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Archive for June, 2011

International Journal of Labour Research

The new issue of the International Journal of Labour Research (edited by Canada’s own Pierre la Liberte ) entitled “Crisis: Causes, Prospects and Alternatives” is now available. The issue takes a critical look at policies that led to the 2007-08 crisis and considers alternatives to orthodox policies both North and South. It features articles by […]

A July 1 Portrait of Corporate Canada

My copy of the Globe and Mail the other day included the July edition of the Report on Business magazine, featuring its annual ranking of the top 1000 publicly-traded corporations in Canada.  The survey makes for fascinating reading.  In honour of Canada Day, I would like to present a few statistical factoids about these huge […]

The Underground Economy and Business Tax Evasion

Statscan have produced interesting and important new estimates of the upper bound size of the “underground” or “non observed”  economy, putting it at a seemingly modest 2.2% of GDP in 2008. (Some of this is already included in GDP which is  adjusted to take into account some hidden and unreported economic activity.) The 2.2% estimate […]

BC’s Regressive Tax Shift

With much of the talk on taxes in BC about the HST, we issued a new report today that looks at the bigger context for BC’s tax system (Vancouver Sun oped here, CTV News story here). Iglika Ivanova, Seth Klein and I compare and contrast BC’s tax system after a decade where tax cuts were […]

Unions and Inequality

  An important paper by Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld which is forthcoming in the American Journal of Sociology finds that the decline in private sector union density in the US  (from 34% to 8% for men, and from 16% to 6% for women) explains one fifth to one third of the increase in inequality […]

Use University Research to Increase Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing jobs have been declinining as a percentage of total jobs in most OECD countries for several decades, with Ontario being especially hard-hit as a jurisdiction. At the end of the Second World War, manufacturing jobs accounted for 26% of all Canadian jobs; by 2007, this figure had dropped to just 12%. And as I’ve […]

Best Books on the Economic Crisis

With the Summer reading season at hand, here is a short list – in no particular order – of  the best books I have read over the last couple of years on the roots and implications of the Great Recession – essential reading for all progressive economists. John Cassidy. How Markets Fail: The Logic of […]

Not allowed to talk about poverty

BC Stats put out a release yesterday with the headline “Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs) are a Poor Measure of Poverty” and author Dan Schrier gets in a dirty hit right in first paragraph: Despite protestations from Statistics Canada that LICOs are not meant to be used as a measure of poverty, there are many groups […]

Who Holds the Family Purse-Strings?

Statscan have released an interesting paper, “The Income Management Strategies of Older Couples in Canada.” It looks at who controls the family finances in couples with one partner aged 45 and over. (They used the age cut off because a special question was added to the General Social Survey which is restricted to that age […]

Fossil fuel expansion as a crime against humanity

After at 2010 that was one of the warmest years on record, 2011 has shown us astonishing patterns of extreme weather worldwide. It would take a long time to make the full list, but you know what I mean: tornadoes, floods, drought, record cold in some parts, record heat in others, hailstorms (Al Gore does […]

The Kids Are Not All Right

As is well-known, young people are still bearing the brunt of the recession. The employment rate for youth aged 15-24 last month was 55.6%, well down from 60.3% back before the recession in September, 2008 due to an increase in unemployment and an increase in those not looking for work.  And the proportion of youth […]

The Velvet Glove Comes Off Harper Government’s Labour Relations Agenda

Even though labour relations is largely a provincial responsibility in Canada, we were worried about what would happen in this field under a Harper majority.  And it didn’t take long to find out. In the disputes at both Air Canada and Canada Post, the government waded into the fray in a pre-emptive and utterly one-sided […]

World Bank Joint Ventures With JP Morgan

(The following was sent by ITUC Washington representative Peter Bakvis and deserves wider distribution. While this action by the World Bank might reduce food prices at the margin, it would be far preferable for them to push for regulation of speculation in food instead of joining in a destructive game.)   In partnership with Wall […]

How Rob Ford Can Fix Social Housing

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Mr. Ford would like to see a considerable number of units from TCHC’s existing stock sold off.  For background on the issue, please my blog post of April 13, which can be found here. In today’s piece, I […]

Still Progressive and family friendly: evaluating Québec’s income tax policy

University of Sherbrooke economist and fiscal specialist Luc Godbout with Suzie St-Cerny and Michaël Robert-Angers has just published a timely research paper evaluating the net fiscal impact on households of Québec’s income tax system.Timely because, as discussed here be Armine Yalnizyan recent data from stats can shows that though globally income inequality has risen during […]

Incomes in Canada – Booming and Busted

Today’s release of the annual Income in Canada report is Statistics Canada’s first word on the impact of the Great Recession on Canadians’ incomes. The report in The Daily was presented as a non-event, but the data reveal important stories about the winners and losers since the recession. What comes through loud and clear is […]

Is Capitalism Terminally Ill?

