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Governments or markets? It's governments AND markets

From Friday's Globe and Mail

A stampede toward deficit spending is reinforced by the left-right division of our politics ...Read the full article

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  1. Mike Keith from Saskatoon, Canada writes: What Manning failed to state is that Harper has hugely disappointed him and the rest of the reform movement. Flip-flopping on senate appointments, shafting Saskatchewan on non-renewable resources, and decreasing transparency in the PMO (among others) was what the reform/alliance fought against. Now as its clear that Harper is willing to do anything to stay in power Manning should have dealt him his final blow by calling him out.
  2. Mickey Hickey from Toronto, Canada writes: We are so lucky that these guys did not get a majority. Market based initiatives when the consumer is paralysed, the banks are raising the bar for all lending particularly to SMEs and unemployment is soaring. It was as if building and repairing infrastructure was in the same category as importing gee gaws. It is frightening to contemplate the fate that we so closely missed.
  3. Western Bear from Canada writes: Gentlemen: He was trying to teach you something, but you didn't hear, for all your noise. Maybe it is a generational thing? Like I tell my now-grown children, don't listen to the Grey-Haired Guy. And they keep tripping.
  4. JP M from Canada writes: How Mr. Manning fails to account for the basic differences in the motivations of governments and private enterprise is mind boggling. That he doesn't appreciate how governmental infrastructure in fact does facilitate private investment and economic activity is worse.

    He also might have mentioned that it is in fact his buddies the Conservatives who insist on eroding the tax base and spending like drunken sailors in good times, which in large part is why the government is currently so stretched to provide the economy the boost it needs.
  5. Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. JPM:
    Do you really feel that any spending changes, of any Cdn Gov, would have made a difference, in this climate? Could anyone a year ago, have forseen this? (at the time we were working with a 2-4 Billion $ limit either way). Now we are talking 30-35 Bil?

    I think he was trying to say 'We have been down this road before, and we are about to repeat our mistakes'. Maybe we all need to get beyond those beliefs. Let's not repeat it.

    'A year from now, when the limits to what can be achieved through deficit spending have become more apparent, the search will begin in earnest for a new, better paradigm. How much better would it be if we were to begin that search now?'

    BTW: Mr. Manning may appreciate more about Gov. infrastucture, than either of us know. BUT you are correct, when you say our Cons. buddies spent too much. They did. Should we spend more?

  6. Abicus Finnley from Walkerton, Canada writes: Wow. Manning has managed to say absolutely nothing new or interesting. He should be awarded a special medal for most boring retired politician alive.
  7. Tom from downtown from Toronto, Canada writes: Mr. Manning says 'Politicians loved the first part of this thesis (while ignoring the second part)' ... but he's being coy. In recent history, only the Conservative party has ignored the second part.

    But the conservative instinct is always to find something to say about other people (preferably a younger generation) when confronted by their own stark hypocrisy.
  8. john chuckman from Canada writes: Another bromide from Manning.
  9. rethink it from Canada writes: Western Bear the trouble with grey haired thinking is they are inflexible. I don't think Preston listened to Obama's speech by the content. A giant economic shift is coming away from oil based economies...wind..solar etc... and Obama will play the cards. Preston makes no mention of the largest economic growth area of the future cap and trade carbon trading. This is to protect the planet we live on- grey hairs don't want to hear this but they want to focus on pipeline security etc... The non greyed hair planet no longer wants to be held hostage by oil, its infrastructure and related wars. Wake up old man and tell the rest of your western friends whats coming.
  10. Blaque Jacque Shallaque from Canada writes: What Mr. Manning is saying, I believe, is that a balanced approach is necessary. I don't see anything doctrinaire in his writing. 'Both governments and markets have enormously important roles to play. In responding to this downturn, shouldn't the great imperative be to find the right relationships and balance between them?'

    It's pathetic to see the tiny minds here criticise and launch ad-hominem attacks on someone who clearly has a knowledge of history and of politics that so vastly exceeds their own.

    I'll take Mr. Manning's thoughtful words and ideas over the partisan garbage spewed on these forums, and in our current parliament, any time.
  11. Donald Wilson from Canada writes: Irregardless of what you may think of Manning the man , Ignore what he has said at the peril of increased personal income taxes not far in our future . No amount of deficit spending is going to help some sectors of the Canadian economy - only a rebound in the USA will help those sectors . And recent history of the senior federal parties supports his view that being far left or far right isn't what is best for Canadians , nor does those extreme views reflect what the majority of Canadians want .

    Example : pouring billions into GM while allowing the GM pension plans to fail is folly . GM will only survive if GM USA changes quickly enough in the opinion of the new US government . There is another solution but no one of either senior party has the vision to see that . Ottawa as a whole is sadly devoid of creative thinking - except the few that find ways to get away with scams that result in brown envelopes of cash disappearing .
  12. G Allen from Toronto, Canada writes: The Public Private Partnership infrastructure solution can only help if it's re-tooled.

    To date, most of these projects have failed - they give private firms (usually politicians' donors) a profit while costing taxpayers more in the long term, & typically for an inferior product. Why make us pay more for less?

