They’ve haunted me. Incessantly. The ghosts of Reinhart and Rogoff. Their research here, there, everywhere.
Bank of Canada speeches? Yes. Finance Department talking points? Check. House of Commons debates? Yup. Globe editorials? Ditto. Discussions with fellow progressives? Sadly, yes.
Results? Arguments conjured in their name. Reason decapitated. Modern Monetary Theorists (MMT) banished to the netherworld of cranks.
But we told you so. We told you so**:
Randy Wray, writing a little more than a year ago, called them out, saying: “One hopes that the database they have assembled might provide more detail. . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Beating Back the Ghosts: Be Gone Appeals to Reinhart and Rogoff Authority. Welcome the Triumph of Reason.
Please see today’s Vancouver Sun — or click here — for my latest letter to the editor. This one is about BC Premier Christy Clark’s efforts to raise government revenue via liquefied natural gas production. As regular readers might expect, I am not exactly on board.
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Joseph Stiglitz discusses how the U.S.’ extreme inequality is limiting its prospects for economic recovery: There are all kinds of excuses for inequality. Some say it’s beyond our control, pointing to market forces like globalization, trade liberalization, the technological revolution, the “rise of the rest.” Others assert that doing anything about it would make us all worse off, by stifling our already sputtering economic engine. These are self-serving, ignorant falsehoods.
Market forces don’t exist in a vacuum — we shape them. Other countries, like fast-growing Brazil, have shaped them in
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Many scoff at the conservative analogy that the American government should manage its finances like a household, but little do they realize the idea doesn’t strengthen conservativism, it weakens it.
After a fiscal cliff deal that only increased taxes, many right-leaning politicians are preparing for a fight in order to cut spending. To bring the budget debate of Washington to the kitchen table of American families, many fiscal conservatives are comparing government finances to those of a household, progressives should not just let them, but they should do the exact same thing.
Democrats shouldn’t fight this nation-as-a-household analogy, they should
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Your Country’s Finances Are Exactly Like Yours
This and that for your Wednesday reading.
- Pat Atkinson highlights what should probably be the story of the year for 2012: the continued degradation of Canadian democracy under a government which views Parliament and the public with an alarming degree of contempt: Harper’s Conservatives see Parliament as a nuisance. Committees meet in secret, and opposition MPs aren’t to reveal what is learned. And it is clear that most of Parliament’s power has been centralized into a prime minister’s office that is determined to control governing party MPs and even its cabinet ministers.
Paul Thomas, professor emeritus of politics at
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links
Canada’s dangerously high household debt is being caused by people spending beyond their means, this Conservative government has done everything possible to make sure Canadians continue to do just that. In 2006 a newly elected Conservative government… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: In Their Words: Conservatives Responsible For High Household Debt
Canada’s debt is growing faster than our ability to pay for it. Since 2008 Canadian public debt has been growing faster than our GDP. Though there are many warning signs of economic trouble, there is no clearer caution of a potential crisis than when… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Canadian National Debt Growing Faster Than GDP
Though many would say that fiscal deficits from this Conservative government are the most worrying, their lack of economic knowledge is far more dangerous. Before showing the economic ignorance of Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre a quick introduction… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Conservative Fiscal Deficits & Ignorant Surpluses
This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Lawrence Martin’s take on Robocon doesn’t offer much by way of new information, but nicely sums up exactly what deliberate vote suppression and electoral fraud should mean for a governing party:At issue here is … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Referenced IMF data can be found here Canada’s increasing Debt-to-GDP ratio is a problem no one is talking about. While the country’s gross government debt (which includes all levels of government) is large, it is rising faster than our … . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Conservative Canada Is Closer To Crisis
Voters showed the Republican Party doesn’t represent America, but in losing the election and now facing hard choices, for America’s sake, perhaps Republicans should. For today, after losing the Presidency, again, and additional senate seats, Republica… . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Now Americans Need To Follow Republican Lead
Sept 2012: Unemployment is up at 7.4%; it has been increasing since June while American unemployment has only gone down.
July 2012: Worst trade deficit ever in Canadian history at $2.3 billion.