Today (June 15th) the Toronto Star broke news that the NDP was planning to drop the term “socialism” from its party’s platform. This was a mere formality of what had been in existence for decades: the party hasn’t been “socialist” in any shape or form for a very long time. On the very same day, […]

Incomes and the Recession

Today’s Statscan release “Incomes of Canadians” provides data for 2009 and a partial reading on the impacts of the recession. (I say partial because the 2008 annual average data were impacted by the onset of the recession in the last quarter of the year, and since these impacts continued well into 2010.) The data give […]

Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution: More Voices

How coincidental that the current number of the Canadian Investment Review arrived in my in-box today, just hours after CAW members at Air Canada hit the bricks to reject the company’s demand to abolish the defined benefit pension plan for new hires (and impose major cuts in pensions for the existing workforce).  The demand to […]

Evaluating Tax Cuts: You Read It Here First

Don Drummond has an op-ed in today’s Toronto Star concluding: Federal and provincial governments and the Canadian business sector should [establish] monitoring mechanisms that will permit regular reports to Canadians on whether the Canadian corporate tax revolution is producing benefits for them. As an advocate of corporate tax cuts, he believes that such benefits exist. […]

The Benefits of Higher Royalties

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has launched a great new blog, Imagine What We Could Do, about the things Saskatchewan should accomplish by raising resource royalties. It draws upon this blog’s analysis of how the province could collect more resource revenue and outlines public expenditure priorities for those funds.

Air Canada Bargaining and the Fight for Middle Class Jobs

CAW members at Air Canada are coming down to the wire in their bargaining with the company, with a strike deadline set for this Monday at midnight.  It’s really the first “normal” round of bargaining the workers have been able to undertake since 2000.  Since then, they’ve been through two rounds of CCAA court-supervised restructuring […]

PEF at the 2011 CEA Meetings

The ubiquitous Ish Theilheimer of the left-wing on-line news site Straight Goods has written a very generous profile of the Progressive Economics Forum. He hung out at last weekend’s CEA meetings at the University of Ottawa for a while, and caught a few PEF members (including myself, David Robinson, and Brendan Haley) on the way […]

Fix PSE System Before Building Addition!

According to an article in yesterday’s Toronto Star, the Ontario government will create room for 60,000 new students in its colleges and universities by 2015-2016, 10% of which will be for graduate students. (I assume this means that, by 2015-2016, there will be 60,000 more students enroled in Ontario’s post-secondary insitutions than is currently the case, and that […]

Municipalities, Procurement and Canada-EU Trade

There is an excellent post by Scott Sinclair at the CCPA blog.

The $0.3 Billion Question

Machiavelli has nothing on these guys.  Let’s deconstruct for a moment the central message of today’s 2011 Federal Budget, Take 2:  “Storm clouds are gathering in the world economy.  We must rush to get our fiscal house in order, lest we be struck by another tempest.  We will advance our own ambitious timetable for balancing […]

Federal Budget Refried

Was it worth the wait?  Hardly.   Today’s federal budget is about as appetizing as two month-old pizza warmed up in the microwave.  I guess they deserve high marks for consistency, though not for economic policy or a long list of other things. The Harper government’s June Budget is almost entirely a reprinted version of the […]

The Case Against Wage Insurance

 At the CEA meetings I participated on a panel organized by IRPP to discuss a recent paper  – by Finnie and Gray – on older laid-off workers and the policy option of “wage insurance.”  The paper shows that older laid off workers leaving stable jobs and finding new employment typically experience significant declines in earnings […]

The Town Without Poverty

A guest post from Richard Pereira, a recent winner of the PEF Essay Contest… – Canadian Economics Association – The Town Without Poverty There were hundreds of speakers at this year’s CEA conference in Ottawa.  About a dozen of these were designated “Special Lectures/Conférences spéciales” and among them were Jack Mintz on “The GST After […]

Reduce Student Debt to Reduce Household Debt

At this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association, Armine Yalnizyan gave a presentation entitled “Surviving the Recovery:  The Distribution of Canadian Household Debt.” The panel was co-sponsored by the Canadian Association for Business Economics and the Progressive Economics Forum. As Armine made clear in her presentation, household debt in Canada has steadily risen over the […]