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The Progressive Economics Forum

Historic NDP Breakthrough is Good

My fellow bloggers are being too negative about yesterday’s election results.

A Harper majority is very bad. However, I have trouble imagining it cutting public programs more than Chretien’s majority did. The Conservatives and Liberals have long been rather similar on economic issues.

The NDP replacing the Liberals as one of the two predominant parties is hugely positive. Canadian social democrats have been striving for this realignment since they founded the CCF in 1932.

Of course, the NDP cannot take anything for granted. Much hard work will be needed to consolidate its unprecedented gains in Quebec and its countrywide position as the main alternative to the Conservatives.

In the next election, progressives should no longer feel that they must choose between voting NDP because it is progressive and voting Liberal to stop Conservatives. The resulting concentration of progressive votes for the NDP would produce substantial gains in English Canada. If the NDP can gain as many seats there as it just gained in Quebec, it would form a majority government.

The next four years will be tough. But there is a bright orange light at the end of the tunnel.

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Comments

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: May 3, 2011, 4:30 pm

The question, Erin, is not whether the simple replacing of one technocratic party by another is a good thing, the question is whether technocracy itself allows for the possibility of vision that is the only way to challenge the manipulation, and oppression, of Canadians.

I believe the NDP must change substantially, must recover what it has lost, for it to be the beacon of hope I truly wish it would be.

What it must be.

Comment from the regina mom
Time: May 3, 2011, 4:58 pm

I hear you, Erin. Yes, a Harper Majority sux the big white elephant! But the realignment of our progressive movement is fantastic! And 40 women in the NDP caucus if fucking magnificent!!!

Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: May 3, 2011, 5:30 pm

It is hard to trust anything that comes from HArper- however- Erin does make a good point- how much “social Darwinsim” will Harper unleash.

My guess, tempered by a day to breath it in is:

1) the business community loves to have control of the political levers it now has and will not let HArper mess it up with his ideological idiocy. 4 years is not that long a time and fundamentally there were some progressive conservatives/ blue libs that made a fairly substantive switch yesterday, especially in Ontario. So HArper will have to keep both hands on the wheel so as to not lose the bus in his right wing ditch.

2) The NDP is now the party of opposition and while they may be much politically weaker than they were in a minority, they do carry quite a bit of longer term political potential but it does need to be developed. And as I said in another post, they now have the heavy equipment to build a movement. i.e. many seats across the country and the committed social/ sovereignists of Quebec. They need to build these two forces together into a substantive threat.
It is a great two pillars to build a movement on, there are two very strong labour movements behind both these forces. I would suggest using every possible means to help develop and foster the prerequisite relations between both inside and outside of quebec.The labour movements of both are a mature entity to help foster these relations and support the necessary linkages.

We need to build and develop this orange tiger, and although we are caged, we do have fangs, and we need to keep them bared ready to strike when the election comes round. It was one thing to have the soft liberals as a possible replacement for Harper, I am surte the corporate bosses could have lived with Iggy but a united, well developed, ultra organized, labour backed progressive opposition who is primed to take over when HArper fails, should be enough to keep the corporate bosses scared shitless and Harper on a short leash and at least one wheel out of the right wing ditch.

But we have to build, train and develop that tiger!