    The new paradigm should include getting beyond this myth: The Private Sector is always smarter, efficient & inexpensive ... The Public Sector is always foolhardy, slow & expensive. Wearing these glasses only makes us stumble around in a fog.
  13. Allan McElroy from Winnipeg, Canada writes:

    Mike Keith, I have to agree. Manning can't help but be disappointed in Harper. In December he was going to put light stimulative measures into the economy. Now over two years we'll have a deficit of $65 Billion!?! Not very light! And although I can't lay the worldwide financial crisis at his door, this so-called fiscal conservative has both been gutting the federal tax base and instituted continually rising spending programs. That $65,000,000,000 maked me very nervous.........
  14. M M from Canada, Canada writes: Manning hits the nail on the head, but in the first couple of paragraphs by stating that that is all that the public hears. The media (helped the opposition parties) have gone on and on about the need for government to drop billions into the economy - so that is what people believe (that government is going to solve their problems). At the end of the day, the opposition parties will not be happy (I'm just waiting for the Liberals to go on and on again about how THEIR surplus was wasted by the CPC - but it was never their surplus to begin with - it was the TAXPAYER's surplus and how the Liberals would have done it differently - I'm sure they would since during the Chrieten years there were infrastructure spending that produced nothing); the media will not be happy particularly if there is any good news to come out of the spending and the public will not be happy because their favorite infrastrcuture program was not funded (as in the Crietian years when the infrastructure programs funded golf courses, fountains in MPs ridings - that is what the Canadian population comes to expect. So I fear the billions about to be spent because it creates a false sense that the federal government can solve your problems - how about holding our local and provincial governments' feet to the fire and ask them why they were not re-investing in sewers, water treatment, roads, bridges (which are their responsibility) rather than supporting comedy festivals, conferences, etc. etc. etc. That type of expectation from the voter would be more productive in the long term
  15. Stewart Smith from Canada writes: Mike Keith, your comment is bang on. At one point I had tremendous respect for Manning and viewed him as that rare commodity, a politician with vision and integrity. The fact that he is not advocating directly for a more principled conservative government at this point in time is unconscionable. Mr Manning, you have not only abandoned your vision, but also your country.
  16. Jeff Pritchard from Canada writes: The causes are obvious. Excessive usury, the creation of fictitious wealth via debt, and a blind trust/ideological faith that the collective fear and greed-based decisions of bankers, investors and corporations somehow magically coalesce into long-term wisdom and prudence.
  17. Jon Bakker from Mt. Pleasant, United States writes: Wow, lots of haters on Manning. The old fellows may appear 'inflexible', but I (myself 30) tend to think it's more that they've lived more and tend to want to avoid repeating mistakes. The only deficit free conservative gov't has been Mr. Harper's. The only deficit free liberal gov't has been Mr. Chretien's (and Mr. Chretien's liberals had to work to get in the black). Mr. Mulrooney definitely overspent, but let's not forget Mr. Trudeau! Everyone has 'blood' on their hands from that kind of spending. What do readers do, check the author of the headline and prejudge the article? Read it again! He's not proposing the same old thing. He's not a fan of over-spending, but realizes it's going to happen (again) and before we get into it, shouldn't we be making our plans and setting in place the framework for a stronger economy when we get out now instead of waiting until we see the light of economic growth? Call him inflexible, but he's not interested in repeating the mistakes made in the past (regardless of his own role in making those mistakes). He's interested in a stronger Canada with a stronger workforce.
  18. S Balderick from Canada writes: Manning so laments the left/right divide in this article yet devoted his entire political career to creating it.
  19. Egg Beater from Canada writes: The most commonly noted statistic is that public infrastructure spending has an economic multiplier of 1.5 against GDP, while tax cuts multiplier is approximately 1.2%. (For more see http://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/Small%20Business_72408.pdf )

    The problem, as many are noting, is that 'getting the shovels in the ground' takes more time than temporary tax relief.

    I object to Manning's statement that, '....with faith badly shaken by the recent financial meltdown...' The faith in neo-classical economics was shaken at a more fundamental level. Friedman/Hayek were against the idea that regulation could be a counter-veiling force against market failures - they believed in 'the rational economic man' who would make perfect risk assessments with perfect information. Both ideas are based on flawed premises - the market is not entirely self-regulating (stroll down Wall Street for proof [or ask an environmentalist]) and the last few Nobel prizes in economics have focused on proving just how irrational our economic decisions can in fact be...
  20. Mooney Pilot from Smartville, Canada writes: Mike Keith from Saskatoon hit the nail on the head. Manning should clarify his position on Harper.
  21. greg stockton from toronto, Canada writes: Mr. Manning knows very well that in the end, private sector innovation, efficiency and motivation for profit, will be the main or, at least, the most sustainable source of jobs and growth. If you lament for more public sector involvement in the economy, inefficiency, waste and a temporary fix will be the end result.

    As the leader of the opposition it was Mr. Manning who, in the 90's, pushed the Liberals hard to reduce the debt and deficit. We owe him that much at least. And in my mind a whole lot more.
  22. scott thomas from Canada writes: That's right Preston, just cut taxes right down to the line, transferring national funds to the wealthy, and leave no cushion for when times go bad. Deficit financing should come right back out of the pockets of the rich, many who are personally resposible for this economic mess, not the middle class and poor of the country.
  23. Rick in Toronto from Toronto, Canada writes: I hope I can contribute to the solution. 1. Public Private Partnerships (P3's) can work if the Governance is competent and where necessary augmented by expert oversight. Where they go wrong is in poor conception, planning and execution of the deals by those in government lacking experience in managing P3s or as a result of those in private industry seeking to exploit government's lack of expertise. This can be solved efficiently with reinforcement of program delivery methods and policing. 2. The essential failure of stimulus and other investments in programs is the dilution of the results through misdirection into weak initiatives and the poor management and control of their execution. This is a failure in 'Program Portfolio Management' This includes not just selection and prioritization. but also the effective management and oversight of the implementation. Blair reinforced the program and portfolio management in government through a series of concerted initiatives through the UK Office of Government Commerce. 3. Innovative thought is indeed essential. The challenge is to reward its succesful application whether in goverenment or private industry so as to motivate action/correct behaviour. The metrics on government (B'crats and Politicians) are not sufficiently sized or immediately tied to the SUCCESSFUL implementation of significant initiatives and reform. They are too long term to achieve big results in 1 year. We are lucky to have a minority government forcing thinking. But the incentive (on success is relatively distant. Private industry also doesn't get the short term buz from attempting to lead grandscale changes and successes in repositioning Canadian industry. Some serious thought is needed here on this last point... and may need some smart 'Captains of industry' and bi-partizan action to build a new leadership paradigm. I have a team to help with the first two points. Preston... if you can facilitate... lets have a crack at this.
  24. J M from Canada writes: Keynes observations were better heeded in the 90s, despite all the thievery on the part of the Liberal party. Did we not run surpluses to pay down the deficit in good times, Mr. Manning?

