Sunday, December 14, 2014

Questioning The Orthodoxy


Joe Oliver is meeting with his provincial counterparts today. Kevin Page writes that, given Canada's and the world's economic outlook, it's time to ask some tough questions:

Some of these issues cannot be ignored any longer. For instance, will any provincial or territorial finance minister confront Joe Oliver, their federal counterpart, about income stagnation? Data on Human Resources and Social Development Canada’s site shows that median after-tax incomes for all families (or real GDP per capita) has been virtually flat since 2007. Debt feels very heavy when incomes are stagnating.

Or what about income inequality? The New Canadian Income Survey on the Statistics Canada website shows that 4.7 million people or 13.8 per cent of our population lived with low income in 2012 (income less than half of the median of all households). That is a troubling number that should worry all Canadian political leaders.

It's not that our finance ministers lack brains. Page gives credit where credit is due:

Our finance ministers are smart. They know that faster growth is going to require higher investment rates and sustainable public finances. But the reality is that Canada is falling down on capital investments in both the private and public sectors.  

That's because the ruling orthodoxy these days dictates that the only way to encourage investment is to cut taxes:

Why do we continue to pursue an approach that stunts growth now and for the future? Is this public sector mismanagement? Or, is this an effort to achieve a balanced budget that allows for spending on current goods or services (for my generation that votes) at the cost of capital goods for future generations (our children and grandchildren that do not yet vote)?

And what about infrastructure spending? Will the ministers confront Oliver about the 2013-14 Public Accounts for Infrastructure Canada, which show the federal government is not getting planned transfers on infrastructure out the door. Last year, $640 million was left unspent on a range of infrastructure programs. What will this mean for future Canadians?

The austerity approach set out in the 2012 federal budget will succeed in generating a balanced budget, but at a cost: slower growth and degraded public services like support for veterans. Meanwhile, the government is responding to its improved fiscal situation not by raising the investment rate, but by cutting taxes further.

Page got into trouble because he questioned the Harper government's orthodoxy. Time has proven, however, that Kevin Page knows a lot more about economics than Stephen Harper does.


Lorne said...

I was hoping you would post about this item, Owen. You always do an outstanding job excerpting and commenting on important stories. It is also reassuring to see that Kevin Page has not gone quietly into 'that good night' but is continuing his battle for government accountability and real leadership. Let's hope his spirit spreads.

Owen Gray said...

He continues to rage, Lorne, at those who would drown the light.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to see anyone doing anything, to get rid of Harper.

Canadian jobs are being given to, cheap foreign labor. Now microsoft is hiring foreigners.

Harper sold us out to Communist China with his FIPPA deal and that makes Harper a traitor doing acts of treason.

Harper steals our tax dollars for ad os jobs that don't exist.

Harper lies and cheats to win. He has no right to even be the PM. Harper uses his religion to govern and the gall to say he is a Christian.

Harper's caucus are useless, spineless, gutless wonders. The opposition is even worse at being useless.

Harper is the worst entity we have known in Canada since Hitler. We went to war, so we wouldn't have evil governing our country. Quite frankly, Harper is not worth our young Canadian boys dying for.

Yet, there is still the religious freak, still dictating.

Owen Gray said...

Harper won't change, Anon. So we'll have to change his position. He needs a new house and a new job.

mogs moglio said...

Harper according to ex-professor Tom Flanagan is prone to bouts of depression inter mixed with bullying. Now other than mail room boy can't hold a real job. Throws hissy fits in front of foreign diplomats if he can't have his way. Throws furniture around in cabinet meetings to prove he alone is "the Harper Government of Canada". Also destroys songs:

Enjoy the link Owen and friends...

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps he's hoping, Mogs that -- when he retires -- someone will offer him a recording contract.

Something tells me that the record producers won't be beating a path to his door.

bcwaterboy said...

It's really a shame that an individual with the integrity and brilliance of Kevin Page are not running for political leadership. It's shameful that we continue to be duped by ego-maniacs like Steve Harper that he has the general populations interest at heart when nothing could be further from the truth. I must admit have a really sick feeling that we'll be stuck with this dude and his minions for another 4 years. Hope I'm wrong.

Owen Gray said...

All I can add, waterboy, is that I, too, hope you're wrong.

mogs moglio said...

Yes BCWater I hope you are wrong too... Because if he gets in for another four we are screwed? Yes?