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Archive for April, 2011

The Conference Board on Weak Business Investment

I do not know if the Conference Board intended its latest release on sluggish investment in machinery and equipment to be taken up during the election campaign. However, as Canadian Press reports: The Conference Board report comes at a time when the issue of corporate taxes is a key demarcation point among the parties in […]

Fiscal Record of Canadian Political Parties

With all the recent news stories — as well as alarm raised by other leaders — about the fiscal and economic impact and record of NDP governments, I decided to take a look at and review the fiscal record of all federal and provincial governments in Canada for the past three decades. These results may […]

Stephen Harper’s Economic Record: Best in show?

According to the polls, Stephen Harper gets the highest score on handling the economy, though he only gets the nod from 38 per cent of Canadians. As the incumbent, he’s got the advantage on all other candidates.  What the others have done and might do is a topic for another blogpost. This short summary of […]

The future of monetary policy

The following is the press release of a new initiative to examine the future of monetary policy, based on the core sentiment that growth is not enough. “Dynamic, stable and sustainable” is the goal, for the economy… and monetary policy. Full employment is featured as a key – and largely ignored – objective of central […]

False Consciousness, Part I: On Elections and the Middle Class

The following appeared in the National Post today. We’re in the last week of a federal election campaign, and every party wants you to believe they’re there for the hardworking families of a middle class under enormous pressure. That’s you, right? The idea of the middle class resonates, because it is a notion we all […]

Electile Dysfunction

Evidence suggests that we all like it long. Mayors of Canada like it long. It helps them prioritize the next transit or water main development. Police like it long. It helps them decide how to recruit, to reflect the changing communities they serve. Medical researchers like it long. It helps them see patterns of disease, […]

Fiscal Federalism on the Campaign Trail

As I noted in my post about income splitting and in commenting on Armine’s post about Tax-Free Savings Accounts, federal Conservative tax promises entail significant fiscal costs for provincial governments. I expanded that thought into the following op-ed, which appears in today’s Toronto Star. In the same vein, the federal Conservative policy of increased incarceration […]

How to Help the Long Term Unemployed

 The OECD have weighed in on what policy measures are needed to limit the damage of long term unemployment in the aftermath of the Great Recession. I would judge the NDP platform – which includes a significant job creation tax credit and increased EI benefits – to be closest to the OECD prescription. The OECD […]

The Polls and the Proles

The polls are suggesting a Harper majority may be in the cards, but they may be counting out the wild card in this deck: young people. How do polls work? Pollsters call people. On land lines. Who answers land lines? Not many young people anymore. They’re constantly connected through their cells, mostly through texts. But […]

On Economics, We-Think, and the Twitterverse

It took me a long time to write my first blog. It was here, and it was in response to the global economic collapse as it was occurring in real time, in late September 2008. For economists, the blogosphere is a rapid response world, and speed can kill. I worried about getting caught undone in […]

Courting the Women’s Vote in 2011

Every party is courting the women’s vote. They are The Undecided – more women than men are still parking their vote. That’s typical of most elections. Women listen for longer, decide later in an election campaign. When the time comes, they will be the kingmakers, if you’ll pardon the term. It leaps to mind because […]

Contemporary Capitalism Conference

PEF members Louis-Philippe Rochon and Mario Seccareccia have organized a conference on “Contemporary Capitalism: Its Financial Circuits, Its Transformation and Future Prospects” on May 31 and June 1 in Ottawa, right before the PEF summer school and Canadian Economics Association conference. Click here for the program. For more information, please contact lprochon2003 [a] yahoo.com

The Treasury Transfer Effect – You Read It Here First

Munir Sheikh, former head of Statistics Canada and of tax policy at Finance Canada, has an op-ed in today’s Globe: “A Canada-U.S. tax gap means a Canada-U.S. tax transfer.” As he notes, “any U.S. citizen, resident or company earning income in Canada is subject to U.S. tax, with a credit for Canadian tax paid or […]

Good Jobs For All

The policy paper to be presented to the CLC Convention next month is now posted on our web site and is well worth reading. http://www.canadianlabour.ca/sites/default/files/pdfs/policypapergoodjosen.pdf

Access to Post-Secondary Education

I recently had the chance to read a 2008 book entitled Who Goes?  Who Stays?  What Matters?  Accessing and Persisting in Post-Secondary Education in Canada.  Edited by Ross Finnie, Richard Mueller, Arthur Sweetman and Alex Usher, the anthology features 14 chapters written by a total of 21 authors.     I found Chapter 4 (co-authored by […]

