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Archive for 'Fraser Institute'

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 […]

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 […]

Are average Canadians paying too much in taxes?

On April 23, the Fraser Institute released the annual update of their misleading Consumer Tax Index report. The piece is meant to feed the anti-tax sentiment with numbers sprinkled liberally for their shock value instead of providing any meaningful analysis. Here are some of the main flaws with the report’s methodology. If what follows sounds […]

Fraser Institute Sunshine List

On Monday, Andrew wrote that we need a Bay Street sunshine list. Today, we got something almost as good: a Fraser Institute sunshine list, courtesy of US tax filings and The Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor. This piece is a great counterpoint to the Fraser Institute’s recent attack on public-sector salaries. I hope it is printed […]

Tales from the Mouth of the Fraser: Climate Change Denial Edition

Some colleagues at the US NGO Global Exchange tipped me off to some sneaky data doctoring done by the Fraser Institute on climate change. The source is Understanding Climate Change: Lesson Plans for the Classroom, a resource for high school teachers. The particular graph is on page 69 (first page if you click on Lesson 5), […]

Why The Income Inequality Deniers Are Wrong

This article was published in an abridged form today in the National Post. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/21/armine-yalnizyan-sorry-andrew-coyne-but-income-inequality-is-a-real-problem/   I like this opening better so I posted it here. You couldn’t have made it through 2012 without running into a story about income inequality.  Chances are, it made you think about how you fit into the story.  That’s “entirely constructive”, […]

Unionization and Labour Market Performance

Further to my earlier post on the “own goal” scored by the Fraser Institute report on North American labour markets, the Table below shows the rankings of the Canadian provinces – out of 60 states and provinces – for (1) labour market performance, 2007-11 and (2) the unionization rate. (I have reversed the Fraser ranking […]

Labour Market Regulation and Labour Market Performance

A release by the Fraser Institute – Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States, 2012 Edition – registers as a spectacular own goal. The Fraser Institute believes – and argues in this study – that strong unions, high minimum wages and high levels of public sector employment undermine labour market performance measured in […]

Freedom from government services day

Well well, another misinformed tax freedom day has come and gone on June 12th.  To mark the occasion this year I wanted to skip over the very serious methodological flaws that others have pointed out, and take a look at several other items that Canadians are “free of” at various points.  By gaining “freedom” from the taxes […]

Clemens vs. Clemens

Jason Clemens, who hangs his hat at several right-wing think-tanks (the Fraser, Pacific Research and Macdonald-Laurier Institutes), lauds Canadian fiscal conservatism in today’s Wall Street Journal: Canada’s government, for example, has grown smaller over the last 15 years. Total government spending as a share of the economy peaked at a little over 53% in 1993. […]

Taxpayers and the Census

My union was among many organizations listed in opposition to the senseless census decision in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail editorial. Three organizations were listed as supporting it. The Fraser Institute and National Citizens’ Coalition have understandable motives for wanting to eliminate the mandatory long form. First, there are libertarian “privacy” concerns. Second, depriving the government […]

HST and Family Budgets: What’s Behind the Vastly Different Results

That the HST will take a bite out of family budgets is clear to everyone. The main question right now is just how big of a bite. Two studies released in BC earlier this week asked this exact question but came to very different conclusions. On Monday, the Fraser Institute released a paper arguing that […]

Facts on public sector wages

The National Institute on Retirement Security in the U.S. produces some really excellent reports which should be more widely read, and not just on pensions or retirement income.  Last week they published a good report, Out of Balance?  comparing public and private sector compensation over the past 20 years, written by two professors at the […]

Taxers of the World Unite

You know that you are doing something right when the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) starts making up new pejorative terms. Last Friday’s Toronto Sun included the following op-ed on the Taxers (with a capital “T”): Calls for new and higher taxes are coming from the usual tax-hike proponents (AKA Taxers); public sector unions, lobby groups […]

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 […]

Consumer Tax Index

When confronted with a document as muddled as yesterday’s Canadian Consumer Tax Index, a major challenge is figuring out where to begin in critiquing it. Indeed, this one Fraser Institute report supplied enough fodder for three separate posts today by Iglika (and she is promising a fourth!) I think that the report’s worst flaws are […]

Have Taxes Changed All That Much Over the Past Half Century?

