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Alberta Diary: What the Fraser Institute’s numbers actually show, minus the spin: Alberta has a revenue problem, not a spending problem

The Fraser Institute: peddling conclusions that don’t match the evidence and have enough holes to store captured carbon. Actual Fraser Institute “fellows” may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: A piece of Swiss cheese, which may actually resemble the claims in a Fraser Institute press release, metaphorically speaking.

If the Fraser Institute told the whole truth, or if the mainstream media did its job, here’s the what the first sentence of the Edmonton Journal’s story about the institute’s most recent “report” could have said:

“Alberta’s finances are in better shape than other energy-producing provinces and states, says a report released (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The Minimum Wage from first principles

The minimum wage, like most government policies, is first and foremost a form of wealth distribution. There are winners and losers from the distribution. The biggest group of winners is the obvious one: low wage workers who now get paid more. Raising the wage floor also raises wages somewhat for workers above the bottom as employers needs to differentiate on wages to attract higher valued workers.

The losers depend on how companies react to a minimum wage.  If they fire low wage employees to compensate, then those fired or not hired suffer and the unemployment rate will rise. If they (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: You could drive one of those tar sands heavy haulers through the gaping holes in the latest Fraser Institute ‘study’ of Alberta’s finances

A worker in Fort McMurray prepares to drive this truck through the holes in the Fraser Institute’s “report,” which claims Alberta’s finances are in worse shape than those of places like Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana. Below: The Norwegian oil port of Stavanger, which, according to the Fraser Institute, doesn’t exist!

Alberta should adopt a sales tax, according to the latest press release from the Fraser Institute.

But don’t worry, the latest piece of far-right puffery from the market-fundamentalist “think tank” – which prefers to refer to this bumpf as a “study” or a “report” – only advocates a consumption (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Conservative Chris Tells A Tall Tale

.@CBCNews – @calxandr HarperCON’s trained MP seal, announces Poverty has been eliminated in Canada. Yes, really youtu.be/ncUtF2E7D8Y— StopApartheid Israel (@NadineLumley) July 24, 2014

How Chris Alexander stacks up with James Moore, and Lying Leona A. I’ll leave to you to sort out.

The Common Sense Canadian: Under Liberals, big projects often double in cost…Why would Site C Dam be any different?

Seeing red: The roof on BC Place Stadium is just one of many cost overruns on the BC Liberals’ watch

Oh, for the days of the fast ferries…compared to what we have now.

Most British Columbians will recall Premier Glen Clark’s late 1990′s boondoggle, which saw the construction of three new coastal vessels balloon from a projected $210 million to nearly $460 million.

How could we forget? After the relentless salvos from pundits like Vaughan Palmer and Mike Smyth led to the NDP government’s collapse, in every election cycle since, the incumbent BC Liberals have dragged out these ghost ships to bolster their own (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam threatens BC’s credit rating: Hudson’s Hope Mayor, Council

The following is a July 15 open letter to Premier Christy Clark from the District of Hudson’s Hope – near the location of the proposed Site C reservoir.

Dear Premier Clark,

Re: British Columbia Utilities Commission Review of Proposed Site C Dam Project

I am writing to urgently request that you refer the proposed Site C Dam Project to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for further review of project costs, alternatives to Site C, and related issues prior to making a decision on this project.

Prudent fiscal management requires further review of Site C

The District of Hudson’s Hope, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Class Warfare CAUSED Income Inequality, Not the Opposite

Horatio Alger mythology is designed to make us leave the 1% alone and shut the fuck up.

If you haven’t yet seen John Oliver’s amazing rant about the perils of inequality and how the rich shame us out of talking about it by suggesting we’re trying to invoke class warfare, you can see it below.

The truth is, income inequality doesn’t just happen one day, then the classes fight each other. Class warfare is what creates the conditions for income inequality.

But as long as the 1% can keep us from talking about class issues, we can say income inequality (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Fort St. John businessman isn’t buying economic promises

Longtime Fort St. John businessman Bob Fedderly isn’t buying the economic benefits touted for the proposed Site C Dam.

The owner of Fedderly Transportation sat down with The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis at his office in Fort St. John last month to discuss the project, which would be located near Fort St. John, with an 80km reservoir stretching west to the town of Hudson’s Hope.

