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Comment on The Working Poor and the Working Income Tax Benefit by Larry Kazdan

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 01:36:58 +0000

Letter to Toronto Star: Re: Federal government wants Canadians more aware of tax benefit aimed at working poor, The Canadian Press, Feb. 21, 2018 For those without jobs, the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) provides no benefits. And while the WITB may assist a few, it also lets employers keep wages low. Canadians willing to work deserve a minimum livable wage, not band-aid tax credits. In 1937, Tommy Douglas and the CCF asked the government to put $500 million into a program to offer jobs to the single unemployed. The government responded, "Where will we get the money?" But by 1944, the unemployment rate dropped to 1.4% because the government put 1.1 million additional Canadians on the public payroll as members of the armed forces (one out of every three adult males). If the government were determined today, it could achieve full employment by offering a Job Guarantee with training to everyone willing to perform community service. Funded by the federal government but administered by local municipalities and non-profit groups, this jobs program would create an effective wage floor, and also offer the private sector a pool of active, healthy workers from which to recruit. _________________________________________ Footnotes to follow.

Comment on Toward a Better World by Larry Kazdan

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 03:35:45 +0000

If Africa is rich – why is it so poor? "The framework of development aid and oversight put in place by the richer nations and mediated through the likes of the IMF and the World Bank can be seen more as a giant vacuum cleaner designed to suck resource and financial wealth out of the poorer nations either through legal or illegal means, whichever generates the largest flows. So while Africa is wealthy, its interaction with the world monetary and trade systems, leaves millions of its citizens in extreme poverty – unable to even purchase sufficient nutrition to live. It is a scandal of massive proportions......"

Comment on Smooth Sailing Ahead For the Global and Canadian Economy? by Nigel Southway

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:55:04 +0000

This is a typical globalist based economists view.... talking about the old chestnuts and then considering the valiant efforts of Trumps policies as a threat when they are our only hope to remove the burden of a global free trade environment that has seen trade grow 8 times in an unsustainable way since 1980 but GDP almost flat-line and real wealth in the west decline....I want to see our economists rethink the trap they have fallen into......wakey wakey

Comment on Some comments on the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s minimum wage commentary by Raymond Barker

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 20:00:06 +0000

No mention of the 100.000 plus foreign workers in Ontario who would surely take the brunt of any work force adjustment

Comment on Extreme Wealth Inequality Persists by Michael Pyshnov

Sat, 23 Dec 2017 03:00:55 +0000

Even if someone who has millions cannot eat 2 chickens a day. There should be comparison of power, not wealth. See how power is used in Canada: and the same people have power to censor any information about how they use their power. Wow!

Comment on Extreme Wealth Inequality Persists by Tom Stark

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:22:08 +0000

Finances shouldn't be confused with wealth. The financial health o f a community is an important factor; however, distribution of financial resources no matter how inequitable is only one factor in determining the economic health of a community. Other factors c like education, skill level, technology, interpersonal relations etc. can be much more determinative of a community's wealth than finance.

Comment on Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy by Larry Kazdan

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 01:47:48 +0000

Letter to Editor (unpublished) with footnotes Re: Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy, Colin Phillips, Nov. 11, 2017 Can Canada afford tens of billions of dollars for high-tech fighter jets, updated warships, armed drones and state-of-the-art frigates? That question seldom deters. A majority government simply decides what it wants and allocates sufficient monies. Can Canada afford several billion dollars to house the homeless and create affordable housing for low-income families? That question is often asked and provides politicians with a suitable excuse. However, the federal government can always make funds available and can always build housing if desired since it owns a central bank. Canada does not lack a trained workforce nor construction materials. The problem is not economics, but political power. The military-industrial complex has greater influence over awarding of federal contracts than urban street people sheltered in cardboard boxes. Footnotes: 1. Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens Martin Gilens and Benjamin Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. 2. William Mitchell is Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia British Green’s leader can’t say “we will increase the deficit”! She could have simply said – “If we are in government, then the British people will understand we issue the currency and we will pay for this by increasing the deficit and instructing the Bank of England to credit the necessary bank accounts to facilitate the purchases.” That is the plain truth of it. They can do that. If there is a need for 1/2 million more social houses then they should do that as long as it is within the real economy’s capacity to provide the housing. If it is not in the capacity then they would have to assess priorities and perhaps have to raise taxes to withdraw spending capacity from the private sector. Simple macroeconomics. 3. Liberals promise extra $62B for military over next 20 years, THE CANADIAN PRESS, June 7, 2017 The Trudeau government committed Wednesday to spend $62 billion more over the next two decades for a major expansion of the Canadian Armed Forces.....