    There is no new paradigm in Manning's writings, which suggests that he is following a neoliberal paradigm. I am concerned by his comments that money be spent consolidating the operational costs of non-government charities for helping the vulnerable as opposed to actually assuring that the vulnerable are taken care of.
  25. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: FOAD, Preston. It is the exact philosophy and mentality that you espouse and have, along with your protege Stephen Harper that gives us these 'cycles'.

    Funny how these are tempered and less destructive in the more regulated areas.

    Equally funny is how the US economy is collapsing precisely because of the application of your politics, ideology and 'thinking'.

    What isn't funny is how, because how the US economy is tied to the world economy, they are taking everyone else down with them.

    And the best part is that all this was predicted 10 years ago by Paul Krugman. OOOPPS.
  26. Les Caine from Canada writes: Being the lowest taxed least regulated market was Milton's prescription for 'Paradise Lost'.

    Why is Preston still flogging that hoary chestnut 'continental energy security? Why endorse the perverse 'mandatory wife swapping with a bachelor' which NAFTA's nonsensical proportional energy sharing commits us too even at the expense of Canadian citizens in the event of shortage in this cold country? Is this the chip that got us secured access into the American market? The magnificent dispute settlement mechanism?

    Is Preston proposing a Canadian version of the 'thousand points of light' for the newly dispossessed?
  27. Rick in Toronto from Toronto, Canada writes: I hope I can contribute to the solution. 1. Public Private Partnerships (P3's) can work if the Governance is competent and where necessary augmented by expert oversight. Where they go wrong is in poor conception, planning and execution of the deals by those in government lacking experience in managing P3s or as a result of those in private industry seeking to exploit government's lack of expertise. This can be solved efficiently with reinforcement of program delivery methods and policing. 2. The essential failure of stimulus and other investments in programs is the dilution of the results through misdirection into weak initiatives and the poor management and control of their execution. This is a failure in 'Program Portfolio Management' This includes not just selection and prioritization. but also the effective management and oversight of the implementation. Blair reinforced the program and portfolio management in government through a series of concerted initiatives through the UK Office of Government Commerce. 3. Innovative thought is indeed essential. The challenge is to reward its succesful application whether in goverenment or private industry so as to motivate action/correct behaviour. The metrics on government (B'crats and Politicians) are not sufficiently sized or immediately tied to the SUCCESSFUL implementation of significant initiatives and reform. They are too long term to achieve big results in 1 year. We are lucky to have a minority government forcing thinking. But the incentive (on success is relatively distant. Private industry also doesn't get the short term buz from attempting to lead grandscale changes and successes in repositioning Canadian industry. Some serious thought is needed here on this last point... and may need some smart 'Captains of industry' and bi-partizan action to build a new leadership paradigm. I have a team to help with the first two points. Preston... if you can facilitate... lets have a crack at this.
  28. Nike Albert from Texas, United States writes: Hi,
    It is very true that all world is facing Financial Crisis. In this situation investing in any market and making profit is tricky. If anyone want to invest he/should have good knowledge about market strategy and statistics. I will suggest before investing go to www.askamarkettechnician.coom and go through it. You will various information that will be very helpful. If you need more information you may ask there.

    Have a nice time.
  29. Alistair McLaughlin from Canada writes: Oh yes, rethink, wind and solar power will be the new drivers of the economy. Anyone who says something that absurd forfeits the right to be taken seriously. Just because Obama says something doesn't make it so. Wind and solar power will provide, at best, a tiny fraction of our energy needs.
  30. A Peon in the golden boy's court from land of living skies, Canada writes: You know, I gotta hand it to Manning on one side – he mentions some important aspects of building and maintaining a prosperous economy, but he’s far too zealous for most people. I mean, on the one hand he talks about all these free market “fix-its” for recessions and then he goes and blithers on about energy security. Well, hello! Free market doctrine doesn’t call for nonsense like “energy security” it calls for free and unregulated markets, free trade, open borders, etc. If these things existed, energy security would be in place – in theory. I’m a big fan of free markets, Milton Friedman and neoclassical economic theory – but Manning is missing some important aspects. I personally think that there are a lot of things governments do that they do badly and shouldn’t bother with, but I’d like to think I haven’t turned my economic views into a religion like Manning has. Now he’s two kinds of fundamentalist: Christi@n and Economic.
  31. Durward Saar from Canada writes: We have a national debt created by Trudeau when he tried to spend his way out of the recession of the late sixties and early seventies, all he did was to turn a world wide three yr recession into a three decade Canadian depression, and now we are going to do it again.
    Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it and concidering our 'Canadian' history has been re-written by the left we are screwed.
  32. rethink it from Canada writes: Alistair Im talking about conversions from non-renewables and the credits created as projects to fuel environmental finance markets. The bi-national cap and trade market - Harper and the conservatives have been avoiding it until now- dirty oil is over.
  33. Pierre-Yves P from Canada writes:
    Preston, we love you. Can you do anything to straighten up Stephen Harper? He`s totally lost it.
  34. Kan Tankerous from Tronna, Canada writes:

    Preston writes:

    'Until very recently, this conservative orthodoxy prevailed over much of the Western world.'

