Main menu:

Posts by Author

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

Progressive Bloggers

Meta

Recent Blog Posts

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Archive for December, 2011

Social Insurance Benefits Increase!

Amidst the plethora of media reports on “payroll tax” increases for 2012, there was little mention of increases in benefits.  For example, the Toronto Sun,cued by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, reported: If you feel a hand grabbing at your wallet next week, calling the cops won’t do any good because it’s the federal government picking […]

Why Not Lock In Low Interest Rates?

The federal government has failed to take up an historic opportunity to lock in ultra low interest rates on long term Government of Canada bonds. Normally – as outlined in annual debt management reports – the government follows a strategy which is intended to achieve two main goals -  low overall debt servicing costs, and […]

Flaherty’s Christmas List – all Mixed Up

Following recent dismal reports on rising unemployment, stagnant GDP growth, and a deteriorating economic outlook, we can only hope federal Finance minister Jim Flaherty will provide some Christmas cheer with changes “to better promote job creation and economic growth” (as he’s  asked for advice on through his pre-budget consultations). Unfortunately, Santa Flaherty seems to have […]

Economic Climate and Inequality

The December issue of the quarterly Economic Climate for Bargaining publication I produce is now on-line.  This issue has a number of pieces on issues of inequality, including: Rising inequality is hurting our economy Labour rights, unions and the 99% Canadian economy bleeding jobs; public sector cuts to intensify Recession and cuts hit Aboriginal and […]

Canada Goose Egg

This morning, Statistics Canada reported zero economic growth in October. While growth had been driven by strong mining and fossil-fuel exports during the third quarter, Canadians got a lump of coal in October. This Christmas goose egg should come as a wake-up call to economic policymakers. It follows Labour Force Surveys showing two consecutive months of […]

Taxing Capital Gains

The following also appears in The Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab: Earlier this week, Kevin Milligan questioned proposals “to increase the tax on capital gains.” Currently, Canadian income tax applies to only 50 per cent of capital gains. Milligan argues that light personal taxation is justified for income that has already been subject to corporate […]

Other People’s Money

“Other People’s Money” by Justin Cartwright (Bloomsbury, 2011) is to the novel what the wonderful “Margin Call” is to film – a fictionalized but convincing account of high finance and the crisis of 2008. In this case, the central characters are the old money family owners of a private London investment bank which has incurred […]

Is Money Enough? The Meaning of 6% and Flaherty’s Health “Plan”

As Christmas presents go, this one was a shocker:  Over lunch on Monday, cash-strapped Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promised provincial and territorial finance ministers he’d increase federal funding for health care by six per cent each year for the next five years.  No strings attached. No negotiations.  A done deal.  With a catch. The provinces […]

Modest Inflation Outstrips Wages and Canada Social Transfer

Statistics Canada reported today that the annual inflation rate remained 2.9% and the Bank of Canada’s core rate remained 2.1% in November. The monthly increase in consumer prices slowed to 0.1% in November from 0.3% in October. The monthly increase in core prices slowed to 0.1% in November from 0.2% in October. Inflation remains modest […]

Conservative Health Transfers

During the federal election, I noted in a Toronto Star op-ed that the federal Conservative platform entails significant fiscal costs for provincial governments. I accepted the Conservatives’ promise to continue the 6% escalator for the Canada Health Transfer, but worried that they might cut other transfers of similar value. Today, the Finance Minister unveiled plans […]

EI Coverage Falls Below 40%

It may be a grim Christmas for thousands of unemployed Canadians. Today’s Employment Insurance figures show that fewer workers received benefits in October, even as more became unemployed and filed EI claims. Specifically, the number of people receiving regular benefits declined from 546,580 in September to 541,230 in October. The Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment […]

Sitting on the Sidelines: Young Workers Miss Out on the Recovery

As is well known, the youth unemployment rate remains high, and well above average. It stood at 14.1% in November or more than double the unemployment rate of 6.3%  for persons aged 25 to 54, and 6.2% for those aged 55 and over. What is a little bit more surprising is that the youth unemployment […]

