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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.

Political Eh-conomy: Three planks for a possible anti-austerity

What would anti-austerity in Canada look like? There are really two types of questions here. There are those of analysis: what has Canada’s austerity looked like, what makes it distinctive and how does it appear in people’s everyday experience? The others are those of political strategy. These are questions that will have to wait for . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Three planks for a possible anti-austerity

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: Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

This afternoon I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration. The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here.

Points I raised in the presentation include the following:

-Tuition . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

The Progressive Economics Forum: When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

This piece was published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty:

1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

The Progressive Economics Forum: Household debt going from bad to worse

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.

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Household debt going from bad to worse

The Progressive Economics Forum: Dead Money

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. . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Dead Money

The Progressive Economics Forum: Deflating Housing Bubble Risks Recession

Seen in isolation, Finance Minister Flaherty probably did the right thing yesterday in seeking to safely deflate the housing bubble and lower the dangerous growth of household credit to a record level as a share of household income.

But he did it very late in the game, and risks tipping an already very fragile economy . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Deflating Housing Bubble Risks Recession

The Progressive Economics Forum: US family net worth crushed by financial crisis

The US Federal Reserve today released its triennial examination of incomes and net worth of American households in the Survey of Consumer Finances. It shows the crushing effects on net worth of a housing and financial bust unparalleled since the great depression.

The shocking results of this study overviewed in the New York Times are . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: US family net worth crushed by financial crisis

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference. My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link.

Points I raised in the address include the following:

-Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

Politics and Entertainment: Banksters will be on a Desperate Prowl for the Rest of 2012

As I’ve suggested many times, the current global economic conditions were to be expected. We are in a static, no growth economy forever, the maximum growth hovering around 2%. for the foreseeable future.  I could live with that, but market-driven neoliberals couldn’t, and they are the ones who, alas, control economic policy in the world. . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Banksters will be on a Desperate Prowl for the Rest of 2012

The Progressive Economics Forum: Discussing Quebec Student Protests on Talk Radio

Last Friday, I blogged here about the Quebec student protests. Subsequently, I was invited to appear on 580 CFRA News Talk Radio, with hosts Rob Snow and Lowell Green.

I should note that Mr. Green is the author of several books, including:

-How the Granola Crunching, Tree Hugging Thug Huggers are Wrecking our Country;

–Mayday . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Discussing Quebec Student Protests on Talk Radio

Politics and Entertainment: Debt Continues To Smother Us All Thanks to the Banksters

So here’s how it works.  Although coming off record profits in 2011, Canadian banksters have decided to nickel and dime us in 2012 with their new chequing and ATM fees.  Why?  Because, on the one hand,  healthy corporations are hoarding their Flaherty tax cuts cash, are understandably reluctant to invest given a shaky global economy, and consequently simply don’t . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Debt Continues To Smother Us All Thanks to the Banksters

Politics and Entertainment: Five Lumps of Coal for Canada’s Economy

The recent IMF Report on Canada prompts me to remind everyone of some startling figures about the Canadian economy:  1) The private and federal debt combined ratio to GDP is an astonishing 203%.  2) The jobless rate in November is 7.4%, the worst in 5 months.  3) Youth unemployment is 14% and even worse in . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Five Lumps of Coal for Canada’s Economy

Politics and Entertainment: Unemployed people can’t pay taxes, and they certainly curtail their spending

Like the good neoclassical economist he is, President Harper said on Friday that he and his bulldog want to indulge their pathological addiction to austerity and tackle that mean old junk yard federal budget when, in fact, we know that they should really be focusing on the job creation strategies we so desperately need. My . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Unemployed people can’t pay taxes, and they certainly curtail their spending

Politics and Entertainment: The zombie-banker lives and roams the earth

Another follow-up;

Craig Alexander, TD’s chief economist – it pains me to reference a classic neoclassical bank economist – noted on Lang and O’Leary last night that Canada’s debt to income ratio is high less because of increasing debt and more because real wages are falling.  So the deleveraging I mentioned a few posts back . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: The zombie-banker lives and roams the earth

Politics and Entertainment: We’re in an of economic whirlpool with no immediately conceivable way out

An addendum to yesterday’s post with some additional observations referenced from Tavia Grant’s report in The Globe and Mail today.

I suggested yesterday that we’re in an economic whirlpool with no immediately conceivable way out, and Tavia suggests implicitly that what could suck us down to the bottom of that  pool is a significant jump . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: We’re in an of economic whirlpool with no immediately conceivable way out

Politics and Entertainment: Neither Deleveraging nor Further Leveraging of Household Debt Works

Canadian household debt hits record high   Okay, so Stats Can tells us today that Canadian household debt has reached a record high 152.98%, a level relative to income that surpasses that of the U.S. and Britain, but President Harper and his bulldog Flaherty continue to spin the “but we’re better off” sop. At least Mark Carney is . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Neither Deleveraging nor Further Leveraging of Household Debt Works

Politics and Entertainment: A Simple Solution for the Deficit that Might Please Both Progressives and Neo-classical Economists

Given the record profits of and incentives paid out in Cdn banks recently, there is no credible argument that says they can’t afford a financial service transaction tax, and, as we know, it is the financial sector that is largely responsible for the economic mess in which we find ourselves.  It seems only fitting, then, . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: A Simple Solution for the Deficit that Might Please Both Progressives and Neo-classical Economists

Politics and Entertainment: Jobs Waning, Debt Mounting, Wages Slipping: A Bleak Outlook

Here are some followup comments that supplement my last post.

The emerging picture of the Canadian economy is bleak.  Inscribed as every government in the Western world is in neoclassical economic policy that shapes the global economy, the blame can be easily spread around, but our own government could be combatting the situation meaningfully with . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Jobs Waning, Debt Mounting, Wages Slipping: A Bleak Outlook

Politics and Entertainment: Combined with Harper Regime’s Austerity Program, Continuous Deleveraging of Household Debt Could be a Serious Issue

House prices have been speculatively bid up to 29% over real value with all the low interest, easy credit banks have been only too willing to give us. They’re just sooo good to us. But a little recent fear has begun a deleveraging of household debt in Canada – which is, relative to income, at . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Combined with Harper Regime’s Austerity Program, Continuous Deleveraging of Household Debt Could be a Serious Issue

The Progressive Economics Forum: William Watson on PSE

On Wednesday, William Watson wrote a comment piece in the Financial Post in which he was critical of Armine Yalnizyan’s recent essay on inequality that appeared the National Post. In his piece, Mr. Watson alleges that Armine “is guilty of fantastical reminiscence,” particularly with respect to her take on post-secondary education (PSE). Among other things, Mr. Watson […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: William Watson on PSE

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario Student Debt

Last week, the CCPA released a paper by David Macdonald and Erika Shaker entitled Under Pressure: The Impact of Rising Tuition Fees on Ontario Families. The paper does a good job of explaining which households have been most impacted by rising tuition fees in Ontario. Points made in the paper include the following: -In light […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario Student Debt

The Progressive Economics Forum: Is There a Student Debt Bubble?

A recent article in The Atlantic looks at student debt in the United States and suggests there may be a student debt bubble. Written by the authors of the recent book, Higher Education?, the article points out that “college loans are nearing the $1 trillion mark, more than what all households owe on their credit cards.” The article also […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Is There a Student Debt Bubble?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Recession Ahead?

TD Economics yesterday released a rather gloomy report, putting the odds of a US recession at 40%, and arguing that that Canadian economy is more vulnerable to recession than it was in 2008. It highlights reduced capacity for governments to respond given that interest rates are already very low, and given that that household and […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Recession Ahead?