    And why do you think that orthodoxy is shifting Preston?

    Because perverted conservative orthodoxy has brought us to our knees.

    Preston adds:

    'Private-sector infrastructure projects'

    'Private-sector initiatives to use science'

    So Preston's cure for this malady is to keep applying the disease?

    What a simpleton.
  35. james west from Canada writes: it's really wonderful to have preston manning 'show us the way.' he has so much experience in this area and you have to give him the utmost respect, considering his years of experience governing nations in recession.
    his many years include turning broken economies around to where they are running full throttle and can ignore recession and depression.
    why, i'd think steve harper, as a protege would follow his example and turn canada's economy into 'boom central.'
    all you lib lefties comm symps should pay this 'wonderman' heed, for he shall show the way.
  36. gary wilson from Calgary, writes: Manning despises any kind of social spending unless it's funneled through a church.
  37. Ryan Lemay from Canada writes: Nice fuzzy logic Manning
  38. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: An excellent analysis by Preston Manning. However, as we do not know whether we have the right answer to the dilemma or not and few apparent alternatives, I believe we have no choice but to support the government initiative and pull together. Anyone knows that dissenters rowing in the opposite direction will cause us to go nowhere, so its time to put aside the disagreements and work together to ensure the success of the programs that the government is initiating. There will be plenty of time later for the naysayers and the 'I told you so's' to have their say and tell us all how stupid we are and that their way would have been better. As there is no 'proven' solution, Now is not the time to derail this initiative.
  39. john deere from Canada writes: According to the article:'At the outset of the Great Depression, most politicians, economists, business people and editorialists were gripped by the widely accepted conviction that strict adherence to the gold standard was the best guarantee of a return to economic stability and growth, Mr. Ahamed points out.'

    Talk about being in denial, in fact the U.S. Fed created the depression out of a recession by preventing the state run banks from having access to capital and that created a run on the financial system. The reason for doing this was to maintain their fiefdom (control of U.S. capital) and not for the good of the U.S. people. They weren't going to share a slice of their pie no matter what the cost.

    The British used the gold standard and had the biggest global economy of their time (the commonwealth). It was a sensible way to insure values and trading could be done transparently and not have the silliness that goes on now.
  40. garlick toast from Canada writes: Calling on the churches to close the gaps in the social safety net, that's rich.
  41. Philosopher King from Canada writes: A conservative arguing against black and white paradigms?

    I have to say Preston, I'm impressed.
  42. bill williams from Guelph from Canada writes: -

    There is nothing much to argue about as regards Manning's general prescription. His only error in that respect is that current stimulative policies and their envisioned mechanisms are intended to do exactly what he offers: Bring the pendulum back to the middle and have a vibrant mixed economy as soon as possible. Balance the books as soon as possible.

    But I take issue with his general characterization of how we got into this mess. He mentions Friedman and describes that man's work as being an entirely moderate and cautionary tale about the excesses of a statist society and economy. In fact Friedman despised government of almost any degree. He opposed taxation in almost any amount. He scorned regulation in any sphere. To Friedman, the free market was not a mechanism that showed the value of an open society, it was the essence of an open society, and any constraint or moderation meant oppression.

    The ideological, Thatcherite, Reaganite, Bushy pursuit of this extreme view ('There is no such thing as a society') where government must devote itself to disappearing from the market is what has bought us to this pass. The interventionist strategies now contemplated are not an extreme reaction to what has happened, they are the rational return to the very compromise that Manning sees as novel.

    Manning and others would seem much more credible if they had been advocating for moderation and compromise when the free market zealots were trying to destroy the world's rational economic and social fabric.

    -
  43. Philosopher King from Canada writes: While it is good for us to shore up our system and try to maintain some of the currently unused economic capacity to ensure it's still around when things recover, I can't help but feel we're all fooling ourselves about the nature of the recovery.

    Until global banks and investors feel confident that the rating systems for commercial papers and the like have enough incorporated oversight to be trusted again, the economy cannot recover.

    Those institutions which knowingly sold products with falsified value to the tune of trillions have not only been allowed to continue, they've been awarded for the behaviour and as yet no oversight improvements have taken place.

    I am your average investor. You will not see one more dime of mine in anything even remotely risky until I feel this problem has been fixed to my satisfaction.

    You want me and millions like me to risk my financial future to boost the economy, you better get your ducks in a damn row already.
  44. okanagan pakman from Canada writes: Maybe, Preston, Harper should have avoided deficit spending in his first term....we come into this crisis already in the red thanks to his incompetance....no awards for economic brilliance there
  45. Fiscal Conservative Social Liberal from Canada writes: The useless left/right drivel posted here that isn't close to being on topic is pathetic.

    I'll agree that the Conservatives have been less responsible fiscally than the prior Liberal gov't (rampant increases in spending coupled with questionable GST cuts).

    That being said, the article is on point, and in my view non-partisan. The problem is that for the last 10-12 yrs or so the Cdn political view has been fiscal responsiblity in paying down the debt, running balanced budgets. And now, the first whiff of a recession, and the gov't is throwing the idea out the window in favour of rampant deficit spending.