Among Fedderly’s biggest concerns are the boom-and-bust effects of project construction on his community, the impact it would have on already skyrocketing power bills for his business, and the waste of tax dollars on the $8 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: The Economist calculates the enormous cost of ignoring climate change

Rendering of New York City from “World Under Water”, an app designed by Carbon Story

Read this June 28 story from The Economist on the cost of doing nothing to curb climate change – and interesting corollary to the World Bank’s recent determination that tackling global warming could significantly grow the global economy.

It has been the hottest May ever, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The world’s average surface temperature was 0.74°C above its 20th-century average. Alaska was almost 2°C above its 1971-2000 level.

The heat has brought American business out in a rash. Two weeks after (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: World Bank: Battling climate change would grow global economy

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim

Read this June 24 story from The Guardian on the World Bank’s view that tackling climate change would be good for the global economy, contradicting statements by national leaders like Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australia’s Tony Abbott.

Fighting climate change would help grow the world economy, according to the World Bank, adding up to $2.6tn (£1.5tn) a year to global GDP in the coming decades.

The findings, made available in a report on Tuesday, offer a sharp contrast with claims by the Australian government that fighting climate change (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How the Tsilhqot’in Land Title Ruling Can Help Kill Enbridge

Watch Pam Palmater’s response to the SCC ruling. Click above.

Stephen Harper had about a week to enjoy the glory of his remarkably understated whispery notification that the Enbridge climate killing pipeline will proceed.

Yesterday the Supreme Court shut down the prime minister, which they have a tendency to do because he so flagrantly intends to violate it. So they keep slapping his hand.

With the Tsilhqot’in ruling, our hope that first nations are our last line of defense against more climate killing tarsands development, has been greatly augmented.

In the coming weeks we will see how this may be (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson tally cost of climate change

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson

By Jonathan Fahey, The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Climate change is likely to exact enormous costs on U.S. regional economies in the form of lost property, reduced industrial output and more deaths, according to a report backed by a trio of men with vast business experience.

The report, released Tuesday, is designed to convince businesses to factor in the cost of climate change in their long-term decisions and to push for reductions in emissions blamed for heating the planet.

It was commissioned by the Risky Business Project, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: New Quebec government choosing fossil fuels over green jobs

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is putting green jobs on the back burner (Photo: facebook)

One thing Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, BC Premier Christy Clark and new Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard all share in common is the dated notion that economic and sustainable development are competing concepts that need to be reconciled, with great difficulty. And in hard times, the economy must take precedence.

The term reconciliation seems totally out of place when one considers that the green sectors are among the fastest growing and highest job creation sectors of our time and that this growth can only get better as nations adopt more aggressive (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C dam would hike power bills, drive mills, mines out of business

Read this June 10 column from Judith Lavoie at Demog Canada on the opposition to the proposed Site C Dam from major industrial power users.

Major industrial power users in British Columbia fear that if the proposed Site C dam becomes a reality, rate hikes could put mills and mines out of business while saddling taxpayers with a costly white elephant and ballooning BC Hydro debt.

A decision on the $7.9 billion plan to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River will be made by the federal and provincial governments this fall.

Economic questions about the mega-project were raised (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Are pipeline spills good for the economy, as Kinder Morgan says?

Health concerns plague many who worked to clean up the BP oil spill (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Energy giant Kinder Morgan was recently called insensitive for pointing out that “Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short- and long-term.”

The company wants to triple its shipping capacity from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby, in part by twinning its current pipeline. Its National Energy Board submission states, “Spill response and cleanup creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and cleanup service providers.”

It’s not about going (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Pope, a Kardashian and Arianna Huffington Walk into a Bar

The pope, a Kardashian and Arianna Huffington walk into a bar.

The Pope says, “Inequality is the root of social evil” as he’s trashing the global economic disorder, but since it was reported on Arianna Huffington’s website, we couldn’t help but be lured to a link photo of a Kardashian mom posting a picture of her in a bikini in Mexico because her daughter did. [I'm still not sure why this matters.]

