Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Via Wells, Harper today:

“The difficulty with the opposition, everyone knows, is they can complain about the deficit all they want, but everyone knows they’d run it a lot higher and they’d make it permanent.”

“We don’t want to get into a situation like the Liberals had us in in the ’90s, where they were raising taxes and cutting health care and education.”

So, to recap, our economist Prime Minister believes that the Liberals would:

a) Increase taxes
b) Cut spending
c) Increase the deficit

Now, I've taken a few ECON classes at Harper's alma mater, and this kind of goes against what they taught us. Of course, I may have skipped that class - in which case, I'm sure that was also the same day they covered "if we were going to have a recession, it would have happened by now".



  • Disappointed with a Nanos poll of Canadians a week or two ago about how to belance the budget. I didn't expect to see the most logical solution, raise taxes, be the most popular. But so many people suggested cutting government programmes, about twice as many as were for ending the Stimulus.

    Government has been cut to record small size by CPC already and there isn't a lot of difference between our Stimulus spending and general government programmes I don't think. We are running record deficits. I bet if Nanos asked if any specific government programmes were to be cut people would answer no for the most part.
    I can't believe Canadians want more government cuts (except for growing prisons of course) instead of taxing banks and oil sands more. I guess we'll always get by selling commodities but it seems like a mediocre existence to always cut taxes too much and be forced to spend a decade cleaning up mess if our not-very-productive largest corporations. Excepting the biggest few dozen players, lots of productive and socially responsible companies acoss Canada. Too bad they don't get the oil sands and finance kiddie glove fiscal treatment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:46 p.m.  

  • ...if you just give the oil sands tax breaks to staph-fighting companies or hospital initiatives, the boomers would pay some of their AGW costs and fund their own healthcare. If you gave the $10B big three bailout to solvent Ford and to foreign electric car makers...IDK why you would penalize Ford for doing okay (by bailing out idiot Chysler and GM) and why you wouldn't want to try to have Zenn conquer Chindia.

    Flames get a free PP every home game. Is fine but never win a Stanley Cup that way unless finish 1st. Redwings last few years usually on PK more often at home than PP and have wicked Special Teams. I don't think is good for anyone not an oil exec to have oil sands overbuild not paying pollution costs and at J.Flaherty 3rd world corporate tax rates...is too traumatizing once the playoffs start...

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 11:53 p.m.  

  • I think something interesting that could be added to your blog would be a deficit tracker, maybe with a nice picture of Mr. Angry right beside it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:24 a.m.  

  • You should get something similar to Laurence Decore's Conservative Debt clock, except it is Deficit Jim's!

    By Blogger Kyle H., at 12:48 a.m.  

  • Cutting spending in limited areas doesn't prevent a possible Liberal administration from increasing spending in other areas. They're still polling, for example, on spending tens of billions of dollars on nationalizing the indoctrination of the very young so that both parents can go to work to pay their taxes. Or something like that.

    At least it beats Ignatieff's claims that the Conservatives can't possibly balance the books without increasing taxes or cutting spending, but that the Liberals would balance the books without increasing taxes or cutting spending.

    By Blogger Paul, at 5:37 a.m.  

  • Hahaha! Harper is campaigning for them!

    Harper's an idiot. He could have chosen either to talk about how:
    Approach A: The Liberals were going to defeat his government unless he dramatically increased spending immediately, which helped cause this historically massive deficit
    Approach B: The Liberals balanced the books in the early 90s.

    And he chose B. Good thinking buddy!

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:10 a.m.  

  • "We don’t want to get into a situation like the Liberals had us in in the ’90s"

    Is that going to be the Conservative slogan during the next campaign?

    By Blogger - K, at 10:52 a.m.  

  • Too Be honest -K, I would rather be in that situation then the one we are facing today. At the rate the Reforms are doing, Canadians are wrose off financially then in the 90's. At least there were jobsin the 90's to pay for food and housing. Now we have little jobs and hanging on by sheer will to the homes we do have. Canada was always know as a country with plenty. No one starved or were homeless. Not now with this incompetet Reform Party at the helm.

    it seems that their goal is to create this kind of hardship and have Canadains begging for handouts.That's not the Canada I knew or want.

    By Blogger marie, at 11:17 a.m.  

  • Excuse mu typo's in my 11:17 AM post. Have a great day.

    By Blogger marie, at 11:18 a.m.  

  • It must have been an independent study with Tom Flanagan: "Introduction to Evil Socialist Political Economy." I would love to see the syallabus for that one.

    By Anonymous eh, at 2:49 p.m.  

  • Marie:

    I think "-K" was being facetious.

    The Reform party went away 6 years ago. In other news, the CCF became the NDP.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 3:12 p.m.  

  • 1. Spending restraint is probably more important than making spending cuts on this one. Obviously if there are dead weight programs out there, we should kill them.