Paul

Comment from Eric Pineault
Time: May 3, 2011, 5:55 pm

Erin as a “posted pessimist” let me try a short exercise in optimism.
Given an inevitable conservative majority, the NDP is now Canada’s official opposition, and that is a good thing. If one looks at the situation from this angle, there is reason for optimism, a right wing neoconservative based party has now a structured clearly left wing opposition in front of it, instead of a fragmented and loose hodgepodge of minority parties with various and incongruent positions.
The NDP will have the means, credibility and the visibility in the next four years to prepare itself as the next governing party. This is mostly because Québec, no “francophone Québec”, that “distinct society thing” has swung from the bloc to the NDP, sending more than half of the 102 opposition MP’s.
That being said, and continuing on the vein of optimism, there are two challenges ahead, moments of reckoning, let’s put it that way.
A first is what do do with what’s left of the liberal party. A temptation, voiced by some soft left of centre progressives, is to take in left liberals, but does this mean also becoming a kind of “third way” social liberal party like the Blair Labour Party ?
Doing so will shift NDP support away from its base in Québec and elsewhere in Canada. So the “optimist” question is how do we gather support in the ROC without loosing the NDP’s social democratic identity ? That’s an important challenge, all the more that the reflex of social liberal politics is an “economically conservative/culturally -socially progressive” agenda that effectively marginalizes progressive economics.
Our challenge is thus to work through the elements of a progressive economic platform that is green growth oriented, fiscally possible and positive and clearly transformative without appearing utopian. Otherwise we are just an orange copy of a 70’s liberal party program.
The second challenge is Québec. You can always ditch the idea, as some have suggested here, and we will each go our parting ways, but if not, the NDP must develop a credible, felt and workable politics of two intertwined and interdependent but distinct nations or societies, each pursuing social justice and welfare goals in distinct and differently grounded perspectives. This must be done by the NDP in cooperation with progressives in Québec so that their MP’s don’t become isolated figures in our political landscape. This will imply an effort in openness and humility both by ROC progressives, pillars of the NDP, and quebecois sovereignist leaning progressives.

So, as we say at home, On a du pain sur la planche.

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: May 3, 2011, 6:04 pm

Maybe I misheard, but the first thing Jack said last night, before equality, before green ‘economy’, before ‘family’ was “fiscally responsible.”

I know this is not the place to throw dirt on economics, but isn’t “fiscal responsibility” the serpent that killed vision?

The club the old parties used to beat the NDP over the head–the party that has been called “No Down Payment”?

Comment from Purple Library Guy
Time: May 3, 2011, 6:24 pm

I dunno, Ms. Freedman. Tommy Douglas was fiscally responsible. Didn’t believe in owing money to bankers.

Most of the good programs aren’t really as expensive as the media makes them seem. If one refrains from spending money on useless crap (extra prisons, jets, corporate subsidies) and gets with some progressive taxation (I won’t apologize for soaking the rich, they’ve been getting waaay too dry lately while the rest of us have taken a bath) I suspect we’d be amazed at the amount of cash freed up.

Comment from Purple Library Guy
Time: May 3, 2011, 6:36 pm

On the general tenor of the original post and the comments, I do think we need some optimism in the sense that this is a great breakthrough and with work, and smarts, and good will maybe we can make something even greater out of it.

But those of you imagining that Harper will be restrained by the money interests backing him should go back and re-read “The Shock Doctrine”, not to mention “Shooting the Hippo” by Linda McQuaig. The politics of the right is about rapid destabilization to keep opposing forces off balance and shell shocked–you get it together to oppose one dangerous measure, and another is already in your face. I think it quite likely he will adopt that sort of approach, and we should be ready for it.
(Incidentally, the right isn’t the only group that can use that approach effectively. Hugo Chavez seems to do the same thing from the left–presented with opposition, he rarely backs up but rather pushes further forward. If food manufacturers try to destabilize his government by manipulating supply, he generally responds by expropriating them)

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: May 3, 2011, 7:14 pm

I dunno Purple Library Guy.

It has always seemed the claim of “fiscal responsibility”, regardless of the actual cost of progressive policy, has been the code word for, ‘elites won’t stand for it.’

More than this, it buys into the narrative that the government is just like a “family” and that it must “live within its means.”

But government is not ‘just like a family’, it has within its grasp not only fiscal policy, but also monetary policy–as recently discussed in the campaign.

Not that long ago, when rich persons, both real and corporate, were taxed significantly more fairly than now, we seemed to be able to afford some of the very programs we could never even imagine today–and may well be on the chopping block courtesy of Harper.

There is always money for the “extra prisons, jets, corporate subsidies” the “useless crap” you refer to. It is always “fiscally responsible.” Nether you nor I believe this, but this is the narrative.

The narratives we live by, and so many die by, are designed to work for the benefit of those who exercise “the shock doctrine.”

We must challenge these narratives.

