issue of Policy Options from IRPP is devoted to free trade at 20 – now that we are 20 years on from the signing of the FTA with the US.   http://www.irpp.org/po/index.htm With one modest exception, the articles are all written by pro free traders – including key architects of the deal like Derek […]

Vancouver Dreaming

I was asked to submit a dream statement for a conference this weekend called Dream Vancouver. Here is my contribution: My Vancouver dream is like those ones when you are there in your house and are doing stuff – but it is not really your house here on planet Earth. My Vancouver dream is a […]

First reaction on the Throne Speech

It is hard to imagine the federal government falling on the basis of this Throne Speech. We’ll have to see what kind of chest-thumping this generates among the Opposition parties, but I do not think any of them wants an election, and my first pass at the text says Harper blinked. Plus since Newfoundland and […]

Higher Education and the Gender Earnings Gap

A recent StatsCan research paper by Marc Frenette and Simon Coulombe “Has Higher Education Among Young Women Substantially Reduced the Gender Gap in Employment and Earnings?” (Analytical Research Paper Series. June, 2007) contains some rather startling data. http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/11F0019MIE/11F0019MIE2007301.htm The paper looks at employment and earnings for young men and women aged 25 to 29, in […]

Retail Profits, Inflation and the Bank of Canada

With core inflation running at 2.2%,  the Bank of Canada left interest rates unchanged today – despite the soaring Canadian dollar and its impacts on the struggling manufacturing sector, despite a slowing US economy, and despite tight credit market conditions. I think the Bank should have matched the recent half percentage point US rate cut […]

Association Day (UCC Blues Part 2)

I took the bus to Association Day, Upper Canada College’s annual “open house”, where the school teems with students, parents, Old Boys like me, and an striking number of blond teenage girls. Heading up Avenue Road, the clock tower looms up the hill (officially it is the Rogers clock tower, a donation from long ago […]

Flaherty’s Throne Speech Preview

Canadian Press reports that tomorrow’s throne speech will include more tax cuts and some effort to eliminate supposed inter-provincial barriers.  Since the Liberals agree with the Conservatives on both issues, they should not have much trouble letting the throne speech pass. More tax cuts, fewer trade barriers to come in throne speech: Finance Minister TORONTO […]