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Archive for March, 2011

Dismal Income Prospects For Gen X Retirees

There is an interesting new piece on incomes of future retirees, “The Canadian National Retirement Index”,  by MacDonald, Moore, Chen and Brown in Canadian Public Policy. It uses the Statistics Canada Life Paths Model to forecast the incomes of future retirees. This greatly amplifies, to my mind, the case for expansion of the Canada Pension […]

Reforming Ontario’s Universities

I have just finished reading a 2009 book entitled Academic Transformation:  The Forces Reshaping Higher Education in Ontario.  The book, written by Ian Clark, Greg Moran, Michael Skolnik and David Trick, has received a fair bit of attention among post-secondary (PSE) wonks.  While I find it informative, I am uncomfortable with the book’s central feature:  a proposal to […]

What To Do About Foreign Ownership?

Here is the CLC brief to the Industry Committee hearings which we did not get to present due to the election. Hopefully the issue will still get a good hearing over the next few weeks, especially since the NDP have staked out some good ground on the issue. I note there have been 48 posts […]

The NDP on Business Taxes and Jobs

The media coverage of  Layton’s announcement yesterday was disappointingly thin, and the details (including on the NDP web site) are pretty hard to find. The NDP would go one better than the Liberals in raising the Corporate Income Tax rate from 16.5% today (and 15% next year) to the 2008 rate of 19.5%. The Liberals […]

Hillman Prize for Canadian Investigative Journalism

I was one of the three judges for the inaugural Canadian incarnation of the Hillman Prize for Investigative Journalism.  Sidney Hillman was a founding organizer of the garment union in the U.S., and left a legacy that has been used to fund an annual U.S. award for reporters who take the time & risk to […]

Full List of 60 Countries That Did Better than Canada

The Conservatives are stressing their supposed credentials as “economic managers” in their strategy to win a majority — combined with fear-mongering about a future coalition (although that latter part of the strategy may be backfiring on them). I’ve argued before that claims about Canada’s superior performance are not factually correct, especially when we correct for […]

The Small Change EI Premium Rebate

Prime Minister Harper today re-announced the 2011 Budget proposal to introduce a one year program to reduce EI employer premiums by up to $1,000 for small businesses which expand employment in 2011 compared to 2010. I would characterise this as more of a token gift to the Canadian Federation of  Independent Business than a serious […]

Income Splitting: A Bad Idea Returns

Since the Conservatives are promising income splitting, it may be worth revisiting some classic Relentlessly Progressive Economics posts on the subject. Some of the links we posted four years ago no longer work, so my Ottawa Citizen op-ed is reproduced below. While the population totals and tax thresholds have changed slightly, the analysis stands. The […]

Coalitions and the Economy

(I have also posted this to the new CCPA election blog which plans to run fairly short non technical pieces over the next month.)   Harper’s key framing argument is that a stable majority is needed to maintain an economic recovery which would be derailed by a coalition. I find this more than a little […]

Low Taxes for Whom? Flaherty’s Rhetorical Retreat

I missed last week’s federal budget, but was pleased to see the quantity and quality of same-day analysis posted on this blog. Jim wrote an excellent piece, “Corporate Taxation and Investment in the 2011 Federal Budget,” about the corporate tax debate in post-budget media panels. But what struck me was David’s point about how the […]

2011 Essay Contest

I just want to draw attention to the rules and April 30th deadline for this year’s PEF Student Essay Contest. Please put up this poster at your local university campus.

Cut CPP to Cut the Deficit?

Jeremy Leonard, research director of IRPP, suggests in today’s Globe that CPP retirement benefits be cut to balance the federal books, or at least he is cited to that effect by Barrie McKenna. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t major savings to be wrung out of spending. Mr. Leonard, for example, suggested that reforms to the […]

Corporate Taxation and Investment in the 2011 Federal Budget

Amidst all the frenetic disarray of budget day, I had an interesting and informative exchange on CBC’s Power & Politics with John Manley, former Liberal Finance and Industry Minister, and now chief lobbyist for Canada’s corporate elite (as President and Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives).