Comment from Eric Pineault
Time: May 3, 2011, 7:55 pm

Let us curb our enthusiasm
“But the oil patch wants something more – for Mr. Harper to turn up the volume against the many critics of the oil sands and its environmental impact, now that he has full control in Ottawa.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/their-man-has-a-majority-now-oil-patch-wants-elbow-room/article2008992/

Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: May 3, 2011, 8:39 pm

@plg

With all due respect to Linda M. I do think the power relations start with the corps/ bay street and the threat of a well groomed robust threatening opposition will keep Harper tempered, at least somewhat.

But it will need to be a proven resistance, that is just as fluid as the other side. As I stated the threat of a powerful left is a whole new power game. That is why moving to the center to pick up the remains of the libs is a mistake. We become a tame tiger with no bite, plus th NDP risks ostracizing it’s new Quebec voters. However it should be left to the members to blaze a trail forward.

The risks are huge by going more to the center, the tiger loses it’s teeth and becomes no threat and hence the potential of it political is marginalized.

The new game in town- go too far right Mr. Harper and you will be replaced by a well organized social democratic movement, which if done properly will be the only party with the ability.

The liberals must not be resurrected into a legitimate force, but at the sometime to exhume it’s current carcass and bring it into the fold is opening the space for Harper’s masters to hedge their bets with a new liberal party.

Appealing to Quebec must be top priority.

To me it is all about controlling the legitimate alternatives to Harper. That will take a huge amount of work but given the 103 seats, the means are here.

Comment from Keith Newman
Time: May 3, 2011, 8:41 pm

For Purple Library Guy:
Re Tommy Douglas: Tommy had it right as premier of Saskatchewan, too much debt for a province is usually bad.

For Denise Freedman:
“Fiscal responsibility” is indeed the justification used by governments for not doing very much because of cost. The argument goes that governments must borrow the money they spend and that at some point the debt burden will become overwhelming. It is known as the Government Budget Constraint (GBC). While it does apply to provinces and households, it does not apply to governments, like our federal government, that issue their own currency and float it freely on foreign exchange markets.

There are a number of ways of looking at this. Perhaps the most intuitive is that under our fiat monetary regime, the bank of Canada can set the interest rates and term on the bonds it issues. If it sets interest rates low enough, and the economy grows, even running deficits indefinitely does not produce a rising level of debt and interest payents. In practice however the deficits actually melt away as the growing economy produces higher taxes and lower expenditures for governments. If it does spend substantially more because of its control of monetary policy, the federal government should nonetheless ensure its spending is not so high as to touch off inflation.

In effect the GBC is a way to get us to ignore that we have two million people unemployed who could be put to work building the high speed trains we so badly need, attending to our pre-school children and the elderly, expanding public transit, providing better health care and prevention, etc, etc. So we have lots of people unemployed, with all the terrible social and personal consequences that entails, and we forgo all kinds of things we could provide for ourselves.

Sadly, due to the seductiveness of household finance logic, any political party that said it would put people to work providing the things we so obviously need would be blown out of the water by being labelled fiscally irresponsible . You can just imagine what Harper would say! Remember how he successfully vilified the Liberals’ quite modest carbon tax scheme. One of the biggest victories of the neo-liberals is to make everyone think small.

Comment from leftdog
Time: May 3, 2011, 10:30 pm

Well said! Thanks Erin!

Comment from BB
Time: May 4, 2011, 2:15 am

As long as the private sector has control of the national debt, no NDP minority will have a chance in hell of getting anything done. The privitization of the debt sealed any “progressive change” the only way real change is going to come in the future is grass roots organizing/civil disobedience or going more radical left.

The time for “reform” is way over, the fact that harper has a majority means the progressives are a myopic bunch and can’t see the writing on the wall — REFORMING CAPITALISM FAILED.

The rise of the right in canada and the US and their monopoly on the media means the only answer is grass roots organizing and civil disobedience on a massive scale.

As long as monetary policy is in the hands of private investors, and the media is owned by the elites.

Any attempt at progressive policy will just cause media to go into full attack mode against the left.

People are so easily manipulated by propaganda on TV and whatnot that the progressive era is practically over. You’ll see next election.