Comment on The Private Corporation Tax Loophole and the Ultra Rich by Larry Kazdan

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 07:20:35 +0000

Letter in Toronto Sun (followed by Toronto Sun comment): Sept. 25, 2017 CHANGES JUSTIFIED Re “Trudeau’s tax pitch is based on myths and class-envy” (Lorne Gunter, Sept. 19): Incorporated small businesses receive a special low tax rate so they can grow their activities. But instead of re-investing, more and more corporations are being used to split income among family members and to defer tax on passive investments such as stocks and bonds. The proposed tax changes will help ensure that professionals who incorporate will pay a more similar tax as those who do not. And these changes will mainly affect the top 1% of earners — hardly the definition of the Canadian middle-class. Toronto Sun: (Trudeau’s claim the changes are needed because more than half of small business owners are rich, is absurd)

Comment on Update on Jimbo’s Minimum Wage Wager by John Richmond

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 21:27:40 +0000

I would have been surprised if any of the organizations in question had taken Jim up on this. But I am surprised the offer did not garner some entertaining coverage in the corporate media. They must have been tempted but told not to give a lefty free publicity.

Comment on Update on Jimbo’s Minimum Wage Wager by Tim Lash

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 21:14:15 +0000

A nicely targeted tactical-factual challenge! It creates a crack that already lets in some light, and it may do more.

Comment on Update on Jimbo’s Minimum Wage Wager by Larry Katz

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 00:08:21 +0000

Important, creative contribution, Jim, as always.

Comment on Update on Jimbo’s Minimum Wage Wager by Larry Kazdan

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 06:44:30 +0000

Jim Stanford - Many thanks for taking this initiative and let's hope your challenge will itself generate a more positive spin about minimum wage benefits in media coverage. Letter in Barrie Examiner, published September 19, 2017 (with footnotes to editor attached) Wage hike good for Ontario A close examination of the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report indicates that the minimum wage hike will be far from a looming disaster. According to the FAO, the wage hike to $15 per hour will directly result in pay increases for 1.6 million Ontarians, an impact that positively affects 22% of the workforce. As for the dis-employment effects equivalent to 50,000 jobs over an unstated time for a small cohort of young people, even if this should turn out to be the case, remedial programs could be implemented to address this particular issue. In that way, Ontario would still receive the considerable benefits of the minimum-wage increase: happier and more productive employees, reduced turnover and associated training costs, and a general reduction in income and gender inequality that will result in a healthier and more stable society. Footnotes: 1. Some comments on the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s minimum wage commentary Progressive Economics Forum Jordan Brennan, Economist with Unifor, Research Associate of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard Law School. "The scholarly research in Canada finds that higher hourly wages are associated with greater employee satisfaction, reduced turnover and associated training costs, and improved labour productivity, all of which was mentioned (or implicitly recognized) by the FAO study.... *** The FAO states that 1.6 million people will be directly affected by a $15 minimum wage and that those currently working between $15 and $19 will benefit from the spillover effects. In other words, a very large proportion of Ontario’s labour market is set to receive a pay raise. The Ontario Government certainly has other policy options at its disposal when it comes to improving the economic station of the least well off (including the working income tax credit)...." 2. The headline you didn’t see: $15 per hour will have a big net benefit Progressive Economics Forum Michal Rozworski "Today’s new minimum wage research, if applied to Ontario would predict job losses anywhere from half of what the FAO is putting out to ten times smaller to nil (some studies, including well-known papers, have even shown small but positive aggregate employment effects). *** Even if we assume its job loss estimates come true, the FAO says real labour income will go up by 1.3% after taking into account any negative effects, with over 60% of that going to the bottom 50% of households."

