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Archive for January, 2009

Gender analysis of Budget 2009

From Kathleen Lahey, a Law professor at Queen’s University: Budget  2009: Designed to Leave Women Behind  – Again The big picture:    Women make up slightly more than half the population of Canada, and are directly responsible for caring for the majority of minor children in the country on a day to day basis. The expectation:    […]

Federal Budget Analysis and Issue Sheets

CUPE has a set of eleven a dozen really good issue sheets on-line with analysis on different topics about what was in the 2009 Federal Budget, what wasn’t in it, what it means, and what would have been better choices. The topics include: Employment Insurance, Municipal Infrastructure, Privatization, Pensions, the Environment, Aboriginal Issues, Post-secondary Education, Health […]

November Plummet

Figures released by Statistics Canada this morning reveal that Canada’s real GDP dropped by 0.7% in November 2008, its largest monthly decline since a 1.0% drop because of the August 2003 power outage. With the exception of that unique event, November’s decline was the largest since at least February 1997, the oldest month for which […]

The Predator State — More Progressives Who Saw True and Through

PEF people are not the only ones who correctly anticipated some of our recent economic and fiscal events.  Jamie Galbraith also saw a lot of this coming in his book The Predator State. With no further ado, I’m posting an enthusiastic review of the book by fellow traveler and Sorbonne PhD economics graduate Henry Sader:

The utter stupidity of P3s in BC

For the “we told you so” file. The BC government has been insisting on P3s (so-called “public-private partnerships” where the private sector builds and operates infrastructure) all over the province. We at the CCPA have consistently argued that this practice is foolish: more complicated, more expensive, and leaving taxpayers holding the bag if anything bad […]

Fresh water and salt water macroeconomics

Angry Bear has an excellent synopsis of the state of macroeconomics, and its relationship to the central monetary and fiscal policy debates of today. The post plays on a division of US economists into right-wing “fresh water” economists (epitomized by Chicago) and left-wing “salt water” (Princeton, MIT, Berkeley) that is perhaps a bit simplified (for […]

Final CLC Budget Analysis

This is a revised and more complete version of last night’s post: Impact on Jobs and the Economy What We Wanted The most important priority for the Budget was to stop the unemployment rate from rising to at least 8% this year and to double digit levels next year. “Fiscal stimulus” is not the same […]

Budget 2009: You Read It Here First

Marc Lee predicted a deficit a year ago (in a paper that graciously acknowledged comments from Toby and me.) Our blog was also ahead of the curve on some other aspects of Budget 2009. I flagged the Equalization cuts the morning after the November 2008 Economic Statement, when they received little attention. These cuts have since become […]

How Much Stimulus?

The more I read Budget 2009, the less stimulus I see. The very first page of text in the Budget Plan commits to “inject fiscal stimulus of 2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP)” (page 9). For 2009-10, the Budget introduces new spending and tax cuts worth $18 billion, about 1.2% of GDP (page […]

Toby’s Budget Notes

Harper “stimulus” budget falls far short   Faced with the prospect of losing their grip on power, the Harper government has made a big show of taking action to address the economic and financial crisis, but it still falls far short of what is needed to revive the economy, create jobs and protect the vulnerable.  […]

David’s Budget Notes

Its amazing how much a budget can contain while avoiding addressing the most critical questions of an economic crisis: How are we helping the most vulnerable, particularly those who have lost their jobs?   With over $2.6 billion in spending on additional EI and retraining programs in 2009, the government has managed to not allow […]

Marc’s Federal Budget 2009 Notes (revised)

The leakiest budget in Canadian history is now in the public domain, and will not lead to the fall of the Harper government. The budget was preceded by numerous press conferences held by Ministers (with the PM uncharacteristically out of sight), leaving some details to be filled in on budget day, largely tax measures, but […]

USW Budget Letter

January 26, 2009  The Honourable James M. Flaherty Minister of Finance Department of Finance Canada 140 O’Connor Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5  Dear Mr. Flaherty:  I write regarding the 2009 federal budget on behalf of the United Steelworkers union, which represents 280,000 men and women working in every sector of Canada’s economy. To address the […]

CanWest takes on P3s

The existing pot of infrastructure money offered up by the feds in last year’s federal budget has been criticized for being contingent on a P3 model, aka public private partnership, where design, build and subsequent operation of infrastructure was undertaken by the private sector, and leased back to the public sector over the lifetime of […]