    2. Running a deficit of just a few % of GDP that will wither away in about 6 years (with the government doing essentially, nothing) will have virtually no economic impact. Canadians don't understand why deficits are bad. If very high, they can crowd out private investment. Critically, Canadians assumed that Chretien cutting the deficit is what largely drove rapid economic growth in the 90's. Wrong. The economy in the 90's grew largely because of:
    A. recoveries tend to see faster growth
    B. the IT revolution ended a 20-year productivity slowdown
    C. a low dollar and strong US economy spurred exports

    It is probably more accurate to say that a booming economy caused deficit reduction than the other way around.

    3. From a policy standpoint, the government (or Liberals) need to address the more long-term issue of maintaining social security once the baby boomers retire. That's the real looming deficit.

    4. Ignatieff pushed Harper to put forth the stimulus package in the first place, and has at various points criticized the government for not going far enough. If Ignatieff is going to claim the mantle of deficit reduction, he is going to need to

    5. My plan if I were Iggy? Attack Harper on taxes. EI premiums are a tax hike (even if they are a sensible one), as is HST. Screw message consistency - when you're at 28% in the polls, people aren't buying you anyhow.

    Then win government and flip-flop (blaming Harper for hiding deficits that were even larger than claimed).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 10:13 p.m.  

  • "4. Ignatieff pushed Harper to put forth the stimulus package in the first place"

    Twas S.Dion. Don't really care just don't like the Orwellian revisions of history. Dion obviously understands econmics better than Harper, or at least if Harper understands Keynesism he chooses his rich buddies over jobs.

    "If Ignatieff is going to claim the mantle of deficit reduction,"

    Of $54B deficit, about 1/2 is Flaherty tax cuts (this sum is large than Stimulus). $12B/yr GST cut for useless bling instead of hospitals. $8B(?)/yr J.Flaherty neocon corporate tax cuts is finance services (they have no idea how to expand safely so this is rich portfolios and middle class pensions instead of hospitals) and dirty oil sands (often straight to USA execs instead of hospitals). I'll guess $5-$10B/yr is income tax cuts same consequence as corporate above.

    Iggy beats Harper just by not favouring finance and oil sands. The world needed Canada to get China and USA on board a year early (like we ended WWI a yr early) and instead we went with droughting future Africa, screwing up future Indian subcontinent Monsoons, and melting the Himalayas, all for some Cgy bling (not social programmes if you follow corrupt AB politics, at least their watchdogs and media are functioning). Harper has made the world hate AB and damaged Canada's reputation. I'm sure Iggy would consider an oil sands diversification advice I would offer, Stelmach and Harper don't give a shit about the future of this species. I guess Evangelicals believe unleashing famines get you to heaven or something. We have a health minister who funds bodybags but questions whether feds should fund soap, and a science creationist minister who believe pandemics will never happen, believes mutations are impossible and the Cgy badlands are a Liberal media fabrication.

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 12:43 p.m.  

  • ...what happened was we had about the 10-15th best media in the world so Canadians trusted them for info. Last election they went so evil and biased...Canadians didn't even realize this, don't still, that if the media says Dion is an idiot Canadians automatically assume it is Harper or Ignatieff's stimulus. I really thought the home renos were passed already because of GofC commericals flooding media, idiot media didn't even point out our government lied.
    Specifically, what programmes should government cut that Harper already hasn't? I'll suggest prison budgets (Harper is raising these), I'll suggest drugs should be taxed, not 100% tax-excempt, I'll suggest all the CPC Parliament pay raises should be rolled back in light of deficit, I'll suggest stranding Canadian abroad is expensive and hurts our ability to attract tax-paying immigrants, I'll suggest cutting cheap taxes to finance and oil sands...what would CPC cut? None of the above obviously. Hope the bling really makes you happy, surveys say only the first $10000/yr does, assuming good social programmes like daycare, and stress and grass-is-greener ego arms race mostly cancels out more.
    I'd see real economic quality-of-living value in debating Liberal vs NDP vs Bloc policies. If PCs and Greens get representation throw them in too. CPC policies are evil.

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 1:02 p.m.  

  • "Twas S.Dion. Don't really care just don't like the Orwellian revisions of history."

    Date Ignatieff became Liberal leader: December 10th, 2008

    Date 2009 budget was voted on: January 27th, 2009

    Ignatieff's most memorable quote in the 2 month run-up to the budget vote: "Coalition if necessary, but not necessarily coalition."

    But yes, I apologize for my Orwellian twisting of the facts.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 3:13 p.m.  

  • http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/262887

    Fine have it. We'll make the same mistake again in a decade choosing polish and public speaking over quality-of-living. I used to think the main problem in the world was lack of ideas but now I know it is greed and the ideas are already out there in Chomsky et al's works on how to fix it.
    Oh well, boomers are voting to underfund their own healthcare, latest EKOS poll showed 62% of seniors will vote CPC. Hope they enjoy financial services and AB suburban sprawl in the hospital hallways...