Comment on The Kleptocracy of Vladimir Putin by Arby

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 11:20:16 +0000

"In fact, as the world watches Russian president Vladimir Putin make a lunge for the Ukraine..." It's so sad to see you turn to the dark side Bruce.

Comment on Banking on Privatization? by Adam Smith

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 17:12:26 +0000

What Mr. Sanger, in this and other articles, seems to shy away from, is the ability to use the Bank of Canada to create whatever infrastructure funds the public needs. The solution is not borrowing at low rates, the solution is not borrowing at all. Creating debt-free money to build infrastructure is proven not to be inflationary either, because whether you borrow the money or create it, the same amount gets spent on the infrastructure, the same number of jobs are created. It's just in the latter you don't have to raise taxes to pay the interest.

Comment on Some comments on the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s minimum wage commentary by Jordan Brennan

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 20:07:11 +0000

Yes, you've got the numbers right. Less than 1% of Ontario's labour market is scheduled to be negatively affected over a few months to a few years, but 25-30% will be positively affected (at least) immediately.

Comment on Some comments on the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s minimum wage commentary by William A Olesky

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 14:26:47 +0000

Does 0.7% represent 50000 jobs lost in the Ontario workforce of 7.7 million?

Comment on Who earns minimum wage? by Angella MacEwen

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:23 +0000

The data comes from the public use microdata from the Labour Force Survey. It's not available online.

Comment on Some comments on the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s minimum wage commentary by Nick Falvo

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 18:41:17 +0000

Please use bold font for the first sentence in each point. Do it.

Comment on Who earns minimum wage? by GG4

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:16:50 +0000

Where did you get the data for the proportion of workers earning minimum wage? I could not find it easily in your source links.

Comment on Small Business Taxes, Big Loopholes by doconnor

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:31:32 +0000

It seems the government is planning to address some of these loop holes. It would be good to get a new post addressing the changes.

Comment on The headline you didn’t see: $15 per hour will have a big net benefit by Larry Kazdan

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 23:02:16 +0000

The truth about the minimum wage "The research on minimum wage increases in the United States over the past two decades is clear: [Moderate] increases in the minimum wage raise the hourly wage and earnings of workers in the lower part of the wage distribution and have very modest or no effects on employment, hours, and other labor market outcomes."

Comment on Housing Affordability and Inequality: Low-Income Renters in Ontario by Angella MacEwen

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 15:52:20 +0000

Thanks so much for this, Edgardo, looking forward to the follow-up posts!

Comment on The Ontario Chamber’s economic impact analysis of Bill 148 still doesn’t make sense by Paul Tulloch

