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The Progressive Economics Forum: Budget 2015: A tale of austerity past, present and future

Cross-posted from my blog.

I’ve been banging the drum of “slow-motion austerity” for a while and little in the 2015 federal budget suggests any change from the pattern of death by a thousand cuts. This budget is another is a series of unspectacular austerity budgets. Taken together, however, the cuts rapidly add up and budgets become more remarkable for the tenacity with they’ve made us pay to get to the present.

A long-term view focused on austerity is very different from much of the mainstream coverage of the budget with a tawdry focus on “goodies” for this group or that. While (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Budget 2015: Robin Hood in Reverse

Here’s a link to the longer analysis I prepared of the federal budget, now on-line at CUPE’s website, to accompany the press release and notes we put out immediately following the budget.

The entire document may be too long to post here, so here’s the 1st two paragraphs.

The Big Picture: more tax cuts for the rich: nothing for jobs and working Canadians.

The Conservative’s 2015 federal budget demonstrates they have nothing new to offer workers and the majority of Canadians. Once again it includes tax cuts for business and the wealthy, and nothing substantial to create decent jobs or to help (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: My “Top Five” Most Outrageous Things About This Budget

With a document whose very timing, let alone content, was so transparently politicized and manipulative, it’s hard to even know where to start. Among the many galling, short-sighted, and ultimately destructive components of this federal budget, here are 5 that stand out in my view:

1. Timing. At a time of great economic uncertainty in Canada (arising from the sharp decrease in oil prices and growing evidence of serious economic trouble), the government chose to heighten the uncertainty by delaying its budget for several weeks. Turns out this was not because of uncertainty about oil prices. The delay was (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on 2015 budget: Conservatives making a mockery of working Canadians

CONSERVATIVES MAKING A MOCKERY OF WORKING CANADIANS

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

 

Today, with great fanfare, Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver, tabled his much-delayed budget in the House of Commons. Despite the government’s best effort to confuse Canadians with tales of terrorism, the economy and job creation remains by far the single most important issue facing hard-working Canadians. Unfortunately, this budget, full of accounting tricks, will do very little to revive Canada’s moribund economy, and it contains far less in terms of good news for working Canadians.

In fact, Mr. Oliver, (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Budget Balanced with EI Surplus

Mr. Oliver likes to say that most of the growth in jobs has been high wage, private sector growth. This is simply not true. Two-thirds of net new jobs created between 2008 and 2014 pay below average wages.

Own account self-employment, those self employed workers who have no employees, have dominated growth in self-employment, and account for 1/3 of net new jobs since 2008. Another 1/3 net new jobs are temporary or part-time. And job growth has skewed to older workers, leaving young workers with few opportunities to find meaningful employment.

Nothing in the 2015 Budget does anything to address (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on balanced budgets

Balanced budget legislation will be disastrous for Canada

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Twitter @LPROCHON

 

Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s latest muses about introducing balanced budget legislation is the worst policy for Canada, and will doom us to European-style crises and rob future generations of prosperity.

While the details of the specific plan are not yet available, the very idea of forcing governments in good or bad times to have a balanced budget is one of the worst economic ideas this government has had in its 9 years in office. To wit, (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON on the upcoming federal budget (April 2015)

THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND CANADA’S ANNUS HORRIBILIS

See Original post here for the CBC.

Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced a new – and long overdue – federal budget for April 21. With the Canadian economy doing so badly, this budget will be crucial.

Will the minister do the right thing and give Canadians a budget that will stimulate the economy? Or will he continue with the government’s obsession of balancing the budget and further doom the Canadian economy to a recession?

The facts about the Canadian economy are not encouraging: increasing unemployment (a real unemployment rate of nine per (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Will Oil & Potash Put SK Back in Black?

The Sask. Party government pulled out all the stops yesterday to report a balanced budget, quite possibly the last one before next spring’s provincial election.

Revenue Assumptions

The drop in oil prices is a huge fiscal blow to Saskatchewan, and one of the ways the government projects continued balanced budgets is by assuming a rebound in oil prices. Perhaps more significantly, it assumes almost no corresponding rebound in the Canada-US exchange rate this coming fiscal year:

WTI Oil E-Rate Today $43.88 78.58 2015-16 $57.15 79.16 2016-17 $69.50 81.38 2017-18 $79.00 82.88 (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Confusing “Deficit Elimination” with “Prosperity”

The banner headline across the top of the front page of the national Globe and Mail edition caught my eye Saturday morning: “How B.C. became a ‘have’ province..” Wow, I thought to myself, that is quite something (and with not a single LNG plant on the economic horizon!), and so I prepared to sit down with my coffee to give this startling news a good read. After all, any economist who follows interprovincial fiscal affairs in Canada knows well the fundamental economic schism in Canada: it’s between the 3 provinces with oil (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy.

The link to the blog post is here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Seccareccia on Greece, Austerity and the Eurozone

Over at the blog of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ottawa U professor Mario Seccareccia has given an interview titled “Greece Shows the Limits of Austerity in the Eurozone. What Now?”

