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The Progressive Economics Forum

Archive for December, 2007

CCCE Profits vs. Employment

January 2 will be the 20th anniversary of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement’s signing. (Of course, the deal did not come into force until January 1, 1989, after the 1988 federal election.) The leading lobby for this deal was the Business Council on National Issues, which has since been renamed the Canadian Council of Chief […]

John Edwards: The Great Left Hope for 2008

Edwards is the most left-wing, pro-labour candidate among the Democratic front-runners. He has been speaking truth to power in a way that is rare in Canadian politics, let alone American politics. Can he win the nomination? Since Clinton is still well ahead in nationwide polls, much will depend on whether Edwards can gain momentum by […]

The “Gift” that Gives

The Globe has chosen Don Johnson “Nation Builder of the Year” for his long campaign to waive capital gains tax on charitable contributions of shares.   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071220.wnationwattcloutier28/BNStory/National/home   This has, reportedly, resulted in a flood of donations by Canada’s most wealthy families to deserving, and not so deserving, charities. Many of us would count gifts […]

Is Big City Real Estate Overpriced?

The current issue of Maclean’s features a typically provocative cover on “Real Estate 2008.” The “Buy? Sell? Panic?” headline caught my attention because I am currently selling a place in Ottawa and moving to Toronto. The story inside Maclean’s is far more soothing, suggesting that there is no risk of a real estate crash in […]

Mounting costs of climate change

PM Harper likes to say that it will be costly to fight climate change, but he conveniently ignores the costs that climate change itself is reaping (or has the potential to reap). A year-end report from Environment Canada points at some of the current financial costs associated with climate change. The top story is the […]

David Orchard and Dion-omics

Earlier today, the Prime Minister announced that four by-elections will be held on March 17. Earlier this week, a most fascinating controversy emerged in one of the affected ridings: Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River (northern Saskatchewan). David Orchard, the Saskatchewan-based activist whose grassroots organization helped Dion win the Liberal leadership, has declared his candidacy for the Liberal nomination. […]

Krugman on the Democratic Primaries

The following Paul Krugman column confirms my general thoughts about American politics: At one extreme, Barack Obama insists that the problem with America is that our politics are so “bitter and partisan,” and insists that he can get things done by ushering in a “different kind of politics.” At the opposite extreme, John Edwards blames […]

US Income Inequality Just Got Even Worse

Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute on just released US data which show a rather starting further increase in US income inequality – apparently the top 1% of families there now get 19% of all after tax income and average over $1 Million apiece. Looks like a blog to monitor, for those who want […]

Where is Finance Minister Flaherty?

Where is Finance Minister Flaherty? by Doug Peters and Arthur Donner. (from today’s Toronto Star)   (Doug Peters is the former Chief Economist of The Toronto-Dominion Bank and was Secretary of State (Finance) from 1993 to 1997. Arthur Donner, a Toronto economic consultant, began his career as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of […]

“Junkyard Jack”

An open letter to Susan Riley (Ottawa Citizen) Dear Susan I always enjoy your columns, but feel compelled to modestly take issue with yesterday’s highly critical piece on Layton and the NDP. http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/columnists/story.html?id=380c76cc-f1cc-4aa8-84d7-4aadebd0ec1f   Yes, Layton is sometimes unduly macho combative and, yes, the frequent attacks on the Liberals do sometimes grate, especially if they […]

Call for Nominations: John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics

Progressive Economics Forum members are invited to nominate individuals for the first John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics. The Prize will be awarded at the June 2008 Canadian Economics Association meetings and will be accompanied by a keynote lecture by the winner. Nominations will close January 31, 2008. Please send your nominations to PEF Chair, […]

Core Inflation Drops Again

Today’s Consumer Price Index numbers indicate that, while gasoline prices and mortgage-interest costs edged-up overall inflation in November, core inflation declined again. When it fell last month, some commentators responded that “one month does not make a trend.” However, as Statistics Canada itself noted, a fairly clear trend has emerged: However, the Bank of Canada’s […]

Is the US in a Recession?

Six leading US economists take on this question in the NYT, and it doesn’t sound good:   http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/opinion/16recession.html

Canada-US border delays

“It is often harder to move goods and services across provincial boundaries than across our international borders” October 2007 Speech from the Throne As if Erin Weir and I have not already beat this one into submission, another reminder from today’s Globe and Mail that is it NOT easier to trade across the Canada-US border. […]

Taxing the Rich

Niels Veldhuis of the Fraser Institute takes me to task today in a Letter to the Editor in response to the story, ‘Tax the rich more in Canada, study urges” (Nanaimo Daily News, Dec. 12). He claims that “the story focusing on the report by Canadian Labour Congress economist Andrew Jackson is seriously misleading… the […]

What to Do About Sovereign Wealth Funds? Private Equity?