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 21:11:12 +0000

All great points. The sad part is this report- is we are almost getting to Trump level debates from the right and corporate lobby groups. Yes people will say- at least they tried to use the numbers- but given the effort- I think it is actually worse when they pretend to do real research. As most know I did do the actual research and the costs for raising 1.6 million Ontario workers using 2016 comes to 6 Billion. Also note that I used actual hours worked per week- as well as the actual dollar value earned - both from the micro file. It was not difficult. The indirect wage increases- or wage bumping is a bit more difficult- but they did not even try. Instead they used some estimate on the amount of machinery companies would invest to replace labour. How can one say that is a cost associated with minimum wage laws?? That is a choice the corporations make. In many cases it would have occurred eventually and makes society more efficient. Take cashiers for example. Amazon currently has the technology to totally redefine the retail experience through deep learning and AI based tech. The future of the grocery store will not be forever changed- no cashiers will be needed. You pick up your products and leave the store- no line ups- no check outs- transactions are automatically detected and made. These changes are coming regardless of labour costs. So somehow allocating innovation to the costs of minimum wage increases seems quite oblivious to actually existing reality. Price increases will occur for but not to the level they are claiming. Yes there are unknowns but at some point within the market process of the current machinery of the economy- there are levels of profits that are much larger than these increases in wage earners. Think about retail. We have the costs for the products- the transactions and distribution. There are many layers of profits within that space. We know factually we do not live in a perfectly competitive world in fact we live within a very massive layering of oligopolistic economic structures. In fact we know this mathematically from Industrial Organization theory- where much of the logic and activity of large corporate entities actions are about keeping competitor out of market shares. From the massive marketing of products to mergers and acquisitions- we have a continual process of ensuring the major structures of imperfect competition prevent and clear and present threats to competitive entries. Small business is a different story- but when was the last time you bought groceries from a mom and pop store?? The age of the big box is a sign of just how such forces work. Commerical real estate space and online presence are a part of such. But many layers of producers and manufacturer have products pass through this gate keeper the mercantilist. In some cases such as Wall Mart- they 3rd circuitry of capitalism- the merchant has usurped the manufactures and producers by obtaining massive control and leverage through such ownership of these spaces. So somehow- through all this- the mass majority of workers within this retail industry make below $15 per hour- many at minimum or just above minimum wage. So how will these prices be aborbed. Will they all be passed on in some inflationary spiral like scenario as stated by the business lobby groups? Or will such price increases lead to a decrease in demand for such products that produces economic forces that result in bankrupcties for the lessened demand [...]

Comment on Economists support $15 minimum wage in Ontario by william langford

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 00:25:02 +0000

the 53 "economists" including the union people, either have not read the University of Washington study or are misrepresenting its results. As a PH.D economist it is sad to see political positions trumping ( no pun intended) objective economic analysis

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Gwenn Hughes

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 03:07:11 +0000

I would also like to have a copy of your paper Mr. Dussault. my email address is

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by T Giallonardo

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 23:05:39 +0000

OASP is a given to hard workers like myself and Mr. Singh should understand this, just living in Canada for over 60 years should qualify you for this benefit.

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Brad Underwood

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:50:30 +0000

You make some very good points, Andrew. I think the issue of the GIS clawback is a critical one that must be addressed. There are many issues that continue to exist in the retirement income system, throwing into the mix the new elements that have been introduced (Additional CPP, PRPPs, TFSAs, regulatory reforms for pension plans). So proceed with caution is a perfect concluding statement.

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Brad Underwood

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:39:25 +0000

I would also like to look at your paper Mr. Dussault. I work for BC Finance and have spent most of my career working on retirement income security issues. My e-mail is:

Comment on Economists support $15 minimum wage in Ontario by steve webster

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 15:52:04 +0000

This was done wrong all business should have a 10,000 hour a year cap at $12.00 for non students. Student minimum wage for students should be $6.00 at 14 years of age to $12.00 at 19 years of age. Homeless and those on ODSP. should $12.00 per hour. trades should paid more taxi and Uber driver at least $16.00 per hour truck of more than 31,000 kg or 17 meters in long or buses of 30 or more pass.$23.00hr

Comment on Economists support $15 minimum wage in Ontario by Frederick B

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:16:14 +0000

Wow, so that's 53 "economists" that know nothing about economics. Can any one of these 53 super smart economists please answer two simple questions for me: 1) The minimum wage law says that if you are unable to convince another person to pay you $15/hour for your labour, then it is illegal for you to work whether you want it or not. So why is it a good idea to make it illegal for low skilled people to work? 2) If $15/hour is so good and has such a positive impact, why not $20? Why not $50? Why not $100? Why not $1000/hr - let's make everyone a millionaire?

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Angela Browne

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 06:10:31 +0000

I hope that there is major reform of the GIS and that there is a boost in benefit. The seniors that rely largely on the GIS are poor and this forces some to try to work and if work is punished, how on earth is that senior going to get out poverty? There should not be any clawbacks for GIS, especially at the low level until a gradual amount starting at LIM. Again, individual benefits, not family tested. That just messes anybody up that might not be retired but their spouse is.

Comment on Economists support $15 minimum wage in Ontario by Paul Tulloch

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 22:47:45 +0000

Add me to the list- and here is some data that I pulled from the LFS on direct costs of the minimum wage.

