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Archive for November, 2009

Blame Canada!

George Monbiot skewers Canada’s role in climate change, from the tar sands to the international negotiations. Some highlights (notes in original): … Until now I believed that the nation which has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can […]

Keep the Corks in the Champagne

Here we go with another media frenzy celebrating the official “end of the recession.”  Truly, this time.  We really mean it. Harken back to July 23 of this year, when Mark Carney made it official the first time, declaring in his monetary policy update that the economy was back in the black.  His bold declaration […]

Remember the Battle of Seattle!

Ten years ago I was in Seattle for the now famous showdown between activists and the World Trade Organization. Those were good times: we stayed downtown at the youth hostel (since converted to high end condos), ate in and around Pike Place Market, and attended an excellent two-day teach-in put on by the International Forum […]

Hitting the Pig on Corporate Taxes

When Jim’s study of the proposed Canada-Korea “free trade” deal provoked a direct and excessive response from the federal government three years ago, he correctly concluded that his study had “hit the pig.” Since I grew up in Saskatchewan and am currently posting from Mississippi, I have at least as much credibility as Jim in […]

Japan – Dancing on the Edge of Calamity

Duncan Cameron has asked me to post this contribution by Ken Courtis,  a recognized authority on Japan and world economics. A Canadian academic turned investment banker, he has been resident in Japan for many years. On 09-11-26, at 19:30, Ken Courtis wrote: The reality of Japan’s fiscal situation is as close to calamitous as any […]

Will the Feds Cut Provincial Transfers to Balance the Books (Again)?

As everybody who reads this blog knows,  then Finance Minister Paul Martin brought the federal budget back into balance in the mid 1990s by, in significant part,  slashing federal transfers to the provinces and eliminating automatic escalators in the new transfers he created. That cannot and will not be allowed to ever happen again, says […]

End Child Poverty: Tax the Rich

There’s a great op ed in today’s Globe and Mail by Ed Broadbent, marking the twentieth anniversary of the unanimous passage by the House of Commons of his eve of retirement resolution to abolish child poverty by 2000. (Ed did, of ourse, later return to the House.) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/how-to-end-child-poverty-tax-the-rich/article1374806/ As Ed argues: “We thought an 11-year […]

Clipping the Loonie’s Wings

What can be done to halt the damage to jobs and our economy being caused by the excessive appreciation of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar?  The Bank of Canada have noted the problem, but appear to think there is no solution. Erin has argued here that the Bank can always sell Canadian dollars, […]

Corporate Tax Giveaway to Uncle Sam

A couple of weeks ago, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a paper of mine about how Canada’s corporate tax cuts will transfer revenue to the American federal treasury. That day, I debated this issue with Don Drummond on the Business News Network (video clip). Also that day, Jack Layton raised it in Question Period. Ontario NDP […]

Canadians for the Employee Free Choice Act

American opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act have tried to use Canadian data to make their case against unionization. This past summer, Jim and I posted some initial responses. This week, York University’s Centre for Research on Work and Society released a collection of articles by Canadian economists (including Jim and me) who support […]

Inflation Returns

Canada’s extended summer of deflation ended in October, when the national inflation rate rose to 0.1%. This change reflects a lowered base of comparison: the price of gasoline plummeted between September and October of last year. The return of inflation should not be overstated. Today’s inflation rate is barely positive and falls short of the […]

RRSPs and Savings

My recent post on doubling the CPP -  http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2009/10/26/double-the-canada-pension-plan-benefit/ – prompted some commentary in defence of voluntary as opposed to compulsory savings vehicles. I guess it is reasonable to debate if we should force people – especially those above very low income levels – to save in their own best long term interests.  That is, […]

Fiscal Crisis?