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 4:46 p.m.  

  • Harper has made the world hate AB and damaged Canada's reputation.

    The only people who hate Alberta now already did long before Harper.

    And speaking of hate ... you, sir, are obviously full of it:

    Stelmach and Harper don't give a shit about the future of this species.

    I guess Evangelicals believe unleashing famines get you to heaven

    CPC policies are evil.

    Don't know why, but please don't spread it. Nuff said.

    As for the oil sands, I respect those that argue against it's development, but just please be aware of a few points:
    1. Not all oil sands development have big environment footprints like open-pit mining. It doesn't seel copies of National Geographic, but the majority of the oil will actually be extracted using technologies like SAGD, which has a smaller footprint than conventional drilling.
    2. Many people in the West rely on oil sands development for their livelihood, and retirement income.
    3. In the West, low taxes are possible because social programs are being funded by the tax revenue stream coming from oil sands development.
    4. Energy and growth are closely related trends, and oil sands contributes to the affordable energy that a very wide and very cold country like Canada needs in order to grow.
    5. We can save the world some political (and military) turmoil by developing our own sources of fossil fuels and energy rather than engaging others for theirs.

    Are these points enough to persuade you to support oil sands development? Not necessarily - I understand that. I'm just making sure that you're aware the decision isn't as clear cut as you think.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 5:56 p.m.  

  • Not to spoil a good blast of sarcasm CG, but I read the PM's remarks as, the Liberals would run the deficit a lot higher NOW (which I think is a safe assumption) and then run into the same situation we had in the mid-90s (to call this "the situation the Liberals has us in" is, of course, incredibly disingenuous given who had governed most of the previous decade in such a way that Mr. Harper himself could no longer stand it and bolted the party, largely because of its fiscal profligacy), in which harsh tax hikes and spending cuts would be needed to desperately bring an out of control deficit to heel as quickly as possible. So yes it is possible to do all 3, just probably not at once. I make no comment on the veracity of the claim as I think the current deficit, which has nearly unanimous support, is quite troubling enough. Just saying I think this is what he was getting at.

    By Anonymous Ryan, at 7:02 p.m.  

  • It is in Canada's interest to be a laggard on C02. While we pollute more than our fair share, Canada still accounts for a fairly small percentage of global C02 emissions. Whether or not mankind beats climate change will not depend on Canada. It will depend upon decisions made by China, the US and the EU (and technological diffusion to Canada).

    Why is it not in our interests, and why is it unfair to attack Alberta alone?

    Canada's top exporting industries are (3-5 in no particular order)
    1. Oil and Gas
    2. Auto Parts
    3. Aerospace
    4. Mining
    5. Lumber/pulp and paper

    The economic lifeblood of Canada involves industries that pollute a lot, industries that kill trees, or making consumer goods (per dollar of value C02 emissions from auto/aerospace production is low) that pollute a lot. I mean if we want to be fair, why don't we count the emissions from every Canadian-made car against Ontario, or of every Bombardier jet against Quebec?

    Every region of this country is complicit when it comes to climate change.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 7:58 p.m.  

  • hoser I wish you would've been a media CEO or CPC leader in the last election. Your argument is more valid than is "a carbon tax will recession/asteroid-impact Canada" of last election. My counter argument would be a carbon tax shift of $1B this yr to $4B in 2012 (less since Dion decided to tax cut the rich as part of the plan) would not jeopardize an industry that makes around $40B/yr in annual profits.

    And yes, Canada could very well be the tipping point that exterminates the species. Our crappy little nation ended WWI bloodshed early, kept UK in the war during the early Battle of the Atlantic, invented peacekeeping when Israel UK and France were on a WWIII course, helped Allies prototype those D-Day portable resupply concrete barges by dying at Dieppe....now we are using our voice to promote the end of reliable harvests and the destruction of fresh water supplies. And it isn't for anything better than to replay the corporatist mistakes of the USA past few years minus the high military spending. The above two industries can be encouraged to be good guys; are CPC subsidized very heavily (Cannon didn't even legalize Zenn). I'm sure if we put those historic $60B in oil sands AB subsidies into Prairie grain R+D we'd own India and China now and be helping poor potential workforces and consumers in the future instead of starving them.

    Richard Branson told AB to invest all oil profits into renewables. I'll mention something for natural gas probably. Won't listen to either of us be both me and Richard will sleep soundly at night knowing we tried to prevent AGW runaway. Because no one in oil or AB is saving any money, the industry will collapse without diversifying...at the latest when harvests start to fail around 2020s if not earlier. Just another asbestos/cigarette argument. Philip Morris owns Kraft Dinner and Jello. I'm sure the others are screwed.

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 10:56 p.m.  

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