The new Grecian formula: still toxic

The latest issue of the quarterly Economic Climate for Bargaining publication that I produce has just been posted on CUPE’s website. In this issue I have pieces about: the new spectre that is haunting Europe, this time of a public debt crisis impact analysis of Ontario’s HST tax reform by income group, already discussed below some analysis of recent employment, inflation and […]

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Hungarian Crisis?

The Austrian School is a venerable tradition in economics, albeit one antithetical to this blog’s perspective. But it became apparent this morning that we should instead have been studying Hungarian economics. As far as I can tell, a vice-chairman of Hungary’s right-wing governing party (not a government official) made some loose remarks about public finances being so bad that the […]

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Tax the very rich and solve the PBO problem

A guest post from PEF Steering Committee Marc Lavoie of the University of Ottawa: Tax the very rich and solve the PBO problem Among the dozen or so sessions I attended at the meeting of the Canadian Economics Association last week-end in Quebec City, one was devoted to the forthcoming fiscal crisis and another to income inequality. Kevin Page, the […]

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Why Deleveraging Hurts So Much

Last Friday I had the honour of sharing the podium (and a good supper afterward) with Steve Keen, the awesome Australian economist who was recently named the winner of the “Revere Award” for most accurately forewarning of the global financial crisis.  In fact, that award was announced the same day we spoke together to the Politics in the Pub speaker’s […]

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Who’s paying for the party?

Earlier this month the Economist ran a leader (editorial) and longer article asking and then largely answering who should for the costs of the economic crisis (public services and workers of course!). That’s when I wrote the piece that leads the March 2010 issue of the Economic Climate for Bargaining publication that I produce quarterly.  (I was in a bit of […]

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Ontario Budget Advice

Last Monday, I testified twice to the Ontario legislature’s finance committee: as an “expert witness” and then on behalf of the United Steelworkers. I emphasized the provincial deficit’s manageability, the folly of trying to reduce it through cutbacks or privatization, the importance of maintaining tax rates to bolster future revenues, and the advantage of targeted measures to create jobs rather […]

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CFIB on Ontario’s Budget: A Reality Check

Ontario’s pre-budget consultations include a session for which each party caucus selects an “expert witness.” This year, the Liberals invited Warren Jestin from Scotiabank, the Conservatives invited Catherine Swift from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and the NDP invited me. In general, my role was not to engage with the other witnesses. The Conservatives asked me about CFIB’s […]

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Attack of the Killer Debts!

Last Saturday the Globe and Mail (November 28, page B1) ran a multi-page spread on national government debt. It was a mish mash of large titles, large numbers and sensational assertions: “A World Awash in Debt”; “Climbing out of this hole won’t be easy”; “the numbers are staggering”, “debt would climb to about 300 percent of GDP… tweak that and […]

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Iggy’s Deficit Wall

I just saw Michael Ignatieff on TV warning that Canada could hit “the deficit wall.” I assume he means “debt wall.” (I would not fault a slip of the tongue, but the written text of a recent speech also incorrectly calls it “the deficit wall.”) The concept is not that a country hits the wall because a particular annual deficit […]

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Deficit and Debt Phobia

We seem set to go into the next election – which could be in a matter of  days -  with both the Conservatives and Liberals firmly committed to bringing the federal Budget back into balance in a relatively short time frame, with no tax increases.  There appears to be no sign of a break in the conventional wisdom that “exit […]

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Indebted Canadians

The conventional wisdom seems to be that the  financial situation of Canadian  households is generally sound and certainly much better than that of our profligate and heavily indebted American neighbours.  The Bank of Canada argued in its end of 2008 Financial System Review that  “(O)verall, despite a modest deterioration, the financial position of the Canadian household sector remains relatively positive.” […]

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Still Worrying About Deflation, Not Inflation

A lot of people I meet these days ask about the risk of a future surge in inflation, or even a return to “hyperinflation,” as a result of government’s efforts around the world to stimulate spending and demand — in part through large deficits, and in part through very loose and unorthodox monetary policy (including, in some jurisdictions, “quantitative easing”). […]

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