Main menu:

Posts by Author

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

Progressive Bloggers


Recent Blog Posts

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Archive for 'federal budget'

Who Benefits from the TFSA?

A shorter version of this analysis was published today in the Globe and Mail’s online business feature Economy Lab. Stephen Harper has unveiled yet another plank in a platform that seems remarkably out of touch with the concerns of an electorate walking on post-recession eggshells. His latest proposal would double the contribution limit to the […]

The Great Corporate Cash Stash

In response to some recent PEF commentary (now in the mainstream media thanks to today’s Globe article) on corporations in Canada hoarding cash (after-tax profits greater than new investment), PEF member Eric Pineault weighs in with some more detailed analysis: The great corporate cash stash Eric Pineault As we debate the merits and uses of […]

Untying the Gordonian knot

First of all, today’s top Globe story on corporate income tax cuts not leading to increased investment is a nice example of “you heard it here first”, so a big pat on the back to Relentlessly Progressive Economics. As we like to say: tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, today. I want to take issue with Stephen Gordon’s […]

Robin Hood Economics

Canada’s economic context at the time of Election 2011 is one of “precarious recovery”, and overall demand conditions are weakened by a few major factors. Unemployment is still just under 8%, which is good compared to the double-digit unemployment of the early 1990s, but not great compared to the expansions of the late 1990s and […]

Ten years of tax cuts: a household’s perspective

I did my taxes yesterday and once again was surprised to see how low my family’s income taxes have gone. In 2010, my wife and I paid a combined 13.7% of our income in federal and provincial income tax. Canadian modesty does not permit me to disclose the exact amount of income, but it was […]

Low Taxes for Whom? Flaherty’s Rhetorical Retreat

I missed last week’s federal budget, but was pleased to see the quantity and quality of same-day analysis posted on this blog. Jim wrote an excellent piece, “Corporate Taxation and Investment in the 2011 Federal Budget,” about the corporate tax debate in post-budget media panels. But what struck me was David’s point about how the […]

Designed to Fail: Harper’s Nickel and Dime Budget

The 2011 federal budget was clearly designed to fail and provoke an election.  It only went part way to meet some of the opposition parties’ priorities while also showering the country with dozens of different politically opportunistic relatively minor spending measures, extensions of expiring programs and boutique tax cuts.   Quite appropriately, it became D.O.A.–and now we’ll soon […]

Crumbs for you, Cake for us: Budget 2011

If you take a look at this year’s budget and you have an issue that you’re interested in, chances are you’ll find it on the list. There are in fact almost twice as many items on this year’s budget list as the large 2009 stimulus budget. There are some items on seniors, some items on […]

So you think you can budget!

With the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) officially released, you’d think the budget gnomes at the CCPA would have some much deserved time off.  Unfortunately with the snow still falling in Ottawa, we figured we’d put them back to work. Every year, the AFB puts together ideas from all of the partners involved.  Once everything is […]

An Alternative Budget: Making Jobs, Not War

This piece was initially posted on the Globe and Mail’s online business feature, Economy Lab. Join the comments section! For 18 years I’ve been part of a national project in participatory budgeting called the Alternative Federal Budget. Each year dozens of national and community organizations representing millions of Canadians convene over a six month period, […]

The Jobs Crisis and the Recovery

The tripartite International Labour Organization (ILO) has released it’s flagship 2010 World of Work Report. It offers a useful partial counterpoint to the economic analysis of other international organizations such as the IMF and the OECD. The ILO argues that the employment rate in advanced countries will not return to pre crisis levels until well […]

The Entrails of the Update

There are some interesting if rather subtle differences between the fiscal situation of the federal government as forecast in the last Budget, and that given to us yesterday in the Update. Not much change to the revenue picture, with 09-10 being a bit better than forecast, and next year being a bit weaker than forecast. […]

Stockwell’s Deficit “Solution”: Tax Cuts

This morning, the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education hosted a Bay Street breakfast meeting with Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board of Canada. Jim serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, but could not make today’s session. So, Armine and I ended up having breakfast with Tories at Torys. (Some other participants may not […]

Message to Britain: Don’t Follow Our Lead on Austerity

In his column today in The Guardian, Will Hutton is the latest pundit to suggest Canada’s example from the mid 1990s is the right way to tackle austerity. Hutton’s aim is true.  He knows the current proposals for balancing the books will unleash “the needless squandering of [British] lives.”  In his effort to point to a […]

“Innovation” and Students

I have an online opinion piece on the federal government’s “innovation strategy.” My piece focuses on how the strategy directly impacts university students.  I argue that the federal government’s current strategy creates winners and losers.

