More Stimulating Debate
Before long, the talk turned to Deficit Jim's upcoming budget and what kind of stimulus we can expect (spoiler alert: not this one). I believe it was Don Drummond who made a series of good points, which I paraphrase here:
1. Given the scope of the problem and the fact that it was created outside of Canada, it's unlikely that whatever stimulus we bring in will be particularly effective in turning things around. However, it's a great opportunity to work on infrastructure projects now that costs are cheaper - so as to avoid the mess the PCs got Alberta into by building in a heated economy.
2. The stimulus needs to be used on projects that are immediate and it must be temporary in nature (sorry Dean). Immediate so that we don't need to wait to see the benefits, and temporary so that we can balance the books once things pick up.
3. Temporary tax cuts are about the worst possible thing Flaherty could do. In the US, they only injected about 10 cents on the dollar into the economy and, as we all know, reversing a "temporary" tax cut is a difficult political move to make down the road.
4. As one of the other economists pointed out, it rarely does any good to inject money into dying industries.
So what does it all mean? Well, the best thing the Tories could do would be to use this crisis as a "get out of surplus free" card and do some real long term good for Canada. Improve our infrastructure. Green the country. Create national projects that we'll benefit from for years to come.
Will they do that? Well, given this government's all consuming preference for short-term political pay-offs, I wouldn't hold my breath.
Labels: economic stimulus