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Nick Falvo

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 12:15:54 +0000

Mr. Dussault. Would you please email me your paper? I can be reached at

Comment on Economists support $15 minimum wage in Ontario by Stella Pascall

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 14:20:55 +0000

We must improve the workforce and make Canada proud to be able to get fare pay! Stella

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Bernard Dussault, former Chief Actuary for CPP and OAS/GIS

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:41:51 +0000

I have similarly since 2013 been promoting an amalgamation of the OAS & GIS programs into a single improved GIS program. Upon request, I can provide anyone with a copy of my related paper, to which is appended a spreadsheet that estimates cost savings of my proposal (i.e. about $9 billion reduction in OAS & GIS annual expenditures gradually over 40 years)

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Bernard Dussault, former Choef Actuary for CPP and OAS/GIS

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:36:02 +0000

I have similarly been promoting since 2013 a gradual amalgamation of OAS & GIS

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Louis Erlichman

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:05:00 +0000

Leaving aside technical arguments, there is a strong political argument for maintaining the (near) universality of the OAS. We support universal programs because it is harder for the right-wingers to attack programs, like the OAS and Q/CPP, that nearly everyone draws benefits from than programs for the "poor", as we have seen with that cuts to welfare and U.I., among others.

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by Victoria Cross

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:18:31 +0000

Thank you for this, Andrew. It is useful. Concise and clear. Sadly, Mr. Singh's glib proposal indicates a thorough lack of understanding regarding the historic role of means-testing, the depth and breadth of our Party's history, the realities of so many, and an overreliance on bureaucratic solutions.

Comment on The NDP and Old Age Security by John Stapleton

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:42:43 +0000

Clawbacks on GIS go as high as 92% at very low income while OAS clawbacks for higher income seniors go no higher than 15%. That's a good place to start OAS/GIS reform.

Comment on Canada Lags in Job Quality by Larry Kazdan

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:40:20 +0000

1. Jim Stanford: Is Slow “Growth” Inevitable? "New talk of “helicopter money” strategies (whereby a central bank would create new credit and directly inject it into the real economy, to support investment, government programs, or consumption) confirms that if we collectively decide we need it, and enforce our will on our political and monetary leaders, we could create all the money needed to finance real, productive work. So long as millions are languishing without a job, there does not appear to be a good argument against doing so. To the contrary, if it helps us put an end to pollution (including greenhouse gases) and poverty, an all-out war-like mobilization seems like a no-brainer. Living standards would grow, taxes would be paid, the environment would be protected, and real GDP would grow rapidly....." 2. The Social Enterprise Sector Model for a Job Guarantee "Imagine 25 million people with no income or precarious forms of income. Now imagine 25 million with a decent base wage. The effect on the private for-profit sector would surely be more stable demand, ringing cash registers, increasing profits, growth and, yes, a lot more better-paying private sector jobs. *** The experience of the New Deal and Argentina’s Plan Jefes shows that such programs can be up and running in 4 to 6 months and useful tasks can be performed even by the least skilled and least educated citizens."

Comment on Fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces by Larry Kazdan

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 01:13:33 +0000

Counter-cyclical fiscal policy will often require the federal government to be in deficit in order to sustain the economy and support provincial budgets. See Fiscal federalism: US history for architects of Europe’s fiscal union "(p.4)......states in the US can abide by strict budget balance rules to the extent the federal government is responsible for stabilisation and the bail-out of insolvent banks, but this simple lesson is sometimes overlooked in European discussions. (p.23) Fiscal transfers from the federal government directly into state budgets, to help them fulfill federal mandates and otherwise alleviate budget pressure, ameliorate the procyclical influence of the states during downturns . (p. 23 - 25 )"In sum, the federal government (1) is the only level that provides significant stabilisation during recessions, while the states are likely to be procyclical, and (2) injects federal money into state programmes directly. Both roles render the balanced budget rules at the state level more sustainable than they would be in the absence of the federal government and its fiscal system." (p.30) Since the 1930s, the federal budget has helped to stabilise the national economy in countercyclical fashion. Without this, state-level restrictions would have been difficult or impossible to sus-tain."