Don’t let dubious political tactics turn us off politics

Here’s a guest post from Ben Gillies, a political economy grad from the University of Manitoba. Canadians Must Not Let Dubious Political Tactics Turn Us Off Politics Altogether By Benjamin Gillies Last week, the Conservatives admitted their party was behind a rash of phone calls to Liberal Irwin Cotler’s federal riding in Montreal, in which […]

Time for Corporate Canada to Step Up to the Plate

Mark Carney’s widely publicized speech on the state of the global and domestic economy is worth a careful read. He is bang on in much of his analysis of what ails the advanced economies today – the ongoing deleveraging from a long period of unsustainable public and private debt accumulation relative to GDP in which […]

Inequality and Climate Injustice: A Durban Post-Mortem

The United Nations climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, ended 2011 with a whimper. After a year in which climate disasters rolled across the globe, major polluting nations like Canada chose to ignore them, seeking instead to disrupt the Durban negotiations, then blew the world a raspberry, by officially pulling out of the Kyoto […]

Battle of the Wages study dispels myths about public sector wages

A comprehensive study released today by CUPE shows there’s no evidence public sector workers are paid consistently more than those in similar jobs in the private sector. Instead, overall average pay in the public sector is remarkably similar when compared against similar jobs in the private sector: only 0.5 per cent higher. This public sector […]

Call for Nominations: 2012 Galbraith Prize in Economics

In June 2012, the PEF will be awarding the third John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics. Nominations are now open to all PEF members in good standing (if you are a lapsed member or want to join for the first time, click here), and the window for nominations will stay open until January 31, 2012. […]

Keynesian Productivity

Statistics Canada released an interesting study today on the slowdown of productivity growth in Canadian manufacturing. Conservative economists tend to view productivity as a microeconomic issue, reflecting the allocation of scarce resources through the market. The way to maximize productivity is to remove taxes, regulations and other “barriers” to the market’s free functioning. However, the […]

Were the Canadian Banks Bailed Out?

The conventional line has been, no. Our banks were strong. Unlike the US and Europe, no bailout was needed to deal with the global financial crisis of 2008. This line, of course, always conveniently neglected the Extraordinary Financing Framework, or dismissed it as trivial. Now Finance Minister Flaherty – seeking new powers to turn down […]

World Economics Association

Here is the first newsletter of what promises to be a very worthwhile initiative.

Investors Gouged by High Fees

Good coverage in the Globe for the CLC’s calculations on the huge negative impact of high management fees on investment returns from RRSPs and the like, as opposed to the low cost CPP. Does anybody out there find the investment fund industry response (we are providing good advice) convincing? If so, you will just love […]

Mind the OECD Credibility Gap

Further to Toby’s post, the OECD report on inequality is well worth a careful read. It bolsters, through careful empirical and cross country analysis, two key arguments long advanced by the labour movement and progressive economists: -  key trends in the labour market – widening wage disparity between top earners and the rest, and the […]

OECD on Inequality

Following concern expressed by the IMF, the Conference Board and of course thousands of protesters around the world, the OECD has just released an extensive 400 page report on the problem of growing inequality: Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps on Rising. I haven’t read through it yet, and it also has quite a lot […]

The Next Euro Debate

An astute piece from Andy Watt. He thinks that we shall indeed soon see what markets are anticipating – the long deferred grand bargain, in which the ECB backstops euro bonds  (thus averting a banking and sovereign debt crisis), in return for which euro countries agree to  much enhanced surveillance of national fiscal policies. That […]

RIP Joe Kuchta

I join other progressive bloggers in mourning the loss of Joe Kuchta. As CBC reported, his investigative approach to Saskatchewan and Saskatoon politics was widely respected. I drew upon his insights several times in debating the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement.

Record-Low Manufacturing Employment

Today’s Labour Force Survey indicates that the seemingly robust economic growth reported by Statistics Canada earlier this week is not translating into improved job prospects for Canadian workers. For the second consecutive month, employment is down and unemployment is up. (By contrast, the situation improved south of the border.) Manufacturing: Another Record Low Although overall […]

Of Bailouts and Liquidity Shakedowns

Here is an amazing multimedia article published by Bloomberg Markets Magazine in the U.S., that lists all of the individual banks which received financial assistance from the U.S. Federal Reserve during the 2008-09 crisis.  It shows each bank’s peak borrowing from the Fed, the number of days they held the funds, and the timeline for […]