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Archive for 'stimulus'

Why the economy sucks (in one chart)

(The following is something I’ve prepared for the next issue of CUPE’s Economy at Work, a popular economics quarterly publication I produce.) In his annual Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), finance minister Joe Oliver told Canadians that while the federal government will finally record a surplus next year after seven years of deficits, we can’t […]

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 […]

Polozogistics: Nine Thoughts About the Choice of the New Bank of Canada Governor

  1. He’s Number Two: Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us? 2. […]

Great Divergence or Financialized recovery ?

The IMF’s latest delivery of the World Economic outlook contains an interesting analysis of the current “non” recovery in terms of a divergence between fiscal and monetary policy, the first between restrictive and procyclical in nature and the second being accommodating and reinforcing a financial expansion. As argued here by the IMF economists who worked […]

Happy Crashiversary! Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Four years after Lehman Brothers collapsed, it’s time to take stock of things by asking a stock political question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Where you stand on the answer depends on where you sit. Many people, businesses and communities are still struggling to regain the ground they lost […]

Canada Goose Egg

This morning, Statistics Canada reported zero economic growth in October. While growth had been driven by strong mining and fossil-fuel exports during the third quarter, Canadians got a lump of coal in October. This Christmas goose egg should come as a wake-up call to economic policymakers. It follows Labour Force Surveys showing two consecutive months of […]

Ontario’s Stimulating Election Platforms

A common refrain among political pundits has been that all of Ontario’s election platforms are unrealistic given a deteriorating economic outlook. Rather than bemoaning this alleged lack of realism, we should evaluate how each party’s platform would fare in a downturn. The NDP platform is built on the fiscal framework set out in the 2011 […]

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, […]

Five Economic Reasons To Say No To More Corporate Tax Cuts

This was posted on the Globe and Mail’s online feature Economy Lab today. My sincere thanks to all the people who have posted on the topic on this site. The Harper government ’s commitment to further reduce the general corporate income tax rate while the nation struggles with budgetary deficits has been championed by – […]

Labour at the World Economic Forum

Here is the trade union statement to the World Economic Forum, which begins today: A New Reality for Workers? Statement of Labour Leaders to the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland, 26 – 30 January 2011

Canada’s Economic Ad/ction Plan

Oh, the cynicism of it all. I was just watching the Evan Solomon Power and Politics show on Newsworld (about 5.40pm ) when an ad came up extolling opportunities for re-training under Canada’s Economic Action Plan and referring viewers to the same web site. That’s strange, I thought. Have those programs not expired? I checked […]

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 […]

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 […]

GDP: Canada Gets Its Head Above Water

UPDATE (September 1): Quoted in The Toronto Star. Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew modestly in the second quarter, but that modest growth returned GDP to a level not seen since before the economic crisis. Recent Developments: The Second Quarter Canada’s output expanded at a quarterly rate of 0.5%, which corresponds to an annual rate […]

Balancing Budgets – What Harper Should Be Worried About Now

In the past few weeks some of Canada’s most respected economic authorities, including Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, have voiced concerns over the fragility of the recovery, globally and at home.  Now Paul Krugman joins that chorus of Cassandras, pointing his finger straight at the wishful thinkers who say Canada’s heavy lifting is done […]

Stimulate the Job Market

The Mark are running a contribution of mine on the latest job numbers and the continued need for special EI and job creation  measures.

Growth After Stimulus

This morning, Statistics Canada reported a robust economic expansion in March and hence in the first quarter of 2010. Although February’s growth was revised down to 0.2%, strong growth of 0.6% in both January and March propelled the quarterly total to 1.5%. That figure corresponds to an annual growth rate of 6.1%, more than double […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The G-20 Growth Strategy: Self-Flagellation, Prayers and Threats

The media and pundits parsed Mark Carney’s speech today to the Ottawa Economics Association (OEA) every which way to Sunday today and concluded that Carney had effectively signaled the Bank’s intention to raise its target for the overnight interest rate sooner rather than later. But in all the hand wringing about the inevitability of rate […]

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 […]

Job-Creation Needed

Both employment and unemployment edged down between November and December, reflecting a smaller total labour force. This news raises concern that some jobless workers are leaving the labour force altogether. However, the labour-force decrease was only 9,000, far smaller than the previous monthly increase. Overall employment changed so little because private-sector payrolls stabilized. While stability […]

Inflation Rebound

The national inflation rate jumped to 1.0% in November from 0.1% in October. As Statistics Canada notes, this apparently large increase is “due primarily to gasoline prices.” Specifically, last month’s gasoline prices are being compared to the depressed gasoline prices of November 2008. Given the changed base of comparison, it is not surprising that the […]

Inflation Returns

Canada’s extended summer of deflation ended in October, when the national inflation rate rose to 0.1%. This change reflects a lowered base of comparison: the price of gasoline plummeted between September and October of last year. The return of inflation should not be overstated. Today’s inflation rate is barely positive and falls short of the […]

New Growth Model Needed?

Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 0.1% in August. The decline mainly reflected temporary closures of major oil rigs, mines and mills due to maintenance or labour disputes. This explanation is valid, as far as it goes. However, the broader issue is that more widespread economic growth should be more than offsetting these isolated […]

More Deflation

While some prices rose slightly and others fell slightly between July, August and September, the total Consumer Price Index has remained exactly the same through these months. The annual inflation rate declined by 0.9% in September, tying July for the largest rate decline since 1953. All provinces but Saskatchewan now have negative inflation. While the […]

Stimulus at Work

On Thanksgiving, Canadians can be thankful that public stimulus spending propelled a surprisingly strong labour-market rebound in September. This morning’s release shows full-time employment up and the unemployment rate down. However, the jobs picture is not as rosy as these top-line numbers imply. Stimulus Working? The improvement in Canada’s labour market should not be taken […]