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Archive for February, 2013

Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy

A version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. (This version includes references to the debate plus charts and graphs from data specially tabulated from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The data don’t include the self-employed.) President Obama put the idea of raising the minimum wage on the radar in […]

Tales from the Mouth of the Fraser: Climate Change Denial Edition

Some colleagues at the US NGO Global Exchange tipped me off to some sneaky data doctoring done by the Fraser Institute on climate change. The source is Understanding Climate Change: Lesson Plans for the Classroom, a resource for high school teachers. The particular graph is on page 69 (first page if you click on Lesson 5), […]

How Productivity Falls When Planes Takeoff and Land

Late in the last calender year, the U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) sent a letter to the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) advising it to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during flights. “They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and […]

Breaking The Taboo on Monetizing Deficits

In a very long and fascinating speech which has been amplified by Martin Wolf in the FT, Lord Adair Turner seeks to break the taboo on discussion of the potential ability of central banks to monetize fiscal deficits. His argument boils down to a political economic one … Some monetization might be useful in certain […]

EI: It’s all in the details

What not to say in an interview if you’re on EI, and other nightmares The latest detail to emerge about the recent changes to EI is from the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles.  The Digest is a guide to enforcing Employment Insurance, with definitions of key terms, and elaborates on expectations of EI claimants and […]

Minimum Wage

A lot of debate in the US on Obama’s excellent proposal to hike the minimum wage. John Schmitt of CEPR has put out an excellent paper summarizing all of the research to show that the employment effects of reasonable increases are … Zero, zilch .. Due to various adjustment mechanisms including lower turnover, higher productivity […]

Getting the Facts Straight on EI Changes

In a guest post at the Broadbent Institute, I flesh out some of the impacts of EI changes with three (fairly typical) hypothetical stories of unemployed Canadians. There are certainly more extreme consequences felt by some already.  At least these folks have access to the Board of Referees. Many fear that access to natural justice […]

The IMF and the Canadian Manufacturing Crisis

A background study for the latest IMF report on Canada (see pages 42 to 51) adds further weight to the argument that the rise in the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar, driven in large part by high commodity prices, has underpinned a sharp decline in the US market share of Canadian manufacturers since 2000 […]

Fairness by design: a framework for tax reform in Canada

A new CCPA (National) report by Marc Lee and myself argues that Canada’s tax system needs a “fairness” overhaul and presents a framework for progressive tax reform. Those of you who have been following our tax work so far will find this study a great complement to the BC Tax Options Paper. Tax policy is […]

Canadians Giving Up on the World of Work

The glaring contrast between employment numbers, and the unemployment rate, was highlighted by today’s labour force numbers from Statistics Canada (capably dissected elsewhere on this blog by Angella MacEwan). Paid employment (ie. employees) declined by 46,000.  Total employment (including self-employment) fell by 22,000.  Yet the unemployment rate fell to 7% — its lowest level since […]

Job Market Worsens in January

After five months of  job gains, the job market turned dismal in January. Officially, the unemployment rate fell from 7.1% to 7.0%, the lowest it’s been since December 2008. This is despite a loss of 45,800 jobs (not counting self-employment). The explanation is an out flux of discouraged workers from the labour market, which caused the ‘real’ […]

Tax and the Top 1%

Further to Toby’s comments, Miles Corak has posted an excellent commentary on the new numbers on high incomes, together with a spread sheet showing average effective tax rates by income group from the 1980s. The big story is that the average effective tax rate for the very affluent has been stable since the early 1980s […]