Do Tuition Rates Matter?

Alex Usher is a frequent commentator on post-secondary education in Canada.  He regularly blogs for the Globe and Mail at  Yesterday, he wrote an open letter to leaders of Canada’s three major political parties in which he offered advice on post-secondary education policy. I found the following passage to be particularly provocative: First, scratch […]

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 […]

Fiscal Federalism: Hints of a Greek Tragedy to Come?

The Greek crisis has prompted numerous commentators to remark on the dangers of a monetary union which has no common fiscal policy. From the perspective of euro members, the external value of the euro is threatened by large deficits and growing public debt in the so-called PIIG countries, notably Greece and Portugal.  There is no […]

Federal Budget Redux

In the last couple of years, Relentlessly Progressive Economics delivered detailed analysis the evening after the budget by bloggers who had been in the lock-up. Last week, those of us who were in Ottawa dropped the ball. However, Marc picked it up by assessing the budget remotely from Vancouver. My main excuse is that, after […]

CUPE federal budget analysis — and video!

I’ve been remiss in not posting information about and links to the federal budget analysis that we did at CUPE, as Paul Tulloch had urged on this blog.   In addition to the press release we issued, there’s an overview and summary that I prepared on budget day, and a dozen really good detailed issue sheets that […]

This is Your Economy on Stimulus

My post on this past Monday’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) release emphasized the disconnect between profits and investment in the corporate sector. As Andrew commented on that post, the public sector’s contribution to the recovery is also noteworthy. That point seems especially relevant in the wake of a federal budget devoted to continuing previously announced […]

The Xerox Budget

Analysis of the 2010 Federal Budget by David MacDonald, coordinator of the CCPA’s Alternative Federal Budget: If there was any policy recalibration due to prorogation, it was on their photocopier as 94% of this budget’s spending has already been announced.  The problem when you photocopy your work is that you don’t learn anything from the […]

The 2010 Federal Budget Delivers Cuts Not Jobs

The Budget contains no big surprises but is still a big disappointment. Despite the fact that unemployment is and will remain very high, economic stimulus measures effectively end after this year. A few very small new investments in jobs and skills will be made, but they do not amount to even the beginnings of a […]

A whimper of a federal budget

I did not make it to the federal budget lock-up, and having pored over the document I am pleased to say I missed it. There is very little in this budget that one would expect of a budget in the midst of a recession (the GDP numbers have turned up, I know, but unemployment is […]

Stock options, the buyback boondoggle and the crisis of capitalism

As if there weren’t already enough reasons to eliminate the egregious stock option tax loophole, a column by Eric Reguly in this month’s Report on Business magazine highlights yet another.  This reason helps to explain why we had such a booming stock market up to 2008, but little growth in real investment and productivity. First […]

2010 Alternative Federal Budget

Last Saturday, The Financial Post completed its Chopping Block, a series profiling federal programs that could be eliminated to balance the budget. A couple of weeks ago, the C. D. Howe Institute unveiled its Shadow Federal Budget, which advocated essentially the same approach. (Terry Corcoran deserves some credit for trying to identify quite specific cuts, as […]

Private sector just not getting it up

We’ve been told for years that corporate tax cuts would work like viagra to boost private sector investment and productivity, and no doubt we’ll hear much more about it in next week’s budget.  But it just ain’t working.  Today’s release by Statscan of private and public investment intentions shows just how limp private sector investment is […]

Government Deficits and the Private Sector Balance

In an important series of columns in the Financial Times, economics editor Martin Wolf has been making the argument that – to avoid a relapse into recession – governments must run deficits so long as the private sector is running large surpluses of savings over spending. “Jumps in fiscal deficits are the mirror image of […]

Reversing Harper’s Corporate Tax Cuts

Last week, I argued that discussions about reversing tax cuts should not be limited to the GST. To advance this debate, I have crunched some numbers on corporate taxes using federal budget documents and tax expenditure reports. Budget 2009 (see Table A2.2 on page 255) indicates that federal corporate tax cuts since 2006 will reduce […]

What Could Conservatives Cut?

Straight Goods contacted me last week for an article about what the federal Conservatives might cut to balance the budget. This concern is understandable given the previous Liberal government’s slash-and-burn approach to deficits. At a minimum, the Conservatives may use the deficit as cover to remove funding from particular programs or organizations that they dislike. […]