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: May 4, 2011, 3:19 am

“Sadly, due to the seductiveness of household finance logic, any political party that said it would put people to work providing the things we so obviously need would be blown out of the water by being labelled fiscally irresponsible.”

Then, Keith Newman, isn’t “the seductiveness of household finance logic” the narrative, the “political” narrative, that must be challenged?

The very fantastical visions of the “the family” is that has dominated this election campaign.

If not, all those who appeal to it, regardless of their nominal political economy, will be as slavishly deferential to it as to those who actually believe it?

And what does this say about those who submit to it knowing it isn’t correct?

Comment from peetee
Time: May 4, 2011, 6:36 am

Please! Layton had more clout before these election results… and… of course, Quebec voters could simply move en masse again, next election, particularly when they realize voting NDP made no difference. Nothing will prevent a continued, ongoing, repeat… over and over… Conservative government, than a united alternative – one that doesn’t split votes and eat each other. The next 4-5 years of Harper will be unbearable – will we recognize Canada at the end of this upcoming term?

Where is the so-called NDP and Liberal brain-thrust… do they truly believe either party on it’s own can stop Harper/Conservatives? A neutered NDP Opposition under a Harper majority will not convince TROC to shift to the NDP next election. Liberal-Democrat party? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

Comment from Todd
Time: May 4, 2011, 9:19 am

“In the next election, progressives should no longer feel that they must choose between voting NDP because it is progressive and voting Liberal to stop Conservatives.”

Depends on your riding . . . .

Comment from Keith Newman
Time: May 4, 2011, 10:28 am

Denise Freedman:
Actually it is surprising how many people do believe the household logic.

Further, electoral politics is a game unto itself. You’ll note how little actual policy content there was in the campaign. People voting NDP in Quebec did not do so for its policies, they did it because they like Jack and because they know in a general way it’s social democratic and not anti-Quebec. Detailed political policy discussion loses you the election. Unfortunate but true.

On the household logic front, I do think it can be overcome and people could grasp generally that the government of Canada is different from a gas station or a corner store. So far the way to communicate it convincingly has not yet been found so far as I know.
The Right spent mega-dollars and a lot of time working out its message and tactics. Our side will need to do the same.

Comment from RBDumel
Time: May 4, 2011, 10:33 am

Why have there been so many fluff pieces in the last couple of days? Was this article originally a series of Twitter posts?

“The NDP replacing the Liberals as one of the two predominant parties is hugely positive”
For who? If you meant its positive for the NDP then that’s not worth writing. If you meant for Canada then try to prove it.

I’m open to what your saying, but this waters down a site that usually delivers well presented arguments.

Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: May 4, 2011, 12:20 pm

Hey RBDum, your quite a joker.

Comment from Rentier Fungicide
Time: May 4, 2011, 12:52 pm

Mr. Weir is sadly lacking in imagination if he believes that the Harper Government cannot and will not cut more deeply even than Paul Martin did during program review. It is true that the cuts may not be as sudden, nor have the same short-term disastrous effects on aggregate demand as the 1995 cuts, but the Conservative reductions promise to be more drawn out, and fundamentally more damaging, as they will be directed not just at spending reductions but rather at a fundamental reduction in the capacities of the federal state. For instance, the Canadian Wheat Board will be eliminated (its opponents in western Canada are already crowing with delight over its impending demise), the CBC will be all but eliminated, provisions against false reporting that excluded SUN-TV will be eliminated, Statistics Canada will be further reduced in capacity (and will, of course, not be permitted to conduct unbiased research), the federal spending power will be limited, the Canada Health Act will be dramatically watered down if not eliminated, the national gun registry will be eliminated, the reach of the CPP will be limited as support is given to private pension systems, and so-on. The Conservatives’ cuts will be incremental — they have, in fact, already made huge cuts, bit by bit, which have contributed to rising inequality — and we can expect more of the same. All the Liberal-NDP structures of the 1960s and 1970s will be eliminated, and we will have a national economic structure resembling that of pre-Depression Canada. Layton and Mulcair promise to provide a justificatory logic for this by their support for decentralization (which is directly encouraged by their support of Quebec nationhood).

Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: May 4, 2011, 1:52 pm

@Rentier

Only if we let them. But I would say Erin is being a bit optimistic, and so too am I in my posts above.

Truly the only power I think progressives have is to take the 103 seats we have and build a movement that is ultra active and nasty as that of what the right has built, continuing expanding the base and ultimately reach this threshold

–> a dynamic, robust social democratic force that is consistently on the verge of replacing Harper.

If we can achieve that, then Harper will be pressured into backing off his ideological attack on what is left of the post war compromise.

To me that is all that we can do, and that will take a whole lot of work on the ground to win over those hearts and minds.

It will be a battle and progressives need the support of all its allies.

For example- with the huge number of popular vote and seats that NDP received, I would think it would be a lot more plausible that the labour movement can come out of its hiding and opening support the NDP. Many more of its members undoubtedly voted for the NDP so the traditional duck and cover strategy which many unions in english Canada practiced in fear of raising the ire of members, could be replaced by a whole lot more open support in terms of on the ground non-monetary terms.

We need to level the playing field in terms of resources and support. That would be a first goal of this new orange force.

Already the business media is attacking the NDP stating this whole Quebec orange is but a one shot temporary arrangement.

Comment from Erin Weir
Time: May 4, 2011, 2:21 pm

RB, I am busy this week but please stay tuned for a return to the solid analysis of economic policy that you have come to know and love.

My point was simply that, beyond the current Conservative majority, Canada is far better off having a social democratic party as one of the two main contenders for government. I admit that I was just stating the obvious, but someone had to do it.

I think that the NDP should remain open to possibilities for cooperation with the Liberals and other parties. However, I also think that a natural further shift of progressive voters from the Liberal Party to the NDP could plausibly elect an NDP government even without any formal inter-party agreement.

Comment from Brandon L
Time: May 4, 2011, 3:40 pm

“The inflationism of the currency systems of Europe has proceeded to extraordinary lengths. The various belligerent Governments, unable, or too timid or too short-sighted to secure from loans or taxes the resources they required, have printed notes for the balance” (Look at the US, wink wink who is dooing all three with no end in sight)

Keynes went on to say in “1940, [argued] that the war effort should be largely financed by higher taxation and especially by compulsory saving (essentially workers loaning money to the government), rather than deficit spending, in order to avoid inflation” while the government spent the tax dollars collected. That screams, of fiscal responsibilty!!!!!! from John Maynar Keynes, or I guess he was wrong.

The quote is word for word, “in order to avoid inflation” which he seemd to argue would be a problem if the government did not raise taxes, and borrowed to that extreme, not sen since WW2.

If deficits do no harm, then we should be able to retain low taxes indefinitely. Since deficits will always lead to the virtous cycle.

I do not agree that Keynes today would ramp up deficits to levels not seen since WW2. When he did not do that himself.

When we have tax cuts, that lead to deficit, as a result of no offsetting reduction in spending, people save more then they otherwise should negating any benefit for lower taxes, while setting us up with higher prices.

So running up deficits, can and do backfire badly worldwide, after all debt is only a tool. Canadians will save more then they should in fear of paying down HARPERS deficit.

So for not having fiscal responsibility, by increasing spending at the same time on military, while keeping taxes low will create a situation for savings to come strictly from domestic programs, while net-net there are no surplusses, due to the growth of programs that Harper endorses. Or are you those railing about “living with-in youre means” going to claim Harper policies do just that, are fiscally responsible.

Having taxes raised to match spending is to be fiscally responsible, so revolutionary, so evil. Reducing spending to match tax revenue is fiscally responsible. Since they are the inverse of each other.

Since many wish were returning to levels not seen since WW2, how we pay for this is extremly important.

In order to avoid deficit financing, like Kynes, the taxes of everyones must be on the table. Taxing only the rich, would lead too deficit spending, which Keyne specifically avoided when ramping spending to such levels. I agree, with Keynes no deficit spending for spending at historic levels.

Im making the case Keynes did. If you refuse to raise everyones taxes, then frankly spending should be dramaticly reduced to match what the voters want to be taxed at.