Comment on Precarious work, Federal government edition by Paul Tulloch

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 15:55:33 +0000

oh and I will be adding the new immigration variable into this model which I am sure will help the classification rate for the machine learning. Statistcis Canada has redone the Micro file for 2017 and has included the immigration status in the 2017 micro file- as well as the new occupation codes that were pulled from 2016. I will be publishing the results on my website in the near future. If anybody wants me to dig out some data on such research- let me know- if it is not too much work- I can do it for you.

Comment on Precarious work, Federal government edition by Paul Tulloch

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 15:49:33 +0000

We do need much better numbers in this area. There is not a lot- and if we are going to monitor low wage workers and minimum wages - it is critical we expand the measurement of such. Statistics Canada last redesigned the LFS in 1997- and that was just to bring in a hand full of changes. Now with precarious work becoming such a larger issue in society- we need to bring the LFS and other measurement tool to bare on this issue. I would recommend to anybody on this list it you sit on the Advisory committee for labour Statistics at Statistics Canada- that you try and work at such efforts. Without better data on this issue we cannot direct policy with the focus that it needs. For example- yes the monthly survey does measure wages- but the experience at Statistics Canada is that the wage variable has a lot of non-response. Also- the wage question is not asked for those respondents indicating they are self employed. I estimate with the LFS micro file that in April 2017 nearly 3.5 million employees- make less than $15 per hour. I ran it for every month in 2016 and yes there is a seasonal component to it and will be publishing something on this soon. The problem is- we have around 3 million self employed that do not have a wage variable. We know from many studies- that self employed make less than employed on average- and also contain large pockets of the precarious workers- mainly identified in the LFS as unicorporated and without employees- which number around 1.3 million. I am using a neural network right now to train on the micro file of the LFS at predicting low wage workers- so one can try and model an estimate for these workers. So far using a Tensor flow and a multilayer perceptron- with backpropogation- with one hidden layer- using a sigmoid functions on 55,000 workers- I am estimating at a 85% success rate on predicting low wage workers. Interesting as I am only using SEX, AGE Group, Usual hours worked, Tenure, and Union Status. I will be adding in an industry NAICS one-hot encoded - which I am sure will boost the model further. But we should not have to use such AI based models to predict such! We should have such data. I do think one could get it from the Tax data- but they rarely ever share such data- and most times it is 3-4 years old by the time you get it.

Comment on Finance Minister Bill Morneau on the Dangers of Bank of Canada Funding by George Norman

Mon, 29 May 2017 00:59:42 +0000

Inflation is caused by money supply, not necessarily where it is created. If the moey supply is constant, then there can be no inflation. The BoC creates money every year to compensate for a growing economy, and keep inflation at around 2%. The only difference, I think, would be who gets to spend it first.

Comment on Precarious work, Federal government edition by doconnor

Thu, 25 May 2017 18:08:16 +0000

A lot of the temporary workers my be making well above minimum wage, although many probably still are precarious workers. For a while my wife was a "temp" working full time at a serious office job for well above minimum wage, but they still did illegal things like not provide holiday pay. Do you think those Postal & pipelines are more postal or more pipelines?

Comment on NAFTA and Labour Rights by Les Holloway

Sun, 21 May 2017 11:47:59 +0000

Absolutely, the critical and intentional missing link in trade agreements such as NAFTA are labour/ workers rights resulting in worker abuse and human rights violations in countries that lack proper workplace rights/laws, effectively creating the race to the bottom. As well though are trade agreement sections dealing with rules of origin which allow as much as 40% of products produced in a trading nation to be outsourced to non signatory nations to such trade agreements with very little if any auditing or appropriate policing. The result, corporations can avoid irritants such as pesky labour standards while enjoying cheaper production costs! Just as it was designed to do!

