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Archive for 'economic literacy'

Economics 101

On October 21, Chris Ragan wrote a column for the Globe and Mail titled “In defence of Economics 101.”  The link to his column is available here. On October 24, Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon and Mario Seccareccia replied to him.  The link to their response is available here.

Debunking Fraser Institute’s latest contortion on taxes

The Fraser Institute’s annual Consumer Tax Index report generated some media buzz with its outlandish claims about just how much taxes have risen since 1961. Before you get worked up about this, consider that 1961 was over half a century ago, before the time of universal health care that we all benefit from, before the […]

Alex Usher is Wrong on Tuition Fees

Earlier today, over at the Academic Matters web site, I addressed the issue of whether Canada’s current system of high tuition fees and means-tested student aid is in fact “progressive.”  My post was a response to a Alex Usher‘s May 9 blog post.  My blog post can be found here.

A Trillion Dollar Coin for Canada?

Arun here…breaking radio silence to share with you a thought-provoking piece by Larry Kazdan, a graduate of York University in sociology and history, and currently a Council Member with the World Federalist Movement-Canada, an organization that monitors developments at the United Nations and advocates for more effective global governance. Our friend and fellow blogger Keith […]

Why Is Tom Mulcair Opposed to Tax Increases?

A recent online article suggests that Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is opposed to increasing federal tax rates. I find this quite surprising. According to the August 8 article: Mulcair seemed surprised when he was asked if taxes would go up under an NDP government. “You’re the first person who’s ever asked me that,” he […]

PEF Events at Annual Conference of the CEA

For the 15th consecutive year, the Progressive Economics Forum (PEF) is sponsoring its own events at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association (CEA).  This year’s Annual Conference of the CEA is taking place at HEC Montréal. PEF events will take place in the May 31 – June 2 period.  All information pertaining to […]

The Economic Crisis: Notes from the Underground

Tom Palley has published a new book – The Economic Crisis: Notes from the Underground.  I recommend it unread, having learned a lot from his excellent recent book,  From Financial Crisis to Stagnation. The back cover description follows. The book can be ordered – for just $9.99  – from https://www.createspace.com/3820028 This book provides a collection […]

If You Could Change One Thing

I had a great change of pace last week, when I stayed out at the CAW Family Education Centre at Port Elgin to teach a 5-day course on “Economics for Trade Unionists” through the CAW’s Paid Educational Leave program. While I have guest lectured many times at Port Elgin, I have never actually taught a […]

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 […]

Sask Party Deficit Math

The Saskatchewan NDP is proposing to collect higher potash royalties and save a portion of the proceeds in a new Bright Futures Fund. The NDP has also expressed its willingness to negotiate with First Nations about the possibility of resource revenue sharing. The right-wing Saskatchewan Party strangely claims that the NDP’s plan “would plunge the province […]

Sask Party Healthcare Math

Yesterday, the Saskatchewan Party claimed that the provincial NDP’s plan for 30 additional primary healthcare clinics would cost $840 million. It has since removed this goofy press release from its website, but here’s a screenshot. The Sask Party multiplied the Saskatoon Community Clinic’s $7-million annual provincial cost by 30, and then multiplied that total by […]

Sask Party Tuition Math

In Saskatchewan’s provincial election campaign, the incumbent Saskatchewan Party is promising a scholarship of up to $500 per year for new high-school graduates who undertake post-secondary studies. It claims that this scholarship is worth “THREE TIMES” the annual increase in university tuition fees, which has averaged $146.50 over the past four years. What the Sask […]

The problems with the textbook analysis of minimum wages

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sorry state of the BC minimum wage, stuck at $8 after nine years two months and still counting. Yes, it will likely increase very soon, now that almost all leadership candidates on both sides have expressed support for higher minimum wages, but one has got to ask […]

The Perils of Mathematization

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative has presented a list of its most viewed posts from 2010. The top post is so worthwhile that it warrants further promotion. The President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve had warned that unduly low interest rates would cause deflation. Of course, anyone with a handle on basic macroeconomics knows that the risk […]

Memo to Energy Minister

Memo to Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert: Royalties are not taxes Already “under attack for allegedly being rude and dismissive when he was health minister,”[1] current Energy Minister Ron Liepert conceded he hadn’t read the Parkland Institute’s new report on vast oilpatch profits but that didn’t stop him from dismissing it: “This is a not […]

A hip hop version of the Keynes vs Hayek debate

Here’s a new take on bringing economic theory to the masses — a rap battle between Keynes and Hayek. What’s amazing about it is the amount of solid (if not plain nerdy) content this video packs into such a short time. It’s fun to watch for sure (very high production values), but you get that […]

Will the HST boost job growth and over what timeframe?