Put simply, a US 1946–1964 or a Canadian 1935-1967 silver dime (10 cents) has a melt value of about USD$3.30.

For 30 cents I can feed myself the best cut of steak, I can purchase a gallon of gas for 15 cents. Ignore inflation at your own perril.

For a measely 1$ CDN, I cannot get the same “”bang for your buck”” that our own 10 cent silver coinage from the past can today for goods/services.

Comment from Travis Fast
Time: May 4, 2011, 3:51 pm

@ Brandon,

To quote Paul Krugman: “Keynes he be dead”

Comment from andrew jackson
Time: May 5, 2011, 2:12 am

Erin – I agree. Those who imagine a united Liberal – NDP progressive vote ignore the fact that the Liberals have always been divided on left / right lines and must be split to construct a left majority. I strongly suspect the Harper majority results from a last minute shift of Liberals to the Conservatives to stop the NDP – as shown by the change between the last polls and the actual vote.

Comment from Pierre Laliberté
Time: May 5, 2011, 4:01 am

I agree as well on the need to build a left majority.

But overall, I share Eric Pineault’s concerns about the consequences of a Conservative majority. The CPC is much closer to the Tea Party than the old Canadian tories: the damages that may be done will be considerable and might throw us back, way back. Has Ontario ever fully recovered from Harris’ Revolution?

I am deeply skeptical about the emergence of a centrist, pragmatist Harper governance that would, as Erin imply, be akin to the Liberal governance during the Chretien years. The guy is an ideologue and a “smart” one at that…

As for the future, I agree with Éric that the NPD breakthrough in Quebec could be short-lived if the party does not navigate the “national” question waters appropriately. Part of Harper’s appeal two elections ago was precisely the openings that he had made on that front. Look at him now. (Of course, Harper has the advantage of no longer needing MPs from Quebec.)

Given that the provincial election are slated for 2013. By the time, the NDP has another kick at the can, it will likely be when the PQ back in power. My guess is that one impact of the last election will be for most Quebecers to discover (albeit in a new and different way) that the center of gravity of their politics is a different one than the rest of the country. I would not be surprise if another referendum dynamics would get under way. The NPD may well get caught in the cross-fire.

But all of this is science-fiction for the time being. The reality is four solid years of hard right policies…

Comment from RBDumel
Time: May 5, 2011, 6:41 am

Thanks for the reply Erin. Sorry if I was rude, it was as much directed at the last few articles from all authors.
Also, I expected a lot after “The Treasury Transfer Effect” – that was good stuff.

I agree that the shift to the NDP will be beneficial. Taxes need to be raised and spending increases need to best serve the public, the NDP is the best party to champion those causes. I find it hard to consent that the Liberals deserve to be ousted, as I would argue they put Canada in a good position to ride out what could have been a very difficult recession. But I agree with you now that you’re more clearly stating it’s the best scenario given the Conservatives have the majority.

Sometime, I have silly dreams that next election the Conservatives will go the way of the Bloc, and somehow the Green Party will take over the west.

Comment from RBDumel
Time: May 5, 2011, 6:49 am

Sorry, also, as a long time reader who has just started posting. I would also like to thank you and the other authors for all the great articles.

This forum is a commendable effort to provide the public with unique economic insight.

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: May 5, 2011, 6:58 am

Pierre Laliberté, regarding your comment on Ontario’s ‘recovery’ from the Harris Conservatives: the McGuinty Liberals have been in majority power since then and what have THEY done?

Given the way the Chretien-Martin Liberals maintained what Mulroney did, why would anyone expect the next manifestation of federal Liberals–with Bob Rae as Leader?–to be any different?

Depending how far further to the Right Layton’s NDP will move in its forever quest to be ‘marketable,’ and to receive votes, what would a Layton Prime Ministership, or someone else should he not be healthly in 2015–PM Mulcair, anybody?–do to ‘recover’ from the Harper Conservatives?

I mean, it may not be “fiscally responsible” to, say, fund adequately post-secondary education, restore federal support to social assistance, medicare, affordable housing or create a national daycare program, pharmacare, a national high-speed rail system, jump-start new manufacturing, and stop the five or so nuclear stations needed to expand the Oil Sands–they are ethical, after all?

