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The Progressive Economics Forum

Hudak job cuts impact on communities

Today the Ontario Federation of Labour and CUPE Ontario published calculations I prepared of how Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s promise to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs will be felt at the local level, on cities and communities across the province. The original OFL release provides info on the magnitude of these impacts for the 15 largest census metropolitan […]

Tim Hudak, job-killer

It’s a bit of a headscratcher. First, Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak builds his whole campaign around a promise to create one million new jobs in Ontario over eight years, then one of his first campaign commitments threats  is to reduce the number of Ontario government employees by 100,000, together with a wage freeze for every […]

Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014

Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE. The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website at http://cupe.ca/economics/missing-action-federal-budget-2014 together with CUPE’s press release at: http://cupe.ca/economics/federal-budget-2014-help-hurt-canadian Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014  CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response   Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget Using more […]

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 […]

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 […]

Canada’s (not so incredible) shrinking federal government

Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years.   (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958). Total federal government spending as a share […]

What happened to the recovery?

(The following is slightly adapted from a short piece on page 3 in the new issue of  Economy at Work, the quarterly publication I produce for CUPE, which also covers a lot of other relevant issues.)   It’s been a little over four years since Canada’s economy bottomed out in mid 2009.  While we didn’t suffer as deep […]

The benefits of sick leave — and of absenteeism

Most of us know the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”   That’s why we’re told by teachers to keep our kids home from school when they’re sick, so they get better and they don’t get others sick as well.  It’s why there’s increased focus on leading healthy lives, prevention […]

What’s the real risk and cost for Regina’s wastewater P3?

The City of Regina is engaged in a controversial debate about a proposed public private partnership (P3) for the city’s wastewater plant. Residents formed a Regina Water Watch group to keep the facility public.  They collected enough names to take the issue to a municipal referendum on September 25th, despite attempts by the city to […]

Who really bears the risk for P3s?

Canada is now the second biggest market for public private partnerships (P3s) in the world, as a recent Conference Board report showed (on page 30, see my initial critique here). P3s are big business: Canadian governments closed deals on a reported $7 billion in P3 contracts in both 2010 and 2011.  This was the highest […]

NHS fails low incomes–and Canadians

Unfortunately the following note to readers from today’s release of the third and final set of data from the National Household Survey by Statistics Canada speaks for itself: Note to readers Comparability of low-income estimates Low-income estimates from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) compared with previous censuses show markedly different trends than those derived from other surveys […]

Blissful Ignorance: another Conference Board report on P3s

The Conference Board of Canada has produced another report on P3s, funded by the federal and provincial P3 agencies and the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships (CCPPP). Unfortunately and sadly predictably, it’s another exercise in largely blissful ignorance promoting P3s, while glossing over or ignoring their major problems. For instance, there’s no mention of […]

A Dozen Reasons why Bill C-377 is the Worst

There has appropriately been a lot a criticism about Bill C-377 at House of Commons committees and the Senate.  Hugh Segal has been particularly eloquent as have the many submissions. Graham Cox has a good selection of them on his Citizens’ Press website. Here’s a short summary with a dozen reasons why it’s so bad: […]

The CFIB’s Municipal Manipulations

After analyzing “research reports” issued by the Fraser Institute or the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), I usually end up shaking my head in disbelief. Do they really need to so grossly distort and manipulate the statistics to make their arguments? The answer is invariably “yes”.  That’s because the underlying facts are often so […]

Canada’s bloated 1 per cent

Statistics Canada’s release on the escalating incomes of the top 1 per cent gained a lot of media coverage — and also provoked some very defensive reactions by major organs of the Canadian media. This included an almost rabid column by Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran accusing Statistics Canada of engaging in class warfare and, in […]

New historical lows in EI coverage

This  is a guest post by Paul Tulloch on the deterioration of Employment Insurance coverage, also responding Statscan’s release of EI figures for October 2012. The painful toll that job loss and unemployment can unleash on Canadian families has traditionally been managed with Canada’s once quite functional Employment Insurance (EI) program. However, today’s Statistics Canada’s EI […]

Exchange Rates, the Price of Oil and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel

This is a guest post by Paul Tulloch, of LivingWork.ca and frequent commentator on this blog, reporting on some  significant and timely work he prepared for the northern gateway pipeline review panel, analyzing correlations betwen the price of oil and the Canadian dollar. Exchange Rates, the Price of Oil and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel […]

The Austerity Trap

Below is a recent editorial from the New York Times that does an excellent job of summarizing the failures of austerity policies. The NYTimes also published a very good analysis of how austerity measures have actually increased debt loads in many countries, instead of reducing them:  “Despite Push for Austerity, European Debt has Soared” I made […]

Ontario hiding savings from lower interest rates

The Ontario government Fall Economic Statement and Fiscal Review ignores and hides billions savings the province will gain from lower borrowing rates in coming years. While this statement acknowledges that borrowing rates will be considerably lower in coming years–and more than 100 basis points lower in 2014–their forecast of debt interest costs (on page 85) […]

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 […]

Dead Money

Kudos to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney for raising the profile of the over $500 billion Canadian corporations are holding in excess cash surpluses and not investing in the economy, which garnered front page coverage (and kudos to the CAW for inviting him to speak.) It’s not the first time he’s raised this  concern. […]

Canadian banks use of tax havens keeps growing

A growing share of Canada’s investment overseas is being channeled by Canadian banks into tax havens. The latest Statistics Canada figures  show 24% of Canadian direct investment overseas in 2011 went to the top twelve tax havens, up from 10% in 1987.   In fact, tax havens of the Barbados, Cayman Islands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda were […]

Strong public support for financial transaction taxes

An international poll commissioned by the International Trade Union Confederation found very strong support in many countries, including Canada, for the introduction of Financial Transactions Taxes (FTTs), such as the Robin Hood Tax.   Trade unions provided results of this poll in their meetings with world leaders at the G20 meetings in Los Cabos, Mexico. Despite initially […]

Conservatives’ small-minded budget kills jobs and fails Canadians

Here’s the budget analysis I prepared for CUPE’s website. Despite its size and the hundreds of measures it details, Harper’s 2012 budget demonstrates just how small-minded their vision is.  Canada faces major challenges, with 1.4 million unemployed, stagnant productivity growth, a crisis in retirement security and growing inequality.  Instead of addressing these challenges, what this […]

Why taxing food staples should not be considered a policy option in Canada

Here’s an excellent piece by Sam Boshra, about the recent proposal by Michael Smart and Jack Mintz to apply the GST to food, from Sam’s blog at Economic Justice: Low-income households can’t buy food today with a larger HST rebate they hope to get sometime in the future.  A key objective of the social safety net, […]

Could McGuinty’s cuts be worse than Harris?

The Ontario government’s long awaited and much discussed report of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (aka, the Drummond report) was finally publicly released this afternoon. As was rumoured, the report says Ontario would need to increase program spending by no more than 0.8% per year for the government to reach balance […]

Recalculating inflation: billions in savings for governments and employers paid for by workers and pensioners

The top story in the Globe and Mail today reports on something I warned about a year ago:  Statistics Canada is making changes to the way it calculates the Consumer Price Index. At that time I suspected changes to calculations of the CPI would be introduced as part of the renewal of the inflation target with […]

Tax Shifting

Earlier this week, the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab published a piece by Stephen Gordon arguing that high income and corporate taxes won’t generate much revenue.  Gordon used used the metaphor of Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s (finance minister to the Louis XIV, the “Sun King”) that the art of taxation was like plucking feathers from a goose: “ obtain the […]

Rising Inequality Spooking the 0.0001%

Contributors to this blog–and CCPA experts–have been warning about the negative economic and social consequences of rising inequality for decades.   Now the even the 0.0001% are getting concerned.   Experts polled for the Global Risks Report for this month’s meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos –one of the most eleite gatherings of the powerful in […]

Cost of Inequitable Tax Loopholes Increases

Finance Canada published its annual Tax Expenditure Report for 2011 and it shows that the cost of some of the most inequitable tax preferences and loopholes continues to rise. For instance the stock option deduction, which allows CEOs and executives to pay tax at half the rate of ordinary working income, is estimated to cost the federal […]