    Do we ever hear of gov't intervention in boom times? I can just imagine hearing , 'Canada is heading towards an unsustainable boom period that will result in elevated inflation, increased wages, and as such, the Canadian gov't will cut gov't services and increase personal income taxes in an attempt to temper this growth'...right.

    You cannot borrow and spend your way out of a problem caused by excessive borrowing and spending...
  46. Philosopher King from Canada writes: Fiscal Conservative Social Liberal from Canada writes: '... for the last 10-12 yrs or so the Cdn political view has been fiscal responsiblity in paying down the debt, running balanced budgets. And now, the first whiff of a recession, and the gov't is throwing the idea out the window in favour of rampant deficit spending...'

    Excellent insight. I agree completely.

    It is clear that even our the Finance Minister is murky on the concept of 'stimulus' spending when he starts calling a taxfree savings accounts 'stimulus'.

    I can't help but feel that this crisis is seen as just another excuse to buy votes and won't be probably exercised.
  47. George BrownIII from Christmas Island writes: Preston regurgitating Keynes theories of almost a hundred years ago must be a slap in the face of steve harper and his sidekick goofy flaherty.
  48. Robin M from Canada writes: The 21st century will start a new era towards real peace. This is going to be very costly as we are used to our economies being driven by war and oil generated dollars and there will be tremendous pushback from corporations that have reaped billions of dollars from this corrupt industry.

    All the old ways of doing business are in question... A new era based on innovation, clean technology, will drive this generation as more and more countries look to this area to generate jobs.

    Looking backwards, there is much to be learned from the repeated mistakes from our dependency on stock markets to secure our futures and be mindful not to keep on repeating those missteps that got us to where we find ourselves today..

    It really is a transformational time in our history and we all have to play a role in holding our leaders feet to the fire and be prepared to make the hard choices which will leave a better world for our children and grandchildren. They will thank us for this, rather than blame us for being the greedy generation that failed to have any vision. Our leaders need to be prepared to make unpopular choices so that we don't keep on making the same old mistakes over and over again.. It is up to us.
  49. James W from Toronto, Canada writes: There are a lot of commenters who point out that it is the Conservatives who decided to spend us out of surplus in the good times in recent years as if this is some attack on Manning. To be honest, I don't think Manning thinks too much of Stephen Harper or the way he runs the government. As much as people suspected that the new Conservative party was the old reform party in new clothes, it really hasn't turned out that way. The new Conservative party has almost none of the reform party's ideals, it is simply a party of pure politics striving for power for power's sake. When they finally think they have power, what do they do? Try to pass more legislation to secure power. I know Manning's history with the party, but his writing in recent years has nothing to do with it.
  50. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from Vancouver, Canada writes: Governments cannot spend their way out of a recession. Look at the mess the Bob Rae NDP government created in Ontario in the early 1990's when they tried their own stimulus package. It was a failure.
  51. Pierre-Yves P from Canada writes: To gary wilson from Calgary:

    What's wrong with having social spending funnelled through a church? At least, you have the option of creating yours.
  52. Philosopher King from Canada writes: Pierre-Yves P from Canada writes: '...What's wrong with having social spending funnelled through a church? At least, you have the option of creating yours...'

    That depends on whose money they're spending. Churches inherently have an agenda and an exclusive bias. That's their right.

    If they are contributing as a partner through funds raised by their own organizations I welcome them. If we're suggesting they spend public funds, I don't.
  53. Jake The Snake from Canada writes: I think the term 'spend us out of recession' is hyperbole that has taken a life of it's own. Who advocates uncontrolled spending with the goal of keeping everyone employed besides the very small looney fringe of dreamers?

    But in a practical matter governments should take advantage of the lower input costs during recessions and ramp up infrastructure spending. You get more value out of the taxpayer dollar and at the same time you do provide some stimulous to industry.

    The problem is these things are never planned out in advance as in: 'In case of emergency break glass'. What ends up happening is the economy tanks and then stimulus measures are introduced that are haphazzard, frenzied and inefficient. In the ensuing panic of a recession prudence and proper checks and balances are tossed in the bin because of politics.

    Government spending in such an environment would be more effective if there was better contingency planning in budgetting and capital initiatives.
  54. Gordon Nodwell from Toronto, Canada writes: I have to agree with Bill Williams of Guelph in his correction of Manning's simplistic analysis and approval of the ideas of Milton Friedman. He has to be blamed for much of our current mess with his mantra of ever smaller government and ever larger dependence on the free market and greed.

    Manning has a trust in the free market and its leaders which simply cannot be justified in view of their demonstrated goals of 'get-rich-quick and wealth-to-the-wealthy and smash-the-competition and we-aren't responsible-for-the-people-who-may-be-hurt'. Then he has the nerve to suggest that those who suffer in the fall-out should be taken care of by NGOs and charities. In words attributed to Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman: 'There is no such thing as society.'
  55. Roger Cooper from Canada writes: Mr. Manning is correct in saying that governments and markets both have role to play. But notice how he deftly swings the Keynesian credo of government stimulus spending to a refrain for public-private partnerships. Those we can do without.

    In Keynes' and Roosevelt's time, which spanned the Great Depression, the business of government was more limited than it is today. More tax was levied as excise than on income. In a grim sense, it might be said that cure for the Depression came from one of its spawn -- fascism, which Mussolini correctly called 'corporatism.'