Dangers of Wage Deflation

I’ve just read an excellent paper “From Financial Crisis to Depression and Deflation” by Hansjorg Herr of the Berlin School of Economics, circulated by the Global Union Research Network (but not yet posted to their web site.) Herr argues that demand deflation is inevitable in a downturn like the one we are in, but this […]

Nationalizing the banks

What a difference a year makes. A year ago anybody who proposed nationalizing the banks in Canada, the United States or the U.K. would probably have been dismissed as a looney lefty.  Now widescale nationalization of major banks is being raised as a serious alternative in leading articles in the Economist and the New York […]

The stimulus: tax cuts vs public spending

Watching the news last night, there was a lot on the pros and cons of tax cuts versus public spending. As one who has been following the debate on both sides of the border, it is interesting to note the convergence. The Canadian debate, up to the near-fall of the Harper government, was about whether […]

Getting out of the deficit hole

We are repeatedly told in the press that getting out of deficit was oh so difficult, and so we need to proceed cautiously down that road in the 2009 budget. In fact, Paul Martin’s landmark 1995 budget that took aggressive measures (1995/96 fiscal year) turned into a surplus of $3 billion in the 1997/98 fiscal […]

Tax Cuts vs. Infrastructure

The Fraser Institute, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Informetrica, Bank of Montreal, and yours truly square off in today’s Toronto Star (page A17).

Who Spilled the Beans?

There was a noteworthy discrepancy in how our two national newspapers covered the $64-billion leak. The secondary headline printed in yesterday’s Globe and Mail began, “Finance Department’s deliberate leak . . .” While the story’s text identifies the leaker only as “a senior government official,” a pull-out quote in the print edition identified him or her […]

Wage-Price Deflationary Spiral

I don’t usually read (or cite) Sherry Cooper, chief economist for BMO Capital Markets, but in a recent article she was on the money: Layoffs and reductions in hours worked have been accelerating in recent months and cover firms in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. The same has been true in Canada, but […]

Waltz with Bashir

I watched this movie last night and highly recommend it. I am often struck that criticism of Israeli military operations is more accepted in Israel than in North America. However, the movie won a Golden Globe and was just nominated for an Academy Award, which may add some welcome nuance to the dominant North American […]

Not very stimulating

An amended text from my speaking notes for the press conference releasing the 2009 Alternative Federal Budget. The press conference was covered live on Newsworld and Newsnet. In it we took an opportunity to comment on yesterday’s leak that the deficit will be $34 billion in 2009/10 and $30 billion in 2010/11. The good news […]

Alternative Federal Budget 2009

I assume that Marc is stuck in a news conference, so here is the 2009 Alternative Federal Budget. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has also released some litmus tests for next week’s budget.

Dash to Deflation

Today’s Consumer Price Index suggests that Canada is lunging toward deflation. The annual inflation rate plummeted to just 1.2% in December, 2.2% lower than only three months ago. If this pace continues, the national inflation rate will turn negative in the next few months. Two provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, already recorded negative inflation […]

The Redistributive Impacts of Employment Insurance

Human Resources and Social Development Canada commissioned a research study, “Income Redistribution Impacts of the EI Program” and changes thereto from Ross Finnie and Ian Irvine for the 2005 EI Monitoring and Assessment Report. I obtained a copy through an Access to Information Request some time back, and to my knowledge it has not (yet?) […]

Ignatieff’s Third Option?

Political watchers are waiting with baited breath to see whether Michael Ignatieff will acquiesce to Tuesday’s Conservative budget, to the applause of Bay Street Liberals, or whether he will defeat the budget and seize the opportunity to become Prime Minister of a progressive coalition government. It strikes me that there is a third possibility: he […]

Vanier Institute’s report on family finances 2009

has just been published and is avalaible here. It largely confirms research conducted by PEF members on household wealth, indebtedness and income.  The report highlights the state of financial precarity of many households, the gap between income and spending, the growing debtload and the important impact the “recession” (if we still want to call it […]

Financial Crisis 2008: the music video

A regular reader of Relentlessly Progressive Economics who works at a financial research firm has made a music video about the financial crisis:

Student Essay Contest 2009

The PEF’s 2009 Student Essay Contest Is Now Open USE YOUR ECONOMICS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE! Tired of learning economics that seems more interested in justifying the status quo, than in explaining the real world – and changing it? Then join thousands of economics students around the world: put your economics to work in the cause […]