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The Progressive Economics Forum

Archive for September, 2008

Is Layton’s Tax Rate Competitive?

Stéphane Dion has branded Jack Layton an “old-style socialist” with a “job-killing” platform. The C. D. Howe Institute’s Finn Poschmann echoes this view, arguing that corporate tax cuts are needed to keep Canada internationally competitive. (The C. D. Howe Institute is financed and governed by corporate Canada.) Of course, corporate taxes are but one of […]

State of the US Economy

An excellent piece by Mark Weisbrot of CEPR, whose colleague Dean Baker called the collapse of the housign bubble ahead of everyone else. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/the-united-states-and-the-world:-where-are-we-headed/ The United States and the World: Where Are We Headed? By Mark Weisbrot This paper was presented at the Alexandre de Gusmão Foundation and the International Relations Research Institute’s (IPRI) “Seminar […]

Are Layton’s Numbers Too Rosy?

Some coverage has suggested that the NDP’s platform costing was based on excessively optimistic projections. The Globe and Mail reported, “Like the Liberals, the NDP is basing its fiscal plan on the Conservative government’s 2008 budget projected surpluses, which are more than six months old and are widely believed to be too rosy in light […]

Real Economy Roots of the Crisis

I’m pasting in below a listserv note from Frank Hoffer with the Bureau of Workers Activities at the International Labour Organization, followed by a piece from Walden Bello. In these days of fianncial meltdown I do think we need to remind ourselves that this crisis is indeed rooted in the fact that “financialization” temporarily bridged […]

Timing is Everything

More than anything else, BC’s carbon tax is the victim of bad timing. Here’s the average gas price in Vancouver over the past year, according to the BC Gas Buddy: Note that the BC Budget, which announced the carbon tax, was tabled on February 19, and the tax was implemented on July 1. In that […]

Plunging Stock Markets and Canadian Pensions

I calculate that Canadian trusteed pension plans have probably lost about $50 Billion since the end of March due to falling share prices. RRSPs are probably down about  $30 Billion. As of March 31st 2008 (most recent data) 4.6 million Canadians belonged to trusteed pension plans, and 5.8 million belonged to employer pension plans of […]

The Financial Crisis and Pensions

A  good op ed from the New York Times. I wonder why we are not discussing this issue here – the stock market meltdown combined with the growing difficulties of the real economy are going to have huge impacts on pension fund balances. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/opinion/27ghilarducci.html?_r=2&ref=opinion&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin Op-Ed Contributor Save Pensions By TERESA GHILARDUCCI THE meltdown in the […]

Layton, Corporate Tax Cuts and Economic Efficiency

With many economic pundits attacking Jack Layton’s proposed freeze on the corporate income tax rate at 2007 levels,  it is worth noting that Layton has also proposed to extend the accelerated (two year) capital cost allowance on new investment in machinery and equipment. This latter measure is supported  by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, who […]

Bail-out to where?

The 110 page U.S. Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is certainly better than Paulson’s original 3 page proposal, but it falls so far short of what is needed that I wonder whether it will do more harm than good.   Despite its growth in size, it is still little more than a bail-out-come-swap financing deal for […]

How Can Readers Take Simpson Seriously?

Jeffrey Simpson dismisses Jack Layton in today’s Globe and Mail, “How can voters take the NDP seriously? ” The first substantive critique appears about halfway through the column: “the NDP has not provided any costing for their platform.” As has been widely reported yesterday and today, the NDP is releasing its costed platform tomorrow. Since the platform […]

Canada’s Manufacturing Crisis in International Perspective

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released a comparison of manufacturing output, employment, productivity, and unit labour costs in 16 different industrialized countries.  Here’s the link: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/prod4.pdf This data confirms that Canada’s manufacturing industry is in the midst of a uniquely terrible crisis.  Some commentators have suggested that the sharp decline in Canadian […]

ABC by the Numbers

Polls and elections go together like right-wingers and tax cuts, but this election campaign seems to be particularly poll-obsessed. The media’s coverage has been weak on issues with excessive attention on the horse race among the main parties. In those polls what is most striking to me is how little has changed since the 2006 […]

Saving the Financial System

More clear headed analysis of the choices from Tom Palley http://www.thomaspalley.com/ Saving the Financial System Copyright Thomas I. Palley A friend told me the economist Charles Kindelberger had two rules for a credit economy. Rule one was everybody should know that if they get over-extended they will not be bailed-out. Rule two was if everybody […]

Galbraith Prize Endowment Campaign Reaches Target

I am thrilled to report that the Progressive Economics Forum has met our $50,000 fund-raising goal for an endowment fund to support the Galbraith Prize in Economics and Social Justice in perpetuity.   Thank you very much to those who helped out with this project.  A special thank you to Kevin Young who helped a lot […]

