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Flaherty’s Legacy: Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky

This piece was originally published at the Globe and Mail’s online Report on Business feature, EconomyLab.   There are two reasons why it is difficult to comment on the legacy of a finance minister. 1) It is a tremendously challenging job, anywhere, any time. Stewarding one of the largest economies in the world through a […]

IWD 2014: The “girl effect” reduces inequality, but Canada can’t coast on that much longer

Every year when International Women’s Day rolls by, I can’t help but reflect on power, how it’s shared, and how women use the power they have. This year, I am struck by women’s power to reduce inequality, and not just to help ourselves. Women are key to reducing income inequality. It’s been dubbed the girl effect, […]

Why the Minimum Wage Debate Isn’t Going to Go Away

Yesterday I tweeted this: <blink> Gap will raise minimum hourly pay Walmart “looking” at support of min wage raise In honour of the momentum, I am posting the piece I wrote for Economy Lab a while back, and including the numbers that drive the chart that attracted quite a lot of attention. There is a […]

Canada Post’s vow to ‘protect taxpayers’ needs a reality check

This piece was first published in the Globe & Mail. In a move that caught everyone off-guard, Canada Post announced a five point “action plan” last week that included phasing-out home delivery of the mail over the next five years, making Canada the only G7 nation to do so. Why? To “protect taxpayers.” Of all the reasons that merit […]

How Harper can avoid turning a Budget Implementation Bill into a Duffy budget bill

On November 25th, I made the following submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-4, Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2, on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.    1.     Introduction and Context Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Committee, as Members of Parliament […]

The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry – the story that just won’t quit

The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry is a story that has gripped our attention, and not just because it affects so many Canadians. It’s because this tumultuous story has more plot twists than a thriller. Yesterday the company stole the spotlight yet again with news that its future might not be dashed after […]

Trickle Down Would Work If It Weren’t For The Sponges At The Top

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, […]

When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

This piece was  published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.  Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty: 1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure of housing affordability. […]

Polozogistics: Nine Thoughts About the Choice of the New Bank of Canada Governor

  1. He’s Number Two: Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us? 2. […]

The Alternative Federal Budget 2013 – Doing Better, Together

These are the remarks by David MacDonald and I prepared for the press conference marking the release of the AFB 2013 in Ottawa, March 12, 2013. Time flies and our Alternative Federal Budget is now in its 19th year.  Year after year it has shown that we can have a Canada where we all do better together. […]

Women On Top, By the Numbers

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we ask: Are more women making it to the top in Canada? And what does that mean for the 100 per cent? The 2013 edition, by the numbers. (All data are most recently available statistics.) 1 out of 5: 21 per cent of the people in the top […]

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 […]

Why The Income Inequality Deniers Are Wrong

This article was published in an abridged form today in the National Post. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/21/armine-yalnizyan-sorry-andrew-coyne-but-income-inequality-is-a-real-problem/   I like this opening better so I posted it here. You couldn’t have made it through 2012 without running into a story about income inequality.  Chances are, it made you think about how you fit into the story.  That’s “entirely constructive”, […]

Welcome to the Wageless Recovery

The Harper government likes to remind Canadians that we’ve done better than most developed nations in bouncing back from the global economic crisis. But digging into the data shows why many people might be having trouble cheering this news: wages have not kept pace with inflation, and new hires are making 40 per cent less […]

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 […]

The Right Response to “No Job Is A Bad Job”

Last May federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said there was no such thing as a bad job. The Law Commission of Ontario may disagree. This week it put out a report about the rise in vulnerable workers and precarious jobs. Now that he’s heard from executives who think Canadians are paid too much, Mr. Flaherty […]

Baskin-Robbins and the Walmartization of Ice Cream

It’s been an unusually hot summer, and soaring temperatures have boosted sales of that quintessential summer food, ice cream. But Baskin-Robbins has decided to shut its production facility in Peterborough, Ont., and lay off 80 workers because of…wait for it… increased demand! From the department of “wait, what?”, here’s the scoop behind this brain-freeze-inducing decision. […]

While You Were Sleeping: Fed Policies Make It Easier to Hire a Cheaper You

A shorter version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab Have you noticed how common it has become to talk about replacing workers with even cheaper workers? If you’re looking over your shoulder, you’re not paranoid; you’re paying attention. There’s probably a cheaper you out there.  And in Canada, the […]

Who’s a bigger drag on Canada’s future? The old or the young?