    World War II put everyone capable of it either to work or to war. And after it was over the rebuilding effort kept the economic momentum going. The huge capital investments needed for both the War and the post-War period came from income tax. The temporary measure became a permanent and preeminent source of revenue for our federal and provincial governments.

    With their taxing and spending powers, governments today can shape economies to a degree that was impossible 80 years ago. We ought to be very careful, however, not to align the interests of government with those of business in public-private partnerships. These are opaque and potentially corrupt arrangements that can realign the interests and special powers of government from serving and protecting its citizens, to serving and protecting special interests.

    Had the Sponsorship Program been conceived as a private-partnership, it would have rifled ten times as much money from the public account and never have been discovered.

    Canadians ought to cast a wary eye over the current government's eagerness to use public-private partnerships to build infrastructure. They should look in particular at Transport Canada, who are re-engineering their programs to set aside large blocks of funds for P3s. This is corporatism again in another guise, and potentially just as harmful.
  56. AddingMy Voice from Vancouver, Canada writes: Blaque Jacque Shallaque you are right on in your comments and well said (see above). I read nothing partisan or petty political in his comments, then go to these comments and read a fair amount of tripe from people with axes to grind. Imputing perspectives and attitudes irrelevant to the content of the article, please people, can't we elevate? So here is something hopefully building on Manning's idea, 'How about, as well as spending billions of our children's future incomes on govt stimulus, can we find a way to more aggressively leverage the cash of those of us who didn't blow our pocket books out in debt in the last 8 years? Create incentives and rewards for those with cash to invest it? Any ideas out there?' One is, lower the GST to 2% for a fixed two years and then raise it to 10% as the economy recovers. I know I know, consumerism consumerism, but that is one of many ideas. Or, maybe, temporary tax credits for housing upgrades like high performance windows. Think of it as a domestic infrastructure stimulus package. Any other good ideas? I think that is what Mr. Manning is trying to stimulate, ideas and actions, not petty partisan sniping.
  57. Phineas freekinstone from who knows ,who cares, Canada writes: someone above suggested that people might not read the article but simply skip to the last comment......no they dont quite go to the last comment, they search for names of certain posters then attack them.why else would a lib/dip be here reading an article by Preston Manning?
  58. Andre Sobolewski from Gibsons, Canada writes: AddingMy Voice from Vancouver, Canada writes: 'How about....Create incentives and rewards for those with cash to invest it? ...maybe, temporary tax credits for housing upgrades like high performance windows.'

    These are examples of made-in-Canada solutions we should be looking for. This discussion will benefit immensely from more creativity and less polemic. Come to think of it, the entire country may so benefit as well.
  59. Chris Halford from Ottawa, Canada writes: Preston, God bless him, talks about striking a balance between stimulus spending and a free market approach, but implies strongly that we should forget about the stimulus part and subsequent deficit spending. That's not much of a balance is it? He also fails to address the issue that we are in this mess currently because the free markets aren't really healthy right now.

    What is mostly missing from the solution to the economic crisis is real reforms to financial institutions and markets as suggested by the EU. All we are seeing is reactions to the situation by putting the taxpayer on the hook for bank risk and by stimulus spending (the latter of which I believe is necessary and long overdue). How can we expect the markets to get back on their feet when there have been no fundamental changes to prevent a similar meltdown happening again?
  60. EJ Ravensbud from Canada writes: Gordon, look in the mirror - there lies the problem, along with most people who demand more and want to work less. When the good times were rolling as recently as 6 months ago most people were spending money they did not have. Most of the purchases were imported goods because they were cheaper and supposedly of better quality when it came to the big ticket items. Most people did not save for than rainy day, pay down their mortgages or did not buy things they did not need. Now people blame the government (it does not matter which party is in power we would have the same result) when their own lifestyles had a large bearing on the current economic problems.
    All Preston was trying to say is that when you look at history recessions and boom periods have happened many times and will continue to happen but no one has found the proper solution to cushion the blow when the economy goes sour.
  61. Chris Halford from Ottawa, Canada writes: Phineas freekinstone from who knows ,who cares, Canada writes: someone above suggested that people might not read the article but simply skip to the last comment......no they dont quite go to the last comment, they search for names of certain posters then attack them.why else would a lib/dip be here reading an article by Preston Manning?

    =================

    Speaking as a 'libtard', I read Preston Manning's article because, although I don't like his politics, I find that he is an honest, decent guy with a sense of humour. (I wish he could get some of those qualities to rub off on Stephen Harper but that's another matter.) Oh, I did post on the article but did not seek out and insult any posters - I've come to the conclusion that trying to reason with the guys who really make my blood boil is a total waste of time.
  62. Zarny YYC from Canada writes: S Balderick from Canada writes: 'Manning so laments the left/right divide in this article yet devoted his entire political career to creating it.'

    No actually you are wrong on that point.

    During Manning's political run it was the Liberals who constantly worked at creating the divide.

    Rhetoric about mythical hidden agendas and fear-mongering about the political right is something the Liberals thrived on.

    All Preston did was put pressure on Chretien/Martin to get Ottawa's finances in order.
  63. Chris Halford from Ottawa, Canada writes: Philosopher King from Canada

    This isn't 'the first whiff of a recession'! This is a full-bore, major event that has been barrelling our way for months.