A recently released Fraser Institute report claims that the tax bill of the average Canadian family grew by a whopping 1,624% since 1961. This is an enormous number, designed to appeal to our sensationalism-hungry media, but it does not provide a meaningful comparison of today’s average tax bill and the tax bill our parents’ and […]

It’s Not Just About Size: What Makes Up Our Tax Bill Matters

The Fraser Institute and the CCPA do not typically see eye to eye, but they seem to agree that personal income taxes take up a relatively small fraction of the average tax bill — about 13 – 14%. According to the Fraser Institute’s recent report on the average Canadian family’s tax bill, the average family […]

Are Canadians Paying Too Much in Taxes?

It’s tax season and people are looking more closely at their incomes and the amount of taxes they pay. The Fraser Institute released their annual Consumer Tax Index report yesterday, claiming that the total tax bill of the average Canadian family now takes up 41.7% of their income. This seems like a big number, which […]

Great Minds Think Alike

Serge Coulombe, an economics professor at the University of Ottawa, has a great op-ed in today’s Financial Post: The Fraser report looks at the change in the contribution of government expenditures to the GDP growth between the second and the third quarters, and the third and the fourth quarters, of 2009. This approach is problematic […]

Stand Up for Harper

When conflict erupts between Conservative politicians and the Fraser Institute, I am inclined to react as Henry Kissinger did to the Iran-Iraq War: “It’s too bad they can’t both lose.” But in the recent spat over stimulus, it was easy to choose sides. However grudging the Harper government’s decision and however inadequate its execution, it […]

National Post Drinks Fraser Institute’s Bathwater

The Fraser Institute is winning 6-0, at least in terms of The National Post’s coverage of its flawed study on stimulus. On March 24, The National Post reported this study on its front page while its business section, The Financial Post, ran an op-ed by the study’s authors. A couple of days later, The National […]

Fraser Institute on Stimulus: Take Two

Iglika makes several cogent, high-level criticisms of the Fraser Institute’s “analysis” of how much government stimulus has contributed to Canada’s economic recovery. However, I think that it is guilty of a far more basic flaw. To determine how much government purchases and investment contributed to economic growth, one would compare the increase in government purchases […]

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 […]

Deficit Caused by Tax Cuts

In my career of writing letters to my hometown newspaper, my favourite headline supplied by the Regina Leader-Post was “Deficit Caused by Tax Cuts,” for a letter arguing that Saskatchewan’s mild deficit a few years ago resulted from provincial tax cuts rather than from alleged overspending. Today’s inane press release from Finance Canada, lauding the […]

Truth from the Fraser Institute?

Yesterday’s Financial Post featured a rather strange op-ed by the Fraser Institute’s current and former directors of fiscal studies: Most Canadians are unfortunately not aware of Canada’s 15-year track record of reducing the size of government (1992-2007). Since peaking in 1992, the size of government in Canada – best measured by total spending at all […]

The OECD on Iceland

Further to Toby’s excellent post on Iceland. Here are some extracts from OECD Country Reviews – courtesy of Roland Schneider of TUAC – which show gross disregard for the risks as they were building. Economic Survey of Iceland 2006 Published on 9 August 2006 Chapter 1: Policy challenges in sustaining improved economic performance Iceland’s growth […]

Milton and the Meltdown in Iceland

I was intrigued by what is happening in Iceland, so the following is a piece I’ve written on it.  It has some introductory macro-economics in it, which I think it is good to keep in perspective as we consider the frantic attempts being made to prevent an economic depression. The economic and financial collapse of 2008 […]

Hoisted by his own petard

Of all the high-flyers and assorted fraudsters now coming down to earth, this one is just too rich and comical to pass by.  Owen Lippert, now scandalized as the wholesale plagiarizer from Australian Prime Minister John Howard in a speech he wrote for Stephen Harper, was the former Director of the Law and Markets Project […]

Swift-Boating the carbon tax

The bed having been made by the NDP, the Prime Minister not only takes it but moves in and changes the locks. All summer the NDP’s axe-the-tax campaign against the BC carbon tax has played on a classic conservative anti-tax theme (to the dismay of yours truly). The BC election is not until May 2009, […]