Friday, January 24, 2014

Hot Air

Stephen Harper likes to crow about his government's management of the economy. But the facts are out of synch with the hype. Two days ago, Alex Roberts tallied up the record after eight years of Conservative stewardship. The report should be read in full. But consider just a few excerpts:

  • National unemployment rate in January, 2006: 6.6
  • National unemployment rate in December, 2013: 7.2
  • Increase in the number of unemployed in Canada since January 2006: 236,200
  • Youth unemployment rate, January 2006: 12.2
  • Youth unemployment rate, December 2013: 14.0
  • Rank of Canada’s unemployment rate in 2013 compared to other G7 countries: 3rd
  • Rank of Canada among the 34 OECD nations in employment creation 2007-2012: 20th

  • Then consider the following:

  • Number of governments since 1935 that have presided over a slower rate of real economic growth per capita than the Harper Conservatives: 0
  • Number of consecutive annual federal budget deficits: 6
  • Number of budget deficit targets hit by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty: 0
  • Number of consecutive annual federal budget surpluses under the previous Liberal   (Chr├ętien/Martin) governments: 9
  • Amount added to the federal national debt since Conservatives took power in 2006: 
  • $123,500,000,000.

  • And, finally, note the following numbers:

  • Percentage increase in the inflation-adjusted average hourly manufacturing wage, 2006-2013: 0
  • Percentage drop in productivity (GDP produced per employed person), 2006 to September 2013: 1.9

  • Mr. Harper likes to reward the private sector. But, in that hallowed world, an executive with that kind of record would be dumped. Yet he's still with us. And he's still full of hot air.


    bcwaterboy said...

    Time for Justin and Tom to crow about those numbers. Not a great record by any means and shows how empty the suits are at the top.

    Owen Gray said...

    It's no record at all, waterboy. And the crowing comes from a government which spent $2.5 million advertising a non existent jobs program.

    Anonymous said...

    These figures are hardly surprising.

    We already know about Harper's questionable "credentials" as an Economist. Flaherty, apparently, was a Personal Injury lawyer (i.e. an ambulance chaser). The figures support the suitability of his nickname: Deficit Jim.

    Between the two of them, they will have the "distinction" of leaving hapless Canadians with the second highest gross national debt of likely around $150B when they are through (assuming we get rid of them in 2015).

    Harper's legacy debt would be second only to Mulroney's gross national debt of $330B over 8 years of his government. Contrast that with Trudeau leaving us with a debt of around $110B after 17 years, Chretien around $30B after 11 years, and Martin actually paying down the debt by about $30B after 2 years.

    Owen Gray said...

    The devil is in the details, Anon. Harper and Flaherty have tried to obscure the numbers. That's why there are really very few of them in the budget bills.

    The truth is that both men are not who they say they are.

    Anonymous said...

    In other words, all is going according to plan. High unemployment destroys workers' bargaining power, while large deficits are used to scare the public into slashing social programs, especially ones that help the poor or reduce inequality. Helping the rich get richer has always been Harper's true goal.

    Owen Gray said...

    Precisely, Anon. Harper has never known poverty or want. It's Wealth that matters.

    Anonymous said...

    Harper only wants two incomes in Canada, the very wealthy and the very poor. The wealthy are being advised on how to hide their wealth in, off shore tax free accounts.

    I am waiting to see the results from, the meeting of the three Amigo's.

    Owen Gray said...

    And those who used to be in the middle of the income ladder are being forced down into the ranks of the working poor, Anon.

    e.a.f. said...

    The figures speak for themselves, but another indicator we like to use is, the line up the bar at community charity events. It is getting smaller and smaller. People still have the money to attend the event (usually a sit down dinner). They have the money to bid on items to raise money, but the lines for the booze are much smaller.

    Partly that is because there is less money available and also, the bar is cash, not the credit card. Doesn't matter where the event was or what charity, it was noticed. Well when you don't drink you have lots of time to sit around and look and getting through the drinkers to get a pop, is so much easier.

    Owen Gray said...

    That's an interesting indicator, e.a.f. -- one that I hadn't thought of. If people are unemployed or underemployed -- and if they have to pay cash -- the economic wheels won't turn so fast.