The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians as well as for the economy as a whole.
Let’s unpack the government’s arguments one by one:
1. The TFSA helps people save
The evidence certainly doesn’t support this statement. TFSAs first saw the light of day in January 2009 at a time when the savings rate had already been climbing (Read more…)
Posted earlier as an opinion piece for CBC. See original post here (this post slightly modified from original)
By Louis-Philippe Rochon
Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon
Much was at stake earlier this week when finance ministers from G20 countries met in Istanbul to discuss Greece and the state of the world economy in light of recent downgrades in world growth expectations. But did they agree to too little, too late?
There is now no doubt that the world economy, not just Canada’s, has slow downed considerably and will slow down even more unless appropriate policies are adopted soon. To date, (Read more…)
This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon.
You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon
Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting free speech, and increasing police powers. But could this move hide a more cynical purpose? Can there be an ulterior motive?
I think there is, and the reason is quite simple. It’s the economy. Seven years after the beginning of the crisis, and 4 years (Read more…)
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.
Canadian and American right-wing politicians going on about Islamic terrorism has a sickening stench of hypocrisy, considering the fact that the American government and other Western governments helped fund, arm and train Muslim extremists during the Cold War, which has contributed to many of the problems in the Middle East (and beyond) today. It looks like the American military-industrial-spy complex backed the wrong “enemy of my enemy is my friend” in that one. They made their bed, and now they are lying to us.
One of the main reasons there isn’t a strong secular, democratic alternative in most Middle Eastern (Read more…)
Louis-Philippe Rochon—who now blogs for CBC—argues that almost nobody had been expecting the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to lower the rate of interest.
His post can be found here.
Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.
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…)
If the Conservative government – led by Harper in Question Period no less – has now decided they’re going to try to blame the Liberals for the current mess in Veteran Affairs (led by their mess of a minister Fantino), polling and reaction to their current shabby treatment of Veterans must be pretty bad.
Their argument gets a tad undercut however when they’ve had 10 years to fix any shortcomings (which Harper and party supported in 2005 and enthusiastically implemented in 2006), and are now in court trying to defend it against angry Veterans (and trying to use the argument (Read more…)
Is Julian Fantino (Minister of Veteran Affairs) the worst Cabinet Minister in the Harper Conservative government right now? That’s saying something in this government, but some folks are now openly asking if he should be replaced. His department faced a withering Auditor-General report on the inefficiencies of the Department is getting aid and help to Veterans, but he was conveniently out of the country so he didn’t have to face the music.
The answer is yes, though I’m not exactly sure anyone who would replace Fantino would do much better. As always with the Harper government, unless public opinion polls (Read more…)
(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…)
In a little noticed comment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently was reported to say:
“Dropping our tax rate has not caused the government’s corporate income tax revenues to fall, which indicates that it does in fact attract business.”
No one seems to have questioned his statement, even though it was made on the same day Canada dropped to 15th place on the World Economic Forum’s index of global competitiveness from 9th in 2009. These rankings show corporate tax rates bearing little relationship to measures of global competitiveness.
Harper’s statement puts him squarely in the company of (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Is Harper right? Did corporate tax cuts really pay for themselves?
A guest blog post from Mario Seccareccia and Louis-Philippe Rochon.
After learning that the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on the grounds that it allegedly engages in politically partisan, biased and one-sided research activity, a number of university professors have drawn up an open letter asking the Minister of National Revenue place a moratorium on its audits of all the various think-tanks that claim charitable status, until such time when truly neutral criteria can be implemented in the selection and conduct of fair, transparent and even-handed periodic audits. Audits should be focused on the financial management and (Read more…)
Statistics Canada reported today that the number of people receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 12,070 in May – the largest drop in nearly two years. (The last time Statistics Canada records indicate a larger decrease was 12,670 in July 2012.)
This substantial decline in EI benefits comes as unemployment is rising. The Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment increased by 15,200 in May and by a further 25,700 in June.
Overall, only 37.5% of unemployed Canadians received EI benefits in May (i.e. 504,080 out of 1,343,800).
The fact that fewer Canadians can access benefits even (Read more…)
Federal Conservatives have been complaining lately about the courts being used, in the words of MP Dan Albas, “to do an end-run around our democratic process.” My immediate reaction to Albas’s remarks was, what democratic process? If he is referring to our current governance, describing it as democratic is overly generous.
To begin with, our government is run by a party that won the support of
The Harper Cons have announced they are naming the new Finance Canada building after the worst finance minister in Canadian (and Ontario) history, “Deficit Jim” Flaherty. To reflect Flaherty’s disastrous political record and mean-spirited personality, it will:
Be small and useless Go billions of dollars over budget and have a huge mortgage Be funded by money embezzled from veterans’ services, Employment Insurance, healthcare, scientific research, job training programs, environmental conservation, etc. Be built by underpaid temporary foreign workers instead of Canadians Be constructed and operated under unsafe conditions Have a false front Feature a gazebo, a fake lake and (Read more…)
“I can’t even get my friends to like me.”
Mark this date: April 16, 2014. Disgraced Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper tells the truth for the first time in his political career, as he campaigns at the state funeral of former finance minister Jim Flaherty. The rest of Harper’s speech was full of lies and propaganda, as usual.
Harper should be more like Flaherty (in his current state).
Canadians will forever be indebted because of Jim Flaherty.
Regardless of what one thinks of the recently deceased man on a personal level, if one uses objective, non-emotional criteria, it is clear that he was probably the worst finance minister in Canadian history. Unfortunately for us, his replacement, Joe Oliver, will likely be much worse.
Almost immediately after Flaherty’s death became public, the fawning political praise and sickening historical revisionism flooded in like oil from an Enbridge pipeline spill. Over-the-top accolades for the small callous man have been stomach-churning, and is an insult to his many victims. It is (Read more…)
Alex Usher, one of Canada’s most well-known post-secondary education pundits, has just written a blog post offering some sober second thought on Minister Kenney’s recent enthusiasm for Germany’s apprenticeship system.
Mr. Usher’s blog post can be accessed here.