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The Progressive Economics Forum

Archive for January, 2014

BC’s Big Favour? LNG Exports and GHG Emissions

The hype on LNG has grown to staggering proportions. I have not had much time to debunk all of the government’s grotesque exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But Christy Clark’s claim that BC is “doing the world a favour” by exporting LNG to Asia made me write this oped, which got picked up in today’s Vancouver Sun: Is […]

PotashCorp Projects Low Royalties

Today’s fourth-quarter report indicates that PotashCorp paid “provincial mining and other taxes” of $194 million on potash sales of $3 billion in 2013. In other words, Saskatchewan’s resource surcharge and potash production tax amounted to just 6.5% of the value of potash sold. Adding the basic Crown royalty (which PotashCorp includes in “cost of goods […]

Dutch Disease, Prices and Wages in Saskatchewan

Jim Stanford recently pointed out that many of the conservative economists who had defended the overvalued loonie have quickly shifted to applauding its depreciation. The Government of Saskatchewan may be making a similar conversion on the road to Damascus. When federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair expressed concern about Dutch disease, premier Brad Wall denied that […]

Problematic sources of recent real wage growth

The past 18 months have seen real wages increase in Canada. (Yes, I double-checked.) Indeed, real wages have gone through two distinct phases of growth since the financial crisis hit the global economy in 2007. This may be surprising as we have been accustomed to hearing about the stagnation of real wages and the “decoupling” […]

The relentlessly hypocritical Gwyn Morgan

Another column by Gwyn Morgan in the Globe and Mail and another case of a 0.1 percenter telling the rest of us to “Do as I say, not as I do.” This time, it’s Gwyn recycling trash from the CFIB and Fraser Institute to claim defined benefit pensions for public sector workers are too generous […]

2014 Essay Contest

The details of the Progressive Economics Forum’s 2014 Student Essay Contest are now online. The submission deadline is May 5. Please put up this poster to promote the contest.

Are Higher Minimum Wages Un-Canadian?

The debate over increasing the minimium wage, so clearly necessary to lift working incomes above the poverty line (not to mention boost consumer spending power), is heating up in many provinces.  Predictably, free-market theorists are pushng back (as they have since the concept of minimum wages was first invented over a century ago).  Here is […]

The Odd Conversion of Mainstream Economists to the Virtues of Depreciation

The long-overdue depreciation of Canada’s currency is gathering steam. The dollar lost 8 cents against its U.S. counterpart, in fits and starts, over 2013. It’s lost another 2 cents since the start of 2014, and negative sentiment about the currency is accumulating among financial analysts and traders. Indeed, once the expectation that the loonie will […]

Tim Hudak: Scott Walker wannabe

Tim Hudak is sounding — and looking — even more like Scott Walker these days. The Ontario Conservative leader’s pledge to create one million new jobs sounds like a direct rip-off of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s promise to create 250,000 new jobs in his four year term.   Only the state, er province and numbers are […]

Call for Nominations: Galbraith Prize in Economics 2014

The PEF’s biannual John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics will be awarded this summer for the fourth time. This is a call for nominations from PEF members in good standing. If you would like to nominate someone please email me at galbraith@progressive-economics.ca with a couple paragraphs to support your nomination (300 words max). Nominations will close February 2. The […]

2013 Left Us Wanting More … Jobs

The December jobs report was a spectacular finish (not in a good way) to a rather discouraging year for the Canadian labour market. When the dust had settled, it turned out that employment growth averaged 8,500 per month in 2013, compared with 25,900 in 2012. This anaemic job growth was not enough to keep up with the growth in the labour force, as on average, […]

StatCan Debunks Small-Business Mythology

Canadian economic commentators often worship small business as the supposed source of economic dynamism and growth. This cult of small business has greatly influenced public policy, with federal and provincial governments giving huge tax preferences to small corporations. But new Statistics Canada research finds: “The gap between the levels of labour productivity in Canada and […]

Are Younger and Older Workers Fighting for Jobs?

There was a spate of media stories recently on a US report finding that increased employment of seniors has no negative impacts at all on young people also seeking work. In fact, the study by leading US economist Alicia Munnell, looking mainly at the experience of US states, did say that the so-called “lump of […]

Intellectual Dishonesty at the Ivey Business Journal

Under the headline “Canada Isn’t Rotten to the Core”, the new editor of the Ivey Business Journal, Thomas Watson, attacked my book “Thieves of Bay Street” in his inaugural editorial. Although the book hit bookstores almost two years ago, and has faded from view, I found this assault so distorted to what “Thieves” explores I […]