One of the most amazing things about this budget is that one of its three focuses is actually the opposite of what it’s touting. You’ll likely hear that $14 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next 10 years (actually, you may hear much bigger numbers, but they’re just re-announcing existing programs like the gas tax transfer). What you won’t hear is that 75% of that money is going to be spent in or after 2020. In fact, there will be an effective $1 billion cut to infrastructure transfers to the cities in 2014-15.
David Macdonald’s Blog Posts
David Macdonald is an economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (http://www.policyalternatives.ca).
March 21st, 2013 · David Macdonald · 1 Comment · Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget
March 13th, 2013 · David Macdonald · 2 Comments · Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Taxes and Tax Cuts
Time flies and our Alternative Federal Budget is now in its 19th year. Year after year it has shown that we can have a Canada where we all do better together.
This year the AFB is more inclusive than ever with 27 chapters written by over 90 contributors each laying out progressive policy ideas ready for implementation. All policy proposals are fully costed and put within a realistic macro-economic framework to determine their impact on the deficit, debt and employment.
January 14th, 2013 · David Macdonald · 3 Comments · Health Care, Poverty and Income Inequality, Youth
Oral health coverage for kids, particularly kids from lower-income families, is something that the CCPA and others have been advocating for. It is an area just outside of the present universal provincial health care coverage. However, when things go wrong it rapidly becomes something that health care folks and not dentists are tasked with dealing with.
A paediatrician here in Ottawa has just come out with a great overview and case for better publicly funded preventive oral care in Canada, particularly for children from low-income families.
November 20th, 2012 · David Macdonald · 1 Comment · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Poverty and Income Inequality
A new report came out from the Fraser Institute today looking at income mobility. It certainly doesn’t intend to make this conclusion, but a thorough look at their data shows that the rich stay rich as everyone else fights for entrance to this exclusive club.
Plenty has already been written about growing income inequality in Canada from CCPA’s own Armine Yalnizyan and Hugh Mackenzie, among others. Their examinations show how the top 10% and top 1% of Canadians are running away with all income gains. Each year when we calculate who got a raise and by how much, most Canadians’ raises only barely match inflation with the top 10% and the top 1% giving themselves much more substantial raises.
November 13th, 2012 · David Macdonald · No Comments · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Federal Budget
The federal government released its annual fall update on the country’s finances today. Despite the upbeat messaging around the “Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections” there are concerning underlying trends with the country and its finances.
For regular Canadians, there is no explosive growth expected in the job market to make up for the crash after the 2008-2009 recession. There has been no revision to the unemployment rate projections for next year which remain at 7.2%, slightly below the current rate of 7.4%.
October 15th, 2012 · David Macdonald · No Comments · Economy & Economic Indicators, Household Debt, Housing
Statistics Canada today revised the national accounts and found Canadians are now more indebted than either the Americans or the Brits were at the peak of their housing bubble. Instead of Canadian households having a debt to disposable income ratio of 154, as was previously estimated, it has now been revised upwards to 166. So, Canadians owe $1.66 for every $1 of disposable income.
The new data has disaggregated non-profits and households, which were previously lumped together. The lower debt ratios of non-profits were making the entire sector look like it had less debt—but now that households can be pulled out and examined specifically, the amount of debt they are carrying turns out to be much higher than previously thought.
October 5th, 2012 · David Macdonald · 1 Comment · Federal Budget
Most Canadians have already heard about the extremely concerning meat contamination at Alberta’s XL Foods. Some have already gotten sick and today the list of beef products being recalled has grown again.
The circumstances of how the meat plant closure occurred are also concerning. It appears that US food inspectors at the US border caught some of the first E. coli contaminated meat from XL. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) banned exports from XL to the US three days before Canadians were alerted. CFIA is facing some serious questions about why US customs is harder than it is on Canadian beef, why it didn’t do more despite early warnings, and why the problem was not caught far earlier before a massive recall and plant shutdown became necessary.
July 3rd, 2012 · David Macdonald · No Comments · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Poverty and Income Inequality, What We're Reading
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Steven Keen’s talk “Canada’s Debt Bubble” on June 28th , 2012 (recorded in full here) The session was jointly sponsored by the new Ontario office of the CCPA, the Progressive Economics Forum and Ryerson University…and what a talk it was!! I immediately purchased Steven’s book Debunking Economics and read it all weekend.
June 25th, 2012 · David Macdonald · No Comments · Economy & Economic Indicators, Health Care, Satire, Taxes and Tax Cuts
Well, another so-called “Tax Freedom Day” came and went on June 12th. To mark the “occasion” I decided to skip over the very serious methodological flaws in the calculation of tax freedom day that others have pointed out, and take a look at some of the items that Canadians are “free of” at various points. By gaining “freedom” from the taxes that Canadians pay we also gain “freedom” from the services those taxes pay for. I for one am all about more freedom!!
(Let me point out that the back of my envelope got a good workout during these calculations so don’t take them as gospel.)