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  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canada-China FTA will leave workers worse off June 2, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is currently consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement. In CCPA’s submission to this process, CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair argues that an FTA based on Canada’s standard template would almost certainly reinforce rather than improve upon Canada’s imbalanced and deleterious trade with China. It can also be expected to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Faulty assumptions about pipelines and tidewater access May 30, 2017
    The federal and Alberta governments and the oil industry argue that pipelines to tidewater will unlock new markets where Canadian oil can command a better price than in the US, where the majority of Canadian oil is currently exported. Both governments have approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but a new report finds that […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Weathering the storm: is this the end of CRA’s political activities audits? May 5, 2017
    Yesterday, following a panel’s recommendation to allow charities more freedom to speak out, the federal government decided to suspend the Canada Revenue Agency’s controversial political activities audit program. Indeed this is good news for Canadian charities. Everyone at the CCPA is proud of the role our organization has played in challenging these audits and in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

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 racialized workers hardest

It also has sections with summaries of Canadian and provincial forecasts of main economic indicators, and discussions of  developments in inflation and wages increases by major sector and province.  It picks up on a number of discussions that have taken place on this blog.

The final figures aren’t in yet — and there are different ways of measuring it– but it looks like real wages will likely decline by the greatest amount since 1995.

A number of relevant reports came out after this publication went to translation.  These include:

  • Mark Carney’s  recent speech where I was heartened to see him emphasize that the problem we face is one of prolonged deficient demand.  (It was also interesting to note that one of the rationales cited for a lower than zero inflation target in the Bank of Canada’s Background document on renewal of the inflation target was it could provide workers with real wage gains when nominal wages are sticky.)
  • The IMF report on Canada issued published yesterday also raises concern overvalued house prices and the impact a correction would have on the economy through the wealth effect.  I wrote a piece on this in the Economic Climate publication four years ago.  At that time, my estimates were that Canadian real estate was overvalued by about 20% or $500 billion: with a housing wealth effect (MPC) of 6% as estimated by the Bank of Canada, that means that a correction would reduce GDP by about 2%.   The more sophisticated calculations in the IMF report are that house prices in Canada are overvalued by about 10% and that the MPC related to housing wealth is 4.3%.  As a result they report a smaller impact on GDP.
  • It is also good to see Don Drummond has an open enough mind to now issue a mea culpa about the economic policies he implemented and espoused for years, summarized just five years ago in his Economists’ Manifesto for Curing Ailing Productivity Growth.  At that time, he said there there was broad consensus among economists for those policies.  I suppose  he wasn’t reading this blog.
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