2012: GDP growth rate is declining (PDF pg 22). Canada is no longer the fastest growing economy in the G7; it is now behind America and Japan, as well as other more comparable resource-based economies like Australia and Norway.
2007-2012: Growing debt-to-GDP ratio, now at 85%. Since 1996 Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio had been decreasing from a dangerously high 102% to an eventual low of 66% in
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The Conservative Economic Record
The Ontario government Fall Economic Statement and Fiscal Review ignores and hides billions savings the province will gain from lower borrowing rates in coming years.
While this statement acknowledges that borrowing rates will be considerably lower in coming years–and more than 100 basis points lower in 2014–their forecast of debt interest costs (on page 85) is identical to what Ontario’s 2012 budget reported (on page 167). This makes little to no sense, particularly with the province’s debt also lower than they had anticipated in the budget.
The only possible explanation would be a very large shift in composition from
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario hiding savings from lower interest rates
Canadians are now more indebted than either Americans or the Brits at the peak of their housing bubble. Statistics Canada today revised the national accounts. The result on the household debt front was that instead of Canadian households having a debt to disposable income ratio of 154, it has now been revised upwards to 166.
The new data allows better disaggregation of non-profits and households that were previously lumped together. The lower debt ratios of non-profits were making the entire sector look like it had less debt. Now that households can be pulled out and examined
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Household debt going from bad to worse
With declining productivity, higher unemployment, and deficit after deficit, it should be obvious the Canadian government would do anything to strengthen the economy, however it is not so obvious what that same government has done to weaken it.
In a 2008 report it was predicted that the Conservative government in lowering the GST from 7% to 5% would increase the indebtedness of Canadians. Last week the repercussions of that decision six years ago became clearer; Moody’s warned that growing household debt could tip the Canadian economy back into recession.
Shortly after the federal government reduced the Goods and Services Tax
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: How Reducing The GST Increased Your Debt
Canadian writer Margaret Atwood’s book, “Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth”, is the basis for this riveting doc by filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal.
The previous post reflects a general mood about the Québec election and its perennial debates, constitutional and otherwise. Nonetheless, for all the talk about Québec’s specificity, many economic discussions bear striking resemblance to what is happening in the rest of North America. Worry about the public debt is one of them, one that has taken centre stage, amidst speculations of Québec’s future as a petro-province (or state) and the rush to tap northern mineral resource. I know it has been over 25 years since the whole thing began (under Mulroney, if I recall), but that still baffles me.
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Pour en finir avec la dette…
Kudos to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney for raising the profile of the over $500 billion Canadian corporations are holding in excess cash surpluses and not investing in the economy, which garnered front page coverage (and kudos to the CAW for inviting him to speak.)
It’s not the first time he’s raised this concern. Last year at the Empire Club he told assembled business leaders that their companies were in “rude health, have the means to act–and the incentives”, urging them to invest their surpluses. After cutting corporate tax rates, Finance Ministers Flaherty and Duncan have also
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Dead Money
I’ve decided to add another part to my underlooked Harper series upon reflection with new information in mind. All of the Stephen Harper quotes, unless otherwise noted, are dug up from the leaked Harper database of controversial quotes. I’m covering them because these haven’t gotten the media or blogger attention I believe they deserve. You can (and should) read part one, two, three, four, five and six here.
“Whether I agree with what he’s doing or not, Paul Martin is obviously in the top of his area,” Harper says. “He has good support within his party, (Read more…)
This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on September 29, 2011, with minor updates made on October 1, 2011. It is the first official, collective statement of the protesters in Zuccotti Park.
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its
. . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive World: What We Missed: OWS Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
With all the predictions of doom and gloom coming from the austerity camp, one would think that Canada was already about to hit the famed (but never seen) “debt wall.” Before we get too carried away, however, with the scary debt stuff, consider these two indicators of the fundamental fiscal fragility/stability of Canadian governments.
The first figure shows the net financial debt of the federal and provincial levels of government, measured as a share of GDP. This is total outstanding net financial liabilities. Federal net debt reached almost 70% of GDP in the mid-1990s, fell back steeply to
. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Fiscal “Crisis” In Context: Two Indicators