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Archive for 'deficits'

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 4: Bernard Vallageas

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. This is Part 4 of 5 sequential blog entries. – Bernard Vallageas Vice-président de l’Association pour le Développement des Etudes Keynésiennes […]

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 3: Mario Seccareccia

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. This is Part 3 of 5 sequential blog entries. – Mario Seccareccia Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa Editor, International […]

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 2: Louis-Philippe Rochon

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. This is Part 2 of 5 sequential blog entries. – Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University Founding co-editor, […]

What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 1: Marc Lavoie

What follows are comments from a roundtable discussion held at the University of Ottawa on February 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas. Parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 will follow in subsequent blog posts. – Marc Lavoie Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa […]

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 […]

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 […]

Beating Back the Ghosts: Be Gone Appeals to Reinhart and Rogoff Authority. Welcome the Triumph of Reason.

They’ve haunted me.  Incessantly.  The ghosts of Reinhart and Rogoff.  Their research here, there, everywhere. Bank of Canada speeches? Yes.  Finance Department talking points? Check. House of Commons debates? Yup.  Globe editorials? Ditto.  Discussions with fellow progressives? Sadly, yes. Results? Arguments conjured in their name.  Reason decapitated.  Modern Monetary Theorists (MMT) banished to the netherworld […]

Austerity through infrastructure Cuts: Budget 2013

One the most amazing things about this budget is that one of its three focuses will actually be the opposite of what it’s touting.  You’ll likely hear that $14 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next 10 years (actually you may hear much bigger numbers but they just re-announce existing programs like the […]

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. […]

Fiscal “Crisis” In Context: Two Indicators

With all the predictions of doom and gloom coming from the austerity camp, one would think that Canada was already about to hit the famed (but never seen) “debt wall.”  Before we get too carried away, however, with the scary debt stuff, consider these two indicators of the fundamental fiscal fragility/stability of Canadian governments. The […]

Krugman: End This Depression Now!

I am an enthusiastic reader of Krugman’s columns and, especially, his economic blog. And I certainly side strongly with him in the intellectual and political struggle against “the Austerians” and “Very Serious People” who are unnecessarily prolonging the Great Recession in America and in Europe. That said, Krugman’s latest book “End This Recession Now” (Norton, […]

Quebec Tuition: Between a Rock and Hard Place?

In the context of student protests over Quebec tuition fees, my friend Luan Ngo has just written a very informative blog post on Quebec’s fiscal situation. While I encourage readers to read his full post, I do want to use the present space to make mention of three important points he makes: -On a per […]

Debunking Drummond

The Drummond report claims that Ontario is headed for a $30-billion deficit. This figure has been widely and uncritically reported. For example, The Globe and Mail printed four articles featuring this number in its February 18 edition. The Ontario government projected a balanced budget with a $1-billion contingency reserve by 2017-18. To instead project a […]

The Times they Are a Changing: The MMT Wave Begins

Take a look at the picture below. Take it in.  Now scan your eyes to the far right…there, in faded blue you’ll see the initials MMT.  Now zoom out.  Take it in again.  Notice: a few hundred people.  Spending their time learning about an economic theory called Modern Monetary Theory or MMT and its application […]

Federal cuts could push unemployment to 8%

Now that the government is planning for an $8 billion cut,  the potential job losses could drive job losses to between 99,000 and 108,000 full time positions across Canada.  At this much higher level, the federal government could be single-handedly responsible for pushing national unemployment from its current 7.5% to 8.0%.  About half of those […]

The Economist Takes Note: Modern Monetary Theory Gets Much Deserved Attention

As faithful readers of this blog will know, I make only very sporadic contributions to this blog but a substantial fraction of those contributions have made reference to modern monetary theory (MMT), the view (crudely put) that, based on a detailed understanding of the institutional mechanisms behind monetary operations, calls into question our obsession with […]

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 […]

Recession Ahead?