Shock and Awful – The Truth Behind CIT Cuts

Cutting corporate income taxes doesn’t create jobs. They may raise wages, but probably not for you and me. And they mean Canadian taxpayers are paying more….to help the Americans pay down their debt Here’s how I know these things to be true: Yesterday SUN TV rolled out its first full day of programming. The prime […]

A billion dollars of bogus carbon credits

A story in today’s Vancouver Sun is disturbing, arguing that BC could make $1 billion from selling carbon offsets once the Western Climate Initiative gets underway. The projects are mostly in forest management and conservation, meaning less cutting and more sequestration of carbon in the forests themselves. The conservation part is undoubtedly a good thing […]

Saunders and The Value of CIT Cuts, Part I

Doug Saunders, of the Globe and Mail, has gamely launched a real and meaningful discussion about corporate tax cuts on these pages. See the comments section of this post. Since that forum was getting unwieldly, I’m starting a new post. Doug’s stated pursuit (and mine, and I wager most readers’) – how to harness growth […]

Envisioning a Transportation Transformation

Just in time for Earth Day, CCPA has a new release from the Climate Justice Project, Transportation Transformation: Building Complete Communities and a Zero-Emission Transportation System in BC. The report is perhaps the most visionary of our CJP publications to date (and has lots of great graphics to illustrate that vision), a necessity given that […]

Canadians working too much?

Despite all the political scandals, very distinct political visions for this country, and recent attempts by political leaders to get Canadians to “rise up”, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of public enthusiasm in this federal election campaign yet. One problem may be that Canadians are simply working too much. Recently released figures from OECD […]

Retail Prices: The US vs Canada

I saw quite a lot of media coverage of  a BMO report that Canadian retail prices are 20% higher than in the US despite exchange rate parity. There were allegations of price  gouging and references to the allegedly much more intensely competitive US retail environment. I hesitate somewhat to say so in case the argument […]

The Legend of Zero

No politician is talking about it, but there is a growing debate about corporate tax cuts, and it’s not about whether they should go up or down 1.5 percentage points. It’s about getting rid of them. Zero corporate income taxes. It is fast becoming the legendary goal for tax reform in some opinion-makers’ minds, and […]

Simpson Walks the Party Line on Corporate Taxes

Yesterday’s Jeffrey Simpson column was entitled, “Walking the Line on Corporate Tax Cuts.” Incredibly, he walks the narrow 1.5% line between the Liberal and NDP proposals. To his credit, Simpson takes an open-minded look at the evidence, which indicates “no discernible links” from corporate taxes to employment or investment. On this basis, he accepts the […]

Canada’s Caribbean Bank Tax Holiday

There’s a disturbing trend buried in this morning’s report by Statscan on Canada’s foreign direct investment (FDI) abroad.  Not only is an increasing share of Canadian direct investment abroad going through finance and insurance industries, but a growing share is also being funnelled into tax havens. The finance and insurance now accounts for over 52% of all […]

Historical Analysis of Business Investment and Taxes Going Back to 1961

Here is a link to the CCPA study we released yesterday, analyzing the determinants of business fixed non-residential capital investment spending in Canada on the basis of quarterly data from 1961 through 2010.  It formally tests for the direct significance of corporate tax variables and finds no such evidence (in either univariate or multivariate analysis). There […]

1,000 Economists for a Financial Transactions Tax

A thousand economists, including a fair number of PEF members, have signed the following letter in support of a financial transactions tax. The Guardian has published a story about the letter and posted the list of economists. UPDATE (April 15): This PDF version of the economists’ list is slightly updated and much easier to navigate. […]

Can cooperatives humanize our economy?

Book Review of Humanizing the Economy: Cooperatives in the Age of Capital, by John Restakis, New Society Publishers, 2010. The economy is about business, right? Sure, we have a dynamic mixed economy, and most people support decent social programs and government intervention to protect the environment or to improve living conditions for the poorest. In […]

Toronto Community Housing Corporation

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding the recent controversy surrounding the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).  In the way of background: -TCHC is Canada’s largest provider of social housing, and Toronto’s largest landlord. -There have been two recent reports by the City of Toronto’s auditor–one looks at staff expenses at TCHC, […]

Canadians for Tax Fairness, Stop Corporate Tax Cuts petition

A new progressive, grassroots tax fairness advocacy organization has just been established in Canada–and its first initiative is a petition and campaign to stop additional corporate tax cuts.   The text is below.   If you are in agreement, please sign on  and pass this on to your contacts. We, the undersigned, oppose additional corporate tax cuts which […]

Inequality Hazardous to Growth – IMF study

It is now well-known that income inequality is hazardous to human health and a host of other social outcomes, as demonstrated by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book  The Spirit Level and Equality Trust organization (some great resources and slides there, too).  Now a new study by the International Monetary Fund has found that higher rates of income inequality are […]