I blogged recently about the likely pending attack on public service workers. http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2009/11/10/public-sector-workers-the-recessions-next-victims/ This battle will, of course, be fought by right wing (and perhaps not so right wing) governments in the name of “fiscal responsibility”, and justified with reference to the imperative need for “exit strategies” from Great Recession deficits and debt accumulation. The […]

Copenhagen countdown: upset about offsets

The biggest international meeting on climate change, perhaps since Kyoto itself, is coming up in early December in Copenhagen. But the closer we get to Copenhagen, the farther away an agreement seems to be. Sadly, there has been precious little coverage of the ongoing negotiations in the mainstream media, further demonstrating the increasing irrelevance of […]

IMF Says Stay the Course on Stimulus

A press release released at the end of an IMF staff visit to Canada says “it will be essential to maintain a highly accommodative macroeconomic policy stance as intended until the economic recovery is firmly established, in light of risks on the horizon. These risks include weaker-than-expected global growth and a further strengthening of the […]

Exchange Rate vs. Inflation Target

The Canadian dollar is again becoming more overvalued. After dipping as low as 92 US cents at the end of October, it rocketed up to 96 US cents so far today. Meanwhile, the OECD has released another month of purchasing-power data. Although the loonie’s average price on foreign-exchange markets edged up between August and September, […]

Public Sector Workers – The Recession’s Next Victims?

I fear that Tom Walkom of the Toronto Star is bang on when he argues that the next victims of the recession will be public sector workers. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/722505–walkom-recession-s-next-victim-will-be-public-sector As he writes: “The federal government has already signalled plans to get tough with its workers. In Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty gave notice this week that the […]

Spending on students makes sense

A guest post from PEF Steering Committee member, Nick Falvo, initially published in The Charlatan: Spending on students makes sense Students from across Ontario took to the streets Nov. 5 to fight for a fairer deal for post-secondary education. This is a struggle that students must fight to win, as decreasing government funding, rising tuition […]

Jack Mintz Eats Up Ontario’s Budget

This past week, Jack Mintz issued a report (PDF) praising Ontario’s last provincial budget. I like East Side Mario’s because it features both all-you-can-eat bread and all-you-can-eat salad. So, it is not surprising that a corporate tax-fighter would love a budget featuring both corporate income tax cuts and the removal of sales tax from business […]

Is Canada Still in Recession?

As yesterday’s Labour Force Survey confirmed, the recession continues for the vast majority of Canadians, who rely on employment for most of their income. But the technical measure of a recession is consecutive quarterly declines in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Some have suggested that, even by this measure, the recession continues. Of course, we […]

Laboured Data – Reading the Recession Right

I purchase a monthly unadjusted Labour Force Survey data series from StatsCan that provides monthly labour force trends by age, sex, province, and type of job (full-time, part-time, by industry, and by status – self-employed or employed). This is a helpful addition to the published monthly stats in The Daily, which use seasonally adjusted numbers […]

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

One dimension of today’s dismal jobs report that hasn’t received enough attention yet is the continuing slide in labour force participation.  It declined again to 67.0 percent (following a bigger decline last month that was the crucial ingredient in September’s counter-intuitive reduction in the unemployment rate). The participation rate hasn’t been lower since July 2002 […]

Canada’s Lost Year

UPDATE (November 7): Quoted by The Toronto Star and Canadian Press Today’s release of negative job numbers for October undoes much of the surprisingly strong reported improvement in September. The national unemployment rate is again closer to 9% than to 8%. Canada-US Comparison The US unemployment rate cracking 10% will undoubtedly garner much Canadian attention. […]

Towards a SAFER Financial System

The good folks at PERI at U Mass Amherst led by Gerry Epstein and  Jane D’Arista have just launched a new web site so theirr useful work on why and how to reign in finance can be easily accessed. http://www.peri.umass.edu/safer/ “The Economists’ Committee for Stable, Accountable, Fair and Efficient Financial Reform (SAFER) is a focal […]

Dealing with Climate Change, the Economy and Jobs

The David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute should be thanked for their efforts to put forward an integrated economic and emissions reduction strategy for Canada. The study was done to their specifications by M.K. Jaccard and Associates. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/latestnews/dsfnews10290901.asp The really important bottom line of this study is that aggressive action to deal seriously with […]

The Treasury Transfer Effect

As noted before on this blog, federal and provincial corporate tax cuts will redirect revenue from Canadian governments to the U.S. treasury. Today, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a short paper (PDF) I wrote on the treasury transfer effect. My executive summary follows: The U.S. government taxes American corporations on a worldwide basis. Profits repatriated from […]