A Bad Bank Rescue

Here’s an interesting critique of the Fed – Treasury proposal, an op ed from the Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/20/AR2008092001059.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

The Liquidation Trap

This piece by Tom Palley is interesting and a bit of a counter point to some other posts on this blog . He stresses the danger of populist opposition to “bailing out the bankers.” Tom’s blog is at: http://www.thomaspalley.com/?p=130 The Liquidation Trap The U.S. financial system is caught in a destructive liquidation trap that has […]

Inequality Kills

Population health researchers, most famously and consistently Richard Wilkinson,  have long drawn attention to the fact that the link between social class and health status is a gradient, such that an individual’s position in the class hierarchy is directly and causally linked to that person’s health status. It is not just that low income people […]

The Financial Crisis

Duncan Cameron has an excellent – and disturbing – column on the still deepening financial crisis in rabble: http://www.rabble.ca/politics.shtml?sh_itm=14e122ab36db1c78ce34a64c243af494&rXn=1&

Economic Questions for Conservatives

As the debacle on Wall Street continues to unfold, how will it all affect the election up here?  So far, Harper’s team is not “wearing” the uncertainty and insecurity that people feel regarding the economy, to nearly the extent that they should.  I think that partly reflects the lack of concerted attack on economic issues […]

Dr. Evil and the Gajillion Dollar Bailout

A salvo from Armine Yalnizyan on the bailout: GAJILLION DOLLAR BAILOUTS: FIVE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT By Armine Yalnizyan, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives As the US government continues to figure out just how much it will take to bail out financial markets, up to the tune of $1 trillion dollars, the sound of Dr. […]

The Affluent Society

Since Galbraith has appeared in two recent posts, a timely salvo came to me from Christopher Nowlin: I happen to think that Galbraith’s 1958 classic, The Affluent Society, speaks more loudly to today’s social, economic, political and environmental troubles in North America than it did to post WWII America’s.  I even gave a public talk to this […]

The Harper Record

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) have just posted to their web site a fine and timely book, edited by Teresa Healy. http://www.policyalternatives.ca/Reports/2008/09/ReportsStudies1960/index.cfm?pa=BB736455 The book consists of about 40 chapters dissecting the two and one half year record of the Conservative government across a wide range of issues – from jobs and the economy, to […]

The Wage-Price Squeeze

In August 2008, ordinary Canadians were squeezed by rising annual inflation and slowing annual wage growth. The decline in consumer prices from July to August 2008 (-0.2%) was smaller than the normal seasonal decline in prices between these months. (On a seasonally-adjusted basis, Statistics Canada estimates that consumer prices rose 0.2%.) Compared to last month, the […]

Kari Levitt’s JKG Lecture

Back in June, we co-awarded the first John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics to Kari Levitt and Mel Watkins. Unfortunately, there was a snag with the transcription of Kari’s lecture and she had to recreate it. We now have the text and have posted it below. So congrats once again to both Kari and Mel […]

Costing the Liberal Platform

The Liberals released a “costed” platform today. http://www.liberal.ca/platform_e.aspx There’s a lot to like here in terms of the Liberal Party’s programmatic commitments to child care , support for manufacturing investment, green job creation, public health care, student aid, basic infrastructure, dealing with poverty, and so on – but I stand by my earlier argument that […]

Notes on a Meltdown

I wrote this article for The Tyee, looking at the US financial crisis with a view towards the Great White North. Their version has much nicer formatting and a funny cartoon. Update: Check out this week’s This Modern World. US Meltdown Puts Heat on Canada By Marc Lee Watching the turmoil in financial markets this […]

Bailing Out Financial Capitalism

Here’s a statement from the Secretariat of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) http://www.tuac.org/en/public/e-docs/00/00/03/13/document_news.phtml The dramatic events on the US and global financial markets in the past days – the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the takeover of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America and not least, the government bailing out of AIG, […]

A Canada – European Union Trade Deal?

The Globe and Mail is carrying a report today on a possible Canada-EU trade deal, suggesting that negotiations will be launched shortly after the election. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080918.wtrade18/BNStory/International/home Described as a negotiation of deep economic integration, “the proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in […]

Time for a New Deal

I’m afrtaid you are going to have to pay for it, but this is an excellent review – from the current issue of the New York Review of Books – of what loooks to be an excellent book on the state of the American working class. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=21798 Time for a New Deal By Jeff Madrick […]

Stephen Harper’s Uniquely Bad Productivity Record

We all know the Conservatives are the “rational economic managers,” right?  After all, their tax cuts, free trade agreements, and tough-love social policy are all motivated by the need to free the entrepreneurial beast within us, and allow us to pursue our natural proclivity to truck and trade with wild abandon.  The productivity of the […]