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Archive for September, 2012

Three Cheers for the Fraser Institute!

At times, the Fraser Institute produces such helpful material. I hope they make their well-heeled funders, such as the multi billionaire Koch brothers, proud. However, I’m sure the Kochs are more concerned that missteps by their progeny Mitt and Ryan are derailing their chance to buy the US presidency. So back to the Fraser Institute […]

Just How Stupid is Niall Ferguson? Very Stupid.

“But the real point of me isn’t that I’m good looking. It’s that I’m clever. I’ve got a brain! I would rather be called a highly intelligent historian than a gorgeous pouting one” – Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, Sept. 2011. One of the predictable habits of the mainstream media is to seek out opinions on […]

Happy Crashiversary! Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Four years after Lehman Brothers collapsed, it’s time to take stock of things by asking a stock political question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Where you stand on the answer depends on where you sit. Many people, businesses and communities are still struggling to regain the ground they lost […]

Do Corporate Tax Cuts Really Pay For Themselves?

A new paper by Jack Mintz ( with Duanjie Chen) argues that “corporate tax reductions of more than 30% since 2000 have, contrary to the critics’ cries, failed to make an appreciable dent in tax revenues thanks to multinationals habit of shifting profits to Canada to take advantage of lower rates.” This is the subject […]

What’s Next for BC’s Carbon Tax?

The Minister leading up BC’s Carbon Tax Review, Kevin Falcon, may be gone – his departure came just as the deadline for submissions was closing – but the carbon tax lives on. For now. Back in 2008 when the carbon tax was announced, it was scheduled to rise from an initial level of $10 per […]

Measuring Youth Unemployment

Miles Corak has a great post up about Paul Krugman’s “favourite gauge” of unemployment, the employment rate.  Looking at the ratio of employed to population for working age men, he shows that the employment recovery in Canada appears to have stalled, moving very little since January 2011. The graph below shows youth unemployment (right axis) […]

Back of the Line Buddy

Posted below is my column from today’s Globe & Mail regarding this nefarious practice of providing “priority lanes” for higher-income customers — even (in the case of airport security screening) for a PUBLIC service that we all pay the same for!  And if you wonder why you get so pissed off when the high-flyer jumps […]

The End of Men?

The Globe and Mail on Saturday devoted two pages of its Focus section to a discussion of Hanna Rosin’s book, The End of Men. There are a few interesting anecdotes on changing sex roles, but there are no facts cited to substantiate the argument that North America is seeing the rise of a matriarchy as […]

Another push for jobs by shifting the tax burden on workers…

… in Portugal. Portugal’s Prime Minister announced on Friday that the government would raise workers’ social security contribution rates from 11% to 18% (about one month’s salary)… and decrease companies’ contribution rates from 23.5% to 18% in the same breath. The usual need for job creation is invoked as justificaion for the move… an interesting […]

The ECB and the Euro Crisis

Here is an excellent commentary by Andrew Watt on the new ECB commitment to buy bonds without limit to reduce interest rates on the government debt of troubled members of the Euro zone. While an important and necessary step, this still means that deflationary austerity will continue, and that there will be no offsetting stimulus […]

Tax Cuts, Dead Money, and Lackluster Jobs Growth

Over the past year, the Canadian labour force has grown by 185,000 people, but we have only added 176,600 jobs.  The population grew by 1.2%, but employment only grew by 1%.  The unemployment rate has not budged, at 7.3%, a far cry from the pre-recession rate of 6%. For youth, the picture is worse, with […]

Hayek and Contemporary Neo Liberalism

In the spirit of “know thy enemy”, I  recently read Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. (Note to the anxious – I survived the experience, and remain a convinced left Keynesian democratic socialist.) Hayek is, of course, the totemic figure of neo liberalism who fought Keynes and Keynesian economics in the 1930s and is the intellectual […]