Tim Hudak has been traveling around Ontario, pledging to create a million jobs by cutting taxes. Linda McQuaig writes that the problem is that Hudak's plan is an hallucination:
But what makes Hudak’s plan veer beyond nutty to insidious is the fact that it’s coupled with a plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs. (That’s how he plans to pay for the tax cuts that, allegedly, would create the jobs.)
Unlike the imaginary ones, these public sector jobs — mostly in education, health care and social services — are real jobs held by real workers providing real services to real people. This will all go, Hudak pledges boldly.
So Hudak’s job creation plan begins by eliminating 100,000 jobs, leaving him obliged to create even more new jobs — 1.1 million. Since they’re imaginary, this turns out to be easy.
Hudak claims that the Conference Board of Canada has approved his plan. That, too, is an hallucination:
Yes, the PCs did pay the Conference Board to do an analysis. But Pedro Antunes, deputy chief economist at the Conference Board, told me in an interview that the Conference Board is not endorsing the Million Jobs plan — nor did it even see the plan.
Antunes also acknowledged that data produced by the federal Finance department shows that far more jobs are created by government spending than by corporate tax reductions.
For instance, a 2009 Finance department chart estimates that if Ottawa spent $1 billion on support for unemployed and low-income individuals, it would generate 18,755 jobs. The same chart shows that if
Ottawa gave up $1 billion in revenue in corporate income tax reductions, this would create only 3,310 jobs.
In other words, the federal Finance department — not known for progressive economics, particularly in the Harper era — concluded that government spending on the poor and unemployed creates substantially more jobs than cutting corporate taxes.
When I asked Antunes if the same pattern would be true in Ontario, he replied: “You’re absolutely right. There are economic levers that could be bigger than corporate tax cuts.”
It's being kind to call Hudak's plan an hallucination. Some might call it a lie.