    Apu - You should read Jake The Snake's post at 12:45.
  64. Chris Halford from Ottawa, Canada writes: EJ Ravensbud - The big concern now is job losses, how is that caused by people over-extending their private finances? I guess one could argue that the consumer market was overheated before, so people pulling in their spending horns will cause job losses in retail. However, it isn't just the retail sector and construction that's being affected, it's businesses of all types. The root cause was unwise financial practices and outright fraud in the U.S, and the whole world is suffering for it now. Anyway, if you really feel that people had themselves overextended, and I agree that many are, you would have to disagree with Flaherty bullying the banks into making credit easier, wouldn't you? At least, you would expect him to limit his entreaties to business loans because business is always, of course, more honest and prudent financially than individuals :)
  65. Rabidsenses > from Good gawd, a latte-swilling Westerner, Canada writes:

    Hilarious!

    From the comments above it would appear as though nobody understands what Preston Manning is actually trying to say.

    'What I think he's saying ... ,' 'Manning...says nothing new,' 'he is not advocating directly,' etc., etc.

    Indeed, Mr. Manning, what are you saying?

    Manning: was once a Canadian statesman but that title is no longer his.

    (and why are the rest of us even caring to interpret this sidewinder's muddied message???)
  66. Anarandan Ananda from Vancouver, Canada writes: 'EJ Ravensbud from Canada writes: Gordon, look in the mirror - there lies the problem, along with most people who demand more and want to work less. When the good times were rolling as recently as 6 months ago most people were spending money they did not have.'

    You are right. the banksters and their investment dealers of all striped were just doing that. The media was mis-informing people about the real state of the economy, till recently (Canada is good shape and we will not be affected as much as the USUK). Consumer spending was the ultimate encouraging tool used to fool the population, that jobs were secure and all was all. The banksters and their bought government needed consumer spending/confidence. Now the confidence is gone... Remember Bush advise post 911? 'Go shopping!'
    To blame the citizens for following up advise given by'experts/economists(aka fairy tellers) brought us here. The system is set up so workers get paid and spend the pay check in stuff the capitalists produce, therefore credit cards and other financial arrangements.
    The level of ignorance that the population is kept is horrendous. So don't only blame one group. The leaders are falsifying info, leading us all into the abyss. Anyone that cared about getting well informed knew for more than 5 years that the flag ship of capitalism was heading to the rocks and they did nothing. As Sheila Bard from US FDIC, stated: 'she told Bloomberg news that government officials saw the subprime crisis coming as early as 2001 [3]. 'Everybody was making money... everybody was getting something out of this which I think meant that we didn't have the political will, the popular outcry, to get something done.' If the FDIC and the Federal Reserve Greenspan knew, the past and present Banksters in the Bank of Canada and their PM knew it too. Let's stop demonizing the population (some of us works 84 hours a week to make a living in Alberta), we have no time, to research if hte media is telling the truth.
  67. Mach Machiavelli from Lethbridge, Canada writes: Canada needs change, not advice from worn-out wacky politicians who create lofty titles and lofty names for organizations for themselves disguising themselves as intellectuals when they are just mouthpieces for the centre of the right. RR-C-LR =Mussolini
  68. N. Ontarian from Canada writes: When our minority government is basically being black-mailed by power-obsessed leftards, whose only reason for doing anything is to try to steal the reins of power, that is how we end up with completely stupid, non effective, and outrageously costly 'stimulus' packages. Last fall, well before the economy really started to tank, Economics-impaired socialists like Jack Layton were demanding a $40 Billion 'stimulus package', or me and my scheming buddies will come and steal the government. Of course, when asked any real questions about it, Jack and his buddies could only come up with the usual empty platitudes about 'green jobs', and helping forestry sector, yada, yada - no real solutions - just 'Harper's evil, spend $40 Billion', or we the coalition of fools, will pull a coup d'etat.. What do you mean, Canadians don't want us to, we will anyway, because our lust for power by any means, supercedes what Canada needs, and what Canadians want. So, in a couple of years when we all see what a dismal failure 'economic stimulus' is, we can all thank the ghosts of the 'coalition'.
  69. Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

    Gawd, I hate liberals.
  70. Rudy H from Canada writes: Its too bad that Manning's name had to be included in the article. It has unfortunately had more effect on many of the readers than what was said.
  71. A B from Hammer, Canada writes: Well, Mr Manning does have a point. However the current political structure in Canada will not allow for us to continually repeat the same mistakes over and over. We are serious need of a total shift of how everything is done. Unfortunately it is difficult to change people to become more altruistic. Our current narcissistic society will prevent us from moving forward.

    Looking throughout history you will see the same scenarios played out over and over like a bad record while a bunch of so called experts preach the same dogmatic solutions that have been followed before.

    It is time to step outside the box and bring about a change in the way we live work and educate ourselves. A balance must be found in the circle of life as we are seriously endangering our circle of life to spin completely out of control.