There is a long history of bald-faced lying by parties that campaign on the Left and govern on the Right, previously a Liberal trademark. Would it be that hard for an NDP, obsessed not with policy but power–also a previous Liberal trademark–to adopt the campaign strategy that follows?

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: May 5, 2011, 7:03 am

Keith Newman, regarding the ‘logic of household finance” wouldn’t it be the role of economists, the raison-d’etre of this blog, to educate on the limits of this ‘logic’?

The NDP will have 4 years to demonstrate its policy away from the rigours of an election campaign. Let’s hope they, the economists and the political economists use the time well.

Comment from Keith Newman
Time: May 5, 2011, 9:46 am

Denise Freedman:
I agree entirely.

Comment from Eric Pineault
Time: May 5, 2011, 7:03 pm

I think Mrs Freedman that this blog is exactly dedicated to doing that job and others, you’ll see posts by Armine, Andrew Jackson, Toby Sanger, Jim Stanford, Marc lee and others. You’ll noticed in my post I speak of “fiscal possibility” which was written as an explicit distinction from the approach of fiscal “responsibility” that you critique and that haunts a socially progressive left often fiscally and economically regressive…
On these issues my colleagues from the U. of Ottawa Marc Lavoie and Mario Seccaraccia would have a lot to teach us.

Comment from BB
Time: May 6, 2011, 7:16 am

If the NDP moves further right it’s game over, quebec voted for NDP because of it’s roots. When those roots are gone, NDP will be dropped like a bag of hammers.

Comment from Denise Freedman
Time: May 6, 2011, 2:57 pm

Eric Pineault, I have long followed the work of Armine Yalnizyan and Jim Stanford, in particular, not only in recent academic work but over the years through their ability to speak to non-specialized audiences. I have certainly been aware of, and even met Andrew Jackson through the NDP.

The question in my mind is always, as I have raised it in a number of comments to this, and other posts, regards the profile of the perspective that counters the reactionary effect of “living within one’s means,” that the federal government is just like a family, of “fiscal responsibility.”

Even as many discuss the way the NDP has either intentionally, pragmatically, or implicitly adopted the narrative of “fiscal responsibility” there must be a forceful public counterexample of “fiscal possibility”, as you put it–and probably more.

But, I do wonder why the notion of the “fiscal” seems to place a limit, even in your construction, to the struggle for equality.

There is a film of an interview with Paul Martin, Jr. who spoke about the deficit his father inherited from WWII when the father was Finance Minister; Jr. spoke of how much SMALLER his task in the mid-90’s was. He conceptualized it as a “task” and a “problem.”

Not poverty, nor health care, nor affordable housing was his “task.”

For the son the “fiscal possibility” was significantly smaller, yet the panic, and certainly what was done to assuage that panic, was more significant, with remaining significant effects to this day and on into the future.

Limiting “fiscal possibility.”

I remain unconvinced of the narrative of “fiscal possibility.”

This is why I speak of political economy and the effect of power–which is the subject of political economy–on values. And how values evolve over time in service to power. And my hope that progressive economists would challenge the values that limit progressive work. Even as Stanford’s recent study, if brought in the public square, might challenge the value of “fiscal possibility,” limited by the reasoned/rational conclusions of corporations NOT to invest unless they pay less taxes.

A person I know told me how frightened he was by the narrative of what was possible economically that he voted Conservative.

BTW, what gave you the idea I’m married.

If this is a translation of the French, Mme., and less a comment on marital status than of age, I suppose I’ve given enough signs of not being in my 20’s.

I have, however, stayed away from marital status with respect to Armine Yalnizyan, say, who has certainly spoken about her son(s).

I certainly couldn’t call you Master, an archaic reference to a young man. But that would be irrelevant, also. But it has fallen out of usage because it refers to men. I remains OK in English to reduce a woman to her putative martial status.

In English, Mrs. really doesn’t have the French effect of age recognition and respect.

Why would either my age or marital status have any bearing on my commentary?

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