Comment on A tale book-ended by two Trudeaus: Canada’s foreign aid since 1970 by Larry Kazdan

Thu, 04 May 2017 08:46:44 +0000

The last paragraph (1970 Foreign Policy document issued by PM Pierre Trudeau’s Government) supports your conclusion that "Canada can indeed remain as a “compassionate and constructive voice in the world” by increasing its ODA", and makes it clear that Canada has the available resources in excess of Canadian needs which could be allocated to foreign aid if we had the political will. That being the case, I wonder why you would use the tax base as any kind of determinant of foreign aid. The tax base is not a measure of real resources. Nor is the tax base a true measure of federal fiscal capacity. As the federal government is a monetary sovereign with a floating, non-convertible fiat currency, its spending is not revenue-constrained. This is plainly indicated in this Library of Parliament research document: How the Bank of Canada Creates Money for the Federal Government: Operational and Legal Aspects Penny Becklumb,Mathieu Frigon , Economics, Resources and International Affairs Division, Library of Parliament 10 August 2015 " buying newly issued federal government bonds and treasury bills, the Bank of Canada creates money for the federal government." *** "By recording new and equal amounts on the asset and liability sides of its balance sheet, the Bank of Canada creates money through a few keystrokes. The federal government can spend the newly created bank deposits in the Canadian economy if it wishes." *** ".....there is no external limit to the total amount of money that the Bank of Canada may create for the federal government." *** "The Bank of Canada's money creation for the Government of Canada is an internal government process. This means that external factors, such as financial markets dysfunction, cannot cause the federal government to run out of money." Taxation at the federal level serves to reduce aggregate purchasing power of the private sector and is necessary to prevent inflation when the economy is at full production. But the effect of the taxes is to destroy the monetary base (1) and does not operationally affect the ability of the federal government to spend. Linking the amount of foreign aid to the raising of taxes unfortunately reinforces the arguments of opponents of foreign aid because they falsely believe the funds transferred must be recovered from them personally. We should conclude that 100% of the reduction in ODA has been a political decision, rather than a fiscal necessity. (1)

Comment on Transit costs are too darn high by Angella MacEwen

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:26:16 +0000

Neil, you are absolutely right about the tax credit's intended purpose when it was introduced, and the government's analysis was that it did little to increase ridership. I agree that changing behaviour takes time, and investments that improve services.

Comment on Transit costs are too darn high by Neil Cochrane

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:00:16 +0000

Many good points in this post. Much of the analysis I have read about the elimination of this tax credit seems to ignore, or at least cloud, the original policy basis. Obviously, the measure was never intended to make transit more affordable for low income earners who do not pay taxes. Other measures are in place, or should be in place where they are not, for that purpose. This non-refundable credit was designed to target taxpayers who earn substantial income and are therefore most likely have a choice of using transit or a personal vehicle. While the efforts to measure behavioural change over the life time of the tax credit show only a small percentage increase in overall ridership, more relevant measures would be the percentage of additional transit users who have the option of driving a personal vehicle and the percentage of additional riders who can benefit from the tax credit. This is the target group for the tax credit and should be the focus of analysis when assessing its success or failure. Measuring the increased ridership attributable to the credit is quite difficult. Indications are that it was small. I would only comment that changing behaviour such as this can take a generation. The credit was one measure to create a culture that encouraged use of public transit among those who have a choice to use it. Although I am not a fan of these tax credits in principle because of the associated administration, I think the analysis should have the proper focus.

Comment on Ontario’s Electricity Sector II: Political Economy Update by Edgardo Sepulveda

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 00:30:03 +0000

Keenan, I did look at the Green Party of Ontario (GPO) work on the hydro file. I also examined that of the PC Party. The PC Party has a series of hydro statements and policies, but as the PC Energy critic has inferred, these do not constitute a “plan.” As a noted in the post, the PC Party has now decided to release any such plan closer to the June 2018 election. In the same manner, I reviewed and studied a series of GPO hydro statements and policies. However, I was not able to find a GPO “plan” – an approved document that shows how each of the policy elements fit together (sequencing, short vs. long term, etc.); an indication of how they would be implemented (mechanisms, programs, etc.); and what quantifiable impact (dollar or percentage terms) each element is likely to have on hydro prices or some other important electricity metric, either in the short or long term.