This is my latest column for Canadian Business magazine.  Giorgio, a hard-working, smart-as-a-whip University of Toronto student, asked me a great question after a recent guest lecture: What if the biggest challenge facing Canadian businesses and governments in the coming years isn’t an aging society but the economic and fiscal drag of hundreds of thousands […]

New Generation of Thinkers Link Inequality, Innovation and Prosperity

(This guest blog was written by Mike Marin and Anouk Dey. It originally appeared in the Toronto Star on February 24. The authors are part of a team that produced the report Prospering Together (in English http://bit.ly/z4GQx5  and in French http://bit.ly/yabiK2) What do the Occupy Movement and Canadian software giant OpenText have in common? Most […]

In the Wake of the Crisis: Bully Capitalism

A shorter version of this article appears today at Economy Lab, the Globe and Mail’s on-line business feature.  Capitalism has entered an ugly new era, one that may work well for the shareholders of world, but not for the rest of us. I couldn’t help but notice that, on the very same day Caterpillar shuttered […]

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 […]

Occupying the Lange and O’Leary Exchange

Starting today I will be on a regular weekly biz panel for the Lang and O’Leary show, every Thursday night. The panel will take on two six minute segments to discuss the big economic stories of the day. Today’s proposed topics – the Eurozone mess, whither Canada’s GDP, is Occupy a media invention/will it hold […]

Austerity Kills: Conservative cure worst thing for what ails the economy says Stiglitz

Governments around the world are heading down a path to economic suicide. So said Nobel Prize-winning former chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, to hundreds of well-heeled financiers and decision-makers who paid a bundle to hear him in Toronto. With a voice as gruff as gravel, and an energy bristling with urgency, he […]

Roubini on the Instability of Inequality

Business-school professor and economist Nouriel Roubini earned his nickname Dr. Doom by repeatedly predicting the chain of events that would cause the global economic house of cards to fall down. Yesterday he laid out the economic dilemmas that are triggering a global Occupy movement and concludes: “Any economic model that does not properly address inequality […]

First We Take Manhattan….. What Occupy Wall Street Could Mean

This is not the stuff of usual protests. Over the past month, a little idea from a Vancouver outfit has mushroomed into a cross-continent movement. Occupy Wall Street, kicked off by Adbusters in July and coming to Toronto this weekend, has already spread to 70 American cities and is going global as protestors challenge society […]

One Way the Richest 1% Can Help the Other 99%

It’s often said that there aren’t enough rich people in Canada to make a real difference to fiscal policy and, in consequence, the rest of us. Yesterday Canadian Business’s annual special edition devoted to Canada’s richest 100 people hit the stands, where it will stay until Christmas. As a regular contributor I was invited to […]

Why even conservatives are worried about rising inequality

This essay was commissioned by the National Post.  It was published in today’s edition under the headline “A Problem for Everyone“.  In the print edition, the overline –  a large font summary of what you are about to read  written by the editors —  reads:  “Income inequality isn’t just unfair — it threatens the whole […]

Inequality is bad for business

In August Canadian Business magazine published my article on why inequality is bad for business.  It is produced in full below. Last week the International Monetary Fund, not known for left-leaning views, released a series of articles entitled “Why Inequality Throws Us Off Balance”. One of the papers is by Andrew Berg and Jonathan Ostry […]

Family Values and Budget Cuts

Once again, in the middle of summer, the anti-government government has unleashed more anti-policy policy via a compliant Statistics Canada. Who needs data when you’ve got family values? The Harper team knows what you need. (Hint: tax cuts. Oops! Not for you sister, if you’re a single mom.) The Globe and Mail’s Tavia Grant has […]