TD Economics yesterday released a rather gloomy report, putting the odds of a US recession at 40%, and arguing that that Canadian economy is more vulnerable to recession than it was in 2008.  It highlights reduced capacity for governments to respond given that interest rates are already very low, and given that household and government […]

Mythologies: Money and Hyperinflation

In an earlier post, Marc Lee mentioned in passing the German hyperinflation episode of the 1920s. It’s remarkable that this event still holds such sway over the popular imagination despite other more recent instances of hyperinflation. Certainly, the imagery is powerful: German citizens pushing wheelbarrows full of worthless paper money around for everyday purchases, banknotes […]

No Retreat, No Surrender: Time For Progressives to Explode Deficit/Monetary Myths

Friends, I’m concerned. I fear that too often, we on the left retreat when we should attack, surrender when we should vanquish.  What do I speak of?  Well, I am concerned that too many of us are willing to play in the frame, the box, the straighjacket of modern discourse about fiscal and monetary policy.  […]

Thoughts on “Why not print money?”

Richard Gilbert’s “Why not print money?” in the Globe’s Economy Lab toys with more radical monetary intervention as a response to the crisis. Desperate times, they say, call for desperate measures. The title (which was perhaps not Gilbert’s at all) is more provocative than the article itself, which is mostly about tolerating higher inflation that […]

The New Phase of the Crisis

The Great Recession was followed by an anaemic recovery in the advanced economies, which threatens to be followed by a double dip or worse now that the  fiscal stimulus measures of 2009 and 2010 have been succeeded by austerity programs. Now we face a new financial crisis, or at least a stock market correction of […]

More on Public Sector Austerity in Canada

A short addendum to my previous post: I checked the most recent IMF projections in the June, 2011 Update to the Fiscal Monitor. Table 1 provides estimates of changes in the general government government cyclically adjusted balance in percent of potential GDP. Basically changes are the result of discretionary changes in fiscal policy rather than […]

Public Sector Austerity: Why is Canada Leading the Way?

The major economic problem faced by Canadians is a very slow recovery and weak job market, not government deficits or rising debt. But public spending cuts at the federal and provincial level will make the real problem even worse. And, government spending cuts in Canada seem set to be even greater than in other advanced […]

Navigating challenging economic waters

Down south, the Obama administration is in a dangerous game of chicken with Republican congressional leaders, who are cynically holding the US economy hostage in order to impose a radical agenda of spending cuts. Obama has seemingly bought into the rhetoric of cutting debt, rather than focusing on the real US problem of unemployment. Yet, […]

Fiscal Record of Canadian Political Parties

With all the recent news stories — as well as alarm raised by other leaders — about the fiscal and economic impact and record of NDP governments, I decided to take a look at and review the fiscal record of all federal and provincial governments in Canada for the past three decades. These results may […]

Stephen Harper’s Economic Record: Best in show?

According to the polls, Stephen Harper gets the highest score on handling the economy, though he only gets the nod from 38 per cent of Canadians. As the incumbent, he’s got the advantage on all other candidates.  What the others have done and might do is a topic for another blogpost. This short summary of […]

Shock and Awful – The Truth Behind CIT Cuts

Cutting corporate income taxes doesn’t create jobs. They may raise wages, but probably not for you and me. And they mean Canadian taxpayers are paying more….to help the Americans pay down their debt Here’s how I know these things to be true: Yesterday SUN TV rolled out its first full day of programming. The prime […]

NDP’s “Balanced Budget” Platform

Jack Layton unveiled the NDP’s policy platform today.  Among other things, it promises to eliminate the deficit (i.e. balance the federal budget) within four years.  I’m not sure it should. Several years back, I had the opportunity to take a directed reading course from John Smithin.  In addition to being a long-time member of the […]

Cut CPP to Cut the Deficit?

Jeremy Leonard, research director of IRPP, suggests in today’s Globe that CPP retirement benefits be cut to balance the federal books, or at least he is cited to that effect by Barrie McKenna. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t major savings to be wrung out of spending. Mr. Leonard, for example, suggested that reforms to the […]