The interview can be read here.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Banks and Balanced Budgets

The Bank of Canada surprised most analysts this week when it decided to cut rates by 25 basis points. The move comes after the price of oil has tumbled below $50 / barrel, oil producers announced huge cuts to business investment for 2015, Target announced a mass layoff of 17,600 workers in Canada, and the International Monetary Fund warned of a global economic slowdown.

The key message of the January Monetary Policy is that the Canadian economy needs stimulus. The Bank’s view of the Canadian economy stands in sharp contrast to that of the federal government, which is intent on (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Louis-Philippe Rochon’s Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015

Louis-Philippe Rochon has written a provocative blog post for the CBC titled “Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015.”

The post is available here.

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 expect the economy to grow much faster than the slow growth we’ve experienced since the financial crisis, with economic growth expected to average just 2.4% over the next four years.

Economic growth in this recovery is a third slower than in the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Andrea Horwath’s Debacle

I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud when I saw election results. I almost spat a mouthful of my breakfast across the room.

Almost nobody expected Ontario’s Liberals to win a majority, least of all the NDP’s Andrea Horwath. Her decision to pull the plug on the Wynne government has to go down as one of the worst political miscalculations in recent memory.

While the NDP are putting a brave face on the results, there is little question this was a debacle of Horwath’s engineering. While once she was in the driver’s seat, now the NDP are (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Don’t believe the (LNG) hype

Today we released a new report, Path to Prosperity? A Closer Look at British Columbia’s Natural Gas Royalties and Proposed LNG Income Tax, about liquefied natural gas (LNG ) development in BC, and the public revenues that might be expected. So far, LNG has lacked a real public debate. On one side, we have the drumbeat of the business press with coverage of the deals in the works (which, after a couple years, have yet to come to a final investment decision by any interested party). On the other, we have what can only be called propaganda coming from (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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.

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Bernard Vallageas Vice-président de l’Association pour le Développement des Etudes Keynésiennes (France) Ancien membre élu du Conseil National des Universités Ancien membre du Conseil d’Administration de l’Association Française d’Economie Politique Faculté Jean Monnet (Collège d’Etudes interdisciplinaires) Université Paris-Sud, Sceaux, France

Mon intervention porte sur la façon dont est perçue et analysée la crise par l’opinion (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 January 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 3 consecutive blog entries.

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Mario Seccareccia Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa Editor, (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 3: Mario Seccareccia

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 January 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 3 consecutive blog entries.

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Louis-Philippe Rochon Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University Founding (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 2: Louis-Philippe Rochon

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 January 28, organized by Mario Seccareccia, and which featured participation from Marc Lavoie, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Mario Seccareccia, Slim Thabet and Bernard Vallageas.

Parts 2 and 3 will follow in subsequent blog posts.

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Marc Lavoie Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa Co-Editor, European Journal of Economics and Economic Policy: Intervention

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: What Have we Learned From the Financial Crisis? Part 1: Marc Lavoie

The Progressive Economics Forum: 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 global economic crisis is no cakewalk, and it has clearly taken a toll on Jim Flaherty. (Canada has fallen from 8th to 11th largest economy since 2006.) Critiquing this performance, when so many factors are beyond an individual’s control, and so much soul-searching takes (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC proposes LNG tax

I posted this on CCPA’s BC Policy Note blog but others across Canada should pay attention to BC’s quest for LNG gold. I’d also recommend this comparison of the Quebec and BC budgets by Michal Rozworski, which highlights the stubborn emphasis on natural resource development in both budgets. It’s like the tax cut culture has so permeated Canadian politics that our political class cannot see beyond the lure of resource revenues to pay for essential services. Bad fiscal policy and bad environmental policy, not even good policy in terms of job creation, but seemingly good politics in the Age of (Read more…)

Calgary Grit: Caucus Splitting

By design, Tuesday’s budget was a non-event. The public’s eyes are on Sochi, and the pundits’ eyes are on next year’s budget. So, it should not be surprising that it was the post-budget fallout that grabbed the most headlines, when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty mused that the Tories central 2011 campaign promise of income splitting might not actually be in next year’s budget.

We can debate the merits of income splitting (and this ensures we will), but what I find most shocking about this is that we appear to have the first public rift between Stephen Harper and the only (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014

Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE.

The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website at http://cupe.ca/economics/missing-action-federal-budget-2014 together with CUPE’s press release at: http://cupe.ca/economics/federal-budget-2014-help-hurt-canadian

Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014 CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response

Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget

Using more of their doublespeak, the Harper government calls the 2014 federal budget “The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities.” Little could be further from the truth. Instead it’s a budget that glosses over the problems facing Canadian workers and continues to (Read more…)

Trashy's World: He wasn’t perfect…

… but no one is. Yet then PM Chrètien led by example back in 1993 when he came to power and significantly cut his Ministers’ budgets. Tired of the ballooning Ministerial budgets under Mulroney, he cut their Chiefs-of-staff and told them to rely more on the advice of public servants. Not a bad move. Would […]