The Pope continues, “We discard a whole generation to maintain an economic system that no longer endures, a system that to survive has to make war, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Does Soft Fascism Look Like These Days?

We don’t see brown shirts and jackboots, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t seeing the de-democratization of our society.

In Vancouver this month, armed police with guns drawn, raided a house because they suspected people inside not of being terrorists, but of spray painting “No Pipelines” all over the place.

Read Police raid house in East Vancouver, with guns drawn, on pretext of anti-pipeline graffiti | Warrior Publications.

But in Harper’s Canada, opposing pipelines is deemed by the climate change deniers as an act of economic terrorism, which we will likely see in a far more pronounced fashion if in (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Game theory and corporate tax rates: the Ontario Liberals are almost certainly wrong

I don’t know what the optimal corporate tax rate is. I suspect neither does anyone. I believe there is reasonable evidence out there that given the kinds of goals and values we likely share, that a somewhat higher corporate tax rate is preferred, but what exactly that rate is – what the Game Theoretically Optimal or GTO rate is, I don’t know.

Among the Ontario parties, the Liberals want to keep the tax rate fixed at the new 11.5% level they have introduced since being in power. The PCs want a 30% (3.5 percentage points) further reduction. The (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Economists aren’t buying Tim Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan

Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak (Photo: Facebook)

Finally, a mainstream media story that puts some of the extraordinary job claims made on the campaign trail under a microscope. Read this May 28 Globe and Mail story by Adrian Morrow that catches Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak in a giant fib about the million jobs he claims he’ll create if given the electoral mandate. According to a series of reputable economists, Hudak is playing fast and loose with the numbers, basing his promises on some very bad arithmetic.

A growing chorus of economists says Tim Hudak vastly inflated the number of jobs his signature Million Jobs Plan would create, (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Ha-Joon Chang – Economics Is NOT too complicated for the Average Person

Mr.Chang is the author of the 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. It is a accessible book on Economics and economic theory that really, everyone should read. This brief twenty minute talk on understanding Economics is both necessary and enlightening.

Filed under: Education Tagged: Economics, Ha-Joon Chang

The Common Sense Canadian: Quebec won’t see job benefits from Line 9, Energy East: report

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling promoting Energy East (Canadian Press)

MONTREAL – A new report says proposals to pipe oilsands crude to Quebec refineries would only deliver negligible economic benefits to the province.

An economist who co-authored the study says job creation and spinoffs from several active pipeline-and-processing proposals would be insignificant to Quebec’s overall economy.

At the same time, Brigid Rowan says a pipeline accident could cost lives and put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars — particularly if a spill takes place in an urban area like Toronto or Montreal.

The report was conducted by California-based consulting (Read more…)

Trashy's World: Mr. Hudak meets Mr. Dictionary for the very first time!

As I write this, Timmie is Googling the word “economics”… Ms. Wynne is being so unfair using such darned big words!!! I have italicized the phrase noting the flaw that anyone with even a passing understanding of arithmetic would notice immediately. And he thinks he is fit to govern the largest province in Canada???? Not […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Common Sense health care would save lives, help the economy

If the definition of good governance includes the sound management of public monies and resources, then Canada has very bad governance.

The manufactured health care crisis is a case in point. Solutions to challenges of cost, quality, and access are fairly straightforward but wilfully ignored, and current trajectories towards corporatization are leading us in the wrong direction.

If the challenges are responsibly addressed, every Canadian will have access to exemplary health care, based on need rather than ability to pay. Additionally, Canadians will save money, and the economy will be positively impacted.

3 big ideas

Dr. Danielle Martin (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Thomas Piketty’s real challenge was to the FT’s Rolex types | Comment is free | The Guardian

Thomas Piketty’s real challenge was to the FT’s Rolex types | Comment is free | The Guardian.

If the FT’s attack on the radical economist’s ‘rising inequality’ thesis is right, then all the gross designer bling in its How To Spend It section can be morally justifiedre

 

The adverts in the FT and other reputable papers – mainly for large watches, first-class air travel, portable fine art etc – should be collectively retitled How To Hide It

Thomas Piketty’s Capital was still No 3 on the Amazon bestseller list when the Financial Times dropped its front-page bombshell. By (Read more…)