As BC and Ontario have now started paying the HST at the till, many people may be wondering when exactly can we expect to see those jobs postings opening up. This is a good question. According to analysis commissioned by the BC government from economist Jack Mintz, titled British Columbia’s Harmonized Sales Tax: A Giant […]

4 Good Economic Books I Read in New Zealand

One of the wonderful things about being away from the usual grind for a few months, is that I get to engage in this unusual activity called picking up a book and actually reading it.  What a concept!  It doesn’t happen much in the normal day-to-day life of CAW economist, engaged citizen, and co-parent of […]

Don’t Let Numbers Fool You: Common Statistical Tricks You Should Know About

As promised, here’s my fourth post inspired by the recent Fraser Institute report on taxes paid by Canadian families. I can’t stand seeing people fall simple numbers tricks. And while I realize that I don’t have the time to argue with everyone who is wrong on the Internet, I try to make it a point […]

How Effective Was the Stimulus?

When the global recession hit in late 2008, economic output and employment fell so steeply in such a short period of time that policy-makers were seriously concerned about the possibility of the downturn growing into a global depression. The sense of urgency led to unprecedented levels of multilateral economic coordination, with stimulus spending rolled out […]

Tales from the Mouth of the Fraser: Did Stimulus Spending Play a Role in the Recovery

Yesterday, the Fraser Institute published a new report, which argues that the government stimulus did not drive Canadian economic growth in the last two quarters of 2009 and suggests that government spending on infrastructure was useless for the economy. The report earned the scorn of Finance Minister Flaherty, who was quoted in the Vancouver Sun […]

Financial Literacy … for Bankers!

            A year ago, as part of his 2009 crisis budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty created a Task Force on Financial Literacy.  The goal was to equip Canadians with more knowledge to traverse the minefields of high finance.  This week, just in time for Flaherty’s next budget, the Task Force released its initial “consultation” report. […]

Financial Boom and Bust … In Cartoons!

I want to share with everyone a new CAW resource that was produced for our Constitutional Convention (which took place last month in Quebec City). It’s a 4-page cartoon book explaining the core dynamics of financial cycles, that was illustrated and deesigned by Tony Biddle — the awesome Toronto political cartoonist who also illustrated Economics […]

Warning: Credit Card Use May be Harmful (to Your Country’s Income Distribution)

Ah plastic. What’s not to love? Convenient? Check. Light in the pocket? Check. Monthly bill summaries? Check. Free short-term credit? Check (provided you pay your bills in full, on time). Benefits (free car rental insurance, points, cash back etc): Check AND… Take from the poor and give to the rich? err… wait a minute. Unfortunately, […]

The Crisis in Economics (and the Economic Crisis)

Far be it for me to suggest that the economics profession is or should be in crisis — introspection has never been the economist’s strong suit — so I won’t. But these far more qualified commentators do in a piece whose title says it all:  The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics. […]

It’s the Demand-Side Stupid — Why Credit Ain’t Like Water

In the last few months, governments here and abroad have made every effort to “turn on the taps” of credit — in Canada, we have more than half a dozen such programs (and counting) under the banner of the EFF (Extraordinary Financing Framework), including (but not limited to): the IMPP (InsuranceMortgage Purchase Program); the CSCF […]

Economics Word Search Puzzle!

OK this one is a bit nerdy, I admit it. I’ve been working on various popular education tools to go along with Economics for Everyone (my economics “textbook” for unionists and other activists), trying to make the material as accessible and entertaining as possible — and making it as easy as possible for local activists […]