I’m not one of those who are inclined to see sovereign wealth funds as especially dangerous creatures, especially if the alternative is private transnational corporations. I’d like Canada to have more funds of our own, on the model of the Norwegian oil fund, though we do have one large one in the form of the […]

Corporate Taxes: The International Race to the Bottom

A nice commentary by Kristian Weis in the OECD Observer http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/printpage.php/aid/2229/Corporate_tax_warning.html

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Early this morning I finished The Road and cannot resist a plug. A friend of mine who shares a concern for the end of humanity brought it to my attention. I picked up a copy intending to read it over the holidays, but before I knew it I was 50 pages in and could not […]

The Dollar and the Manufacturing Jobs Crisis

Jim Stanford and I appeared before the Industry Committee yesterday to speak to the impacts of the high dollar, particularly on manufacturing. Chaired by James Rajotte, the Committee has done some good work on manufacturing and  has worked in a relatively constructive and not totally partisan way to develop some useful reports and recommendations. Their […]

A good week for justice

If only the news could be this good every week: Serial killer Robert Pickton gets 25 years. Disgraced tycoon Conrad Black gets 6.5 years. Former President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, gets six years for abuse of power (with more charges pending). Karlheinz Shreiber tells of dirty dealings with the Mulroney government. The Mayor of Ottawa […]

Taxing the Rich

CanWest ran a good summary of my study for the CCPA, “Why Charity Isn’t Enough: The Case for Raising Taxes on Canada’s Rich” released today.  (pasted in below) Adding to Marc Lee’s recent work on tax incidence, my piece documents  the fact that recent changes to personal income taxes in Canada have compounded rather than […]

Poverty, Once Again

I’ve posted below a link to a column in the Guardian by Polly Toynbee re the child poverty target in the UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2225566,00.html If you follow the comments below her column, it is striking how the response from the right precisely matches the recent discourse in Canada and comes with the same manifest untruths (eg […]

For Very Hard Core Richard Freeman Fans

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgNCFsXGUa0 Freeman is the US’s leading liberal/left moderately pro union labour economist – best known for his book What Do Unions Do? and for a sustained critical engagement with the deregulated labour market model.  Here’s an hour long interview on You Tube, as progecon goes multi media!

Who bears responsiblity for climate change?

Canada’s Environment Minister, John Baird, is in Bali doing his best to undermine any progress towards a new pact on climate change. One of his arguments is that everyone needs to be on board, especially the US and China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. However, it is worth thinking about who is responsible […]

Bank of the South

From the Latin Americanist: Bank of the South launched Representatives of seven South American countries met on Sunday to formally launch the Bank of the South- a new regional development bank. In a ceremony in Buenos Aires, the bank was established with an initial capital of $7 billion and with the goal of acting as […]

Dark Lord sentenced to Azkaban

What I find so remarkable about Conrad Black’s sentencing to six-and-a-half years in the big house is that none of it needed to happen. Black essentially fell victim to his own hubris: he had a fortune in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and could easily have paid himself for the lavish lifestyle he and […]

Adam Smith did not wear an Adam Smith tie

A theme I’ve posted on many times before but perhaps worth repeating once again, thanks to this post: How Laissez Faire was Adam Smith?Greg Whiteside writes in The Condo Metropolis Blog (7 December) here: “ADAM SMITH MUST BE ROLLING OVER IN HIS GRAVE RIGHT NOW” “Arguably the father of modern economics, Adam Smith was a […]

Sinclair on Binding Enforcement

Last week, Scott Sinclair released an excellent briefing paper on efforts to attach $5-million penalties to the existing Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). The debate about interprovincial barriers has become a four-ring circus: TILMA, the Ontario-Quebec negotiations, proposals to amend the AIT, and federal threats to invoke the trade and commerce power. In all of […]

Former Blair minister on why two-tier HC is a bad idea

Just came across this interesting article relating comments by Frank Dobson, former UK health minister under Blair, on the plan by BC liberals to bring in the private sector in health care. Essentially, he thinks it was a fairly bad idea for Britain and advises BC not to go ahead. The following well represents his […]

Moving to the United Steelworkers = CLC Job Opportunity

I have accepted a position in the United Steelworkers’ public policy department and will begin working at its Toronto office in February 2008. The Steelworkers are the largest industrial union in North America and one of the two largest industrial unions in Canada. (Jim works for the other one.) The Steelworkers strongly support the NDP and are […]