Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Biggest Thorn


Joe Oliver announced yesterday that he would be introducing balanced budget legislation. Asked to comment on CBC's Power and Politics, former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page said:

"Do we need the legislation? We didn't need the legislation from the mid-1990s to 2007-2008, when we had 11 years of surpluses. I think the government feels somehow it needs to constrain itself."

The Harperites blame past governments -- particularly Liberal governments -- for the deficit. But Page pointed out that Mr Harper and his confreres inherited a $12 billion surplus from the Liberals. The Conservatives created the deficit, he said, by lowering the GST by 2% and by cutting corporate and personal tax rates. 

And tax free savings accounts also cut into government revenues. Asked if many people would be able to put away $11,000 in savings every year, Page answered, "I don't have $11,000." To increase savings, he said, we have to increase wage growth -- which isn't happening.

The difference between Kevin Page and Stephen Harper is that Page is a real economist. Harper is a mere politician. That's why Page is the biggest thorn in the prime minister's side.


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Kev Page eh?

Mogs Moglio

Owen Gray said...

In or out of government, Mogs, he still speaks truth to power.

Anonymous said...

Harper ain't much of an investor either, losing $2-3B of taxpayer money when he sold the GM shares earlier this week to balance his budget.

Now this "Economist" wants to pass a balanced budget bill after having racked up 6 consecutive deficits and a gross national debt of $150-$250B (depending on who you ask).

We should be thankful that we have people like Kevin Page, Richard Colvin, and author and journalist, Michael Harris, who are speaking truth to power and paying a personal price.

Owen Gray said...

There are still people who will call Harper out, Anon. The question is, "Are Canadians paying attention?"

Rural said...

This is more about trying to hamper future (non Harper) governments and playing to their base supporters than any economic concerns, Owen.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Rural. Harper has always been about leaving lots of scorched earth behind him.

Scotian said...

Owen Gray:

There is a reason why I've referred to Harper as the Salter of the Scorched Earth PM so many times in the past. His goal was always not merely destruction, it was to destroy the tools needed to repair what he destroys, a far worse thing. This was a major part of why I said all along this man cannot be allowed near the PMO, that the Martin government for all its faults was still less corrosive, less dangerous, less damaging by no small margin than even a Harper minority, let alone Gods forbid a majority

Page at least shows an honest man's approach to what the Harper CPC has done in its so called self described responsible economic management of the fiscal framework of the government of Canada. Ironic that it comes from the first PBO that Harper put in place at the beginning of his first term as PM when he was still trying to con people into believing that he really was serious about ethical reform of government and providing that "clean cut Conservative government" he kept talking about. Of course no sooner did Page start actually doing his job as a responsible person does when entrusted with such does he go onto the Harper hit list and driven from the post as soon as possible and attacked as some sort of partisan (despite being an appointment of their own making).

Leaving all his other acts of economic stupidity, if he had just left the GST alone we would have been in far better fiscal shape all along these last nine years. I never heard any independent economist of any political persuasion state that was a good idea/approach even at the time, and especially once the financial collapse of 2008 happened it really showed what kind of stupidity it was. It created a structure deficit before that collapse, so every time I hear CPCers defend their economic spending record by blaming it all on that it burns. I hate blatantly obvious lies/stupidity in action and that is clearly one of the greats, even by Harperite standards.

Page did his best as PBO and he continues to serve the public interest when he comes forward as he has here. Too bad it does so little good.

Owen Gray said...

Harper managed to turn 10 years of Liberal surpluses into 7 years of Conservative deficits, Scotian.

And he's blaming the Liberals for creating a mountain of debt. He's a master of the Big Lie.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:30 pm

You need to look at Canada's debt clock to see the truth:

It is honestly well over 1,000,000,000,000.00 yes one trillion yes that is correct one trillion dollars.


Owen Gray said...

It's all about how debt is created and used, Mogs. If debt is the result of tax cuts, we're all in trouble.