The (Very) Political Economy of the Budget

Here is the CLC Budget Analysis At this point the economics of the budget are so overwhelmed by the uncertain political calculations that one hesitates to add to the discussion. There are a few modest half good things here in response to demands from labour and the left. $300 Million earmarked for the poorest of […]

Designed to Fail: Harper’s Nickel and Dime Budget

The 2011 federal budget was clearly designed to fail and provoke an election.  It only went part way to meet some of the opposition parties’ priorities while also showering the country with dozens of different politically opportunistic relatively minor spending measures, extensions of expiring programs and boutique tax cuts.   Quite appropriately, it became D.O.A.–and now we’ll soon […]

Budget 2011: Smells like 1995

Back in 1995 Finance Minister Paul Martin introduced a budget that reshaped fiscal federalism and retrenched the scope of the welfare state in Canada. It envisioned a dramatically smaller role for the federal government, a role that was permanently in question through the process of ongoing program review. It was Paul Martin’s permanent revolution, for […]

Crumbs for you, Cake for us: Budget 2011

If you take a look at this year’s budget and you have an issue that you’re interested in, chances are you’ll find it on the list. There are in fact almost twice as many items on this year’s budget list as the large 2009 stimulus budget. There are some items on seniors, some items on […]

Fiscal sky not falling over New Brunswick

All eyes may be on Ottawa when the federal budget is released this afternoon, but it isn’t the only government tabling its budget today.    New Brunswick’s new Conservative government will also be tabling its first budget today–and it’s expected to include austerity spending cuts at the same time that they proceed with further corporate tax […]

So you think you can budget!

With the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) officially released, you’d think the budget gnomes at the CCPA would have some much deserved time off.  Unfortunately with the snow still falling in Ottawa, we figured we’d put them back to work. Every year, the AFB puts together ideas from all of the partners involved.  Once everything is […]

The Political Economy of Birding

My recent post on public sector pay elicited a lot of comments, including a fair few based on the right-wing premise that the public sector is an unproductive burden on the private sector. I have always found this ascription of productivity to the public and private sectors to be deeply misleading in that it conceals […]

Potash Royalties: Lessons from Def Leppard

Advocates of low potash royalties have floated some pretty bizarre arguments. Last week, the Saskatchewan Party put out a news release emphasizing that local farmers use some 0.6% of provincial potash output, as though this tiny sliver of domestic consumption somehow complicates the province’s interest in maximizing revenue as a potash producer. Equally strange are […]

Danny Williams’ PSE Legacy

Keith Dunne and I have an opinion piece out on what we consider to be one of the best-kept secrets in Canadian social policy:  Danny Williams’ post-secondary education (PSE) legacy.  Among other things, the piece points out that: -Since 2003, the Newfoundland and Labrador government has increased funding for PSE by 82 percent. -Average tuition […]

In the Land of Equilibria

           I recently debated Ottawa Citizen columnist and MacDonald-Laurier Institute honcho John Robson on BNN regarding the role of unions in society.  It was a rather nasty exchange, as these things go: he’s a smart, aggressive, neo-con who was on the offensive from the opening introductions:           A few days later, he lampooned me in […]

On the margin

Iglika reported to me that Kevin Milligan made the argument in favour of the HST that its presence was economically beneficial because it induces additional investment on the margin, as projects that previously did not meet a certain profit threshold would become real investments. This is a net gain (forget about who benefits from those […]

An Alternative Budget: Making Jobs, Not War

This piece was initially posted on the Globe and Mail’s online business feature, Economy Lab. Join the comments section! For 18 years I’ve been part of a national project in participatory budgeting called the Alternative Federal Budget. Each year dozens of national and community organizations representing millions of Canadians convene over a six month period, […]

Canada’s incredible shrinking public sector

(Here’s a piece that will be in the next quarterly Economic Climate for Bargaining publication I produce, also posted on the CUPE website in pdf format.) There’s a widely held myth now accepted by many people—that public spending in Canada has increased steeply and is growing at unaffordable and unsustainable rates. In fact, the opposite […]

Minority Workers in the Public Sector

Another reason for that intolerably high public sector compensation premium – Further to my earlier post showing that the public/private sector pay gap is mainly due to more equal pay for women in service jobs,  a recent piece from Canadian Public Policy by Hou and Coulombe shows that the pay gap between Canadian born racialized […]

Fair Wages and Public Sector Workers

Today’s Globe has a long article by Konrad Yakabuski on the potential for a Wisconsin style attack on Canadian public sector workers. It’s hard to challenge his argument that this is very much in prospect, and indeed we seem set for a debate – or a series of national, provincial and municipal debates – on the allegedly […]

A Part-Time Recovery Ctd.

More from Sylvain: The part-time rate in February 2011 -  19.7% of the workforce working part-time – fell just short of the highest levels ever recorded in July and August 2010. Not only has part-time work risen in the recession and recovery, it has been clearly driven by the lack of full-time jobs. 265,900 non-seasonally […]

Today’s Job Numbers: A Part-Time Recovery

Analysis from my colleague Sylvan Schetagne .. The Canadian economy in February 2011 had fewer full-time jobs, but more part-time, self employment and temporary work. These are not signs of a strong job recovery. The unemployment rate remained stable at 7.8%, but job quality decreased significantly last month. The number of full-time jobs was down […]