    If we make a change lets make a change for the better!!!
  72. Randy McClure from Canada writes: Mr. Manning's views are coloured by his experience as an Albertan and long-time member of the social credit party. I think Mr. Manning is an honest man but he clings to ideas that are out of step with the reality of most of Canada. He starts out with a logically fallacy: The U.S. public agreed with the ineffective strategy of clinging to the gold standard and were wrong about that. So the assumption is that since people generally agree with the Keynsian approach being undertaken, now, and they were wrong about the gold standard, they must be wrong about Keynes and keynes won't work. This is a classic logical leap. The two issues are completely unrelated. Later he explains how Keynesianism is supposed to work. Save and moderate spending during good times and then, during private sector downturns, spend the cushion on infrastructure that will make the private sector more productive later, keeping people employed and evening out the EFFECTS of he natural business cycle. Ironically he saw T.C. Douglas do this right next door in Saskatchewan but never learned the lessons. Instead he was raised in the Social Credit fire and brimstone environment of his father Earnest Manning (see here to get a taste of what that was like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta_Social_Credit_Party#Manning_era ) Mr. Manning is correct that politians find it hard to be real keynsians. It's so tempting to spend when times are good and then run deficits when times are bad. The real choice should be between true conservative approaches -- spend when times are good and cut when times are bad (which leads to stress and undo harship) versus save when times are good so things aren't so rough when the inevitable slowdown occurs. Most people would pick the second approach everytime. But conservatives can't win -- hence we have deficits. They're pressured to spend when times are good and pressured to spend when times are bad leading to deficits time and again.
  73. Tor Hill Sask. from Canada writes: If we had truly free markets, Canada and the other nations on the planet would be peacable kingdoms. Trade is wonderful, until you factor in the scramble over scarce resources, leading to warfare. Someone has to be directing our free markets and it isn't the markets themselves. And in this context, you can say farewell to any broad or useful application of what we call libertarianism.
  74. Shannon White from Waterloo, Canada writes: I largely agree with Mr. Manning's conclusion, although I quibble with his assertion that Friedman's school-of-thought had really taken hold. Between the 91 and 2001 recessions, it's true that governments worked to cut government spending and taxes, and significantly reduce deficits. But this was along the lines Keynes had advocated: that governments should run surpluses during economic expansions. Perhaps, though it was done with a more Friedmanian flavour in places like Ontario and the US, where the emphasis was more on cutting taxes than on taming budgets. That being said, when the 2001 recession hit, the US government response was massively Keynesian. I'd guess that the only reason Canada got away with avoiding stimulative measures then was because of the hugely stimulative measures in our neighbour.
  75. Red Suspenders from The Big Chair, writes: Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. JPM:
    Do you really feel that any spending changes, of any Cdn Gov, would have made a difference, in this climate? Could anyone a year ago, have forseen this? (at the time we were working with a 2-4 Billion $ limit either way). Now we are talking 30-35 Bil?

    ===============================

    I am among a number of people who saw this coming a year ago.

    Anyway, one doesn't take precautions because of what one can foresee, but rather because of what one can't foresee. It used to be that being 'conservative' meant being cautious and reserved. Now it seems to mean charging ahead headless of anything but ideology and power-seeking.
  76. Rabidsenses > from Good gawd, a latte-swilling Westerner, Canada writes:

    Hi Michael Sharp,

    There is an American website for people who hate liberals.

    www.theamericanright.com

    It was originally called ihateliberals.com but they decided to change it to the new title to better reflect that national question of conservatism.

    Anyway, the site was started by and is still maintained today by moderator with the user name 'IHL', a sly little acronym that serves a s a reminder of the old site.

    Me?
    I just go there to learn about contemporary conservatism.
    And because I'm into the whole la politique fatale.
  77. Red Suspenders from The Big Chair, writes: Abicus Finnley from Walkerton, Canada writes: Wow. Manning has managed to say absolutely nothing new or interesting. He should be awarded a special medal for most boring retired politician alive.

    ====================

    His 'institute' consists of an admin/receptionist, two part-time U of C student interns who write these pieces for the Globe, and Mannning's large empty office.
  78. Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. Rethink: If you think the world (US and/or Canada included) will be off oil, in the next say 150 years. You need to rethink. We grey hairs, are not as inflexible as you think. But when you get a few, you will become a little less 'awestruck', and become a little more realistic. When exactly, did Mr. Obama build his first wind turbine, or solar panel? or electric car? Impressive man yes, but magic?
  79. Chris Halford from Ottawa, Canada writes: N. Ontarian - I believe the coalition did come up with a list of specific and costed measures as part of a stimulus package. I have no interest in what Jack Layton did or did not say but all the parties, except the Conservatives, presented costed platforms early in the last election.

    I'm not an economist but our recent near-death economic experiences probably spell the death-knell of neo-con free market economics. At the very least better regulations and controls need to be put in place.
  80. swift avenger from Nova Scotia, Canada writes: Well here in Nova Scotia our slippery little men in bad suits are rubbing their hands together.

    Which of their friends and cronies will get the bulk of the benefit of this free cash.
  81. Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. Halford: I agree with the 'At the very least better regulations and controls need to be put in place'. But I do not believe Canada was ever a neo-con free market economy. Nor should it have been.
    'Free market' is presently getting a bad rap, but I doubt we will venture very far from this method, after things calm down.

    N.Ontario: We Cons are responsible for this Budget. It has nothing to do with the Coalition, or Mr. Ignattieff. Until they vote it up or down, it is OURS. We will be blamed if it fails, and we should get the 'Kudos' WHEN it succeeds. I doubt some here will ever give us Kudos, but the (rest of the) Canadian people, are counting on us, actually voted for us (for this exact reason), to come up with a sane, stable way out, of this circumstance.
  82. Systemic Risk from Canada writes: Tom from downtown - about half the $100 billion of debt we paid off was done under Flaherty - so exactly how did the Conservatives ignore the second part?
  83. Shades of Grey from Whitehorse, Canada writes: Blaque Jacque Shallaque from Canada writes: 'What Mr. Manning is saying, I believe, is that a balanced approach is necessary. I don't see anything doctrinaire in his writing.

    I'll take Mr. Manning's thoughtful words and ideas over the partisan garbage spewed on these forums, and in our current parliament, any time.'

    Well said. I couldn't agree more.
  84. Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: Zarny YYC from Canada writes: S Balderick from Canada writes: ' 'Manning so laments the left/right divide in this article yet devoted his entire political career to creating it.' No actually you are wrong on that point. Rhetoric about mythical hidden agendas and fear-mongering about the political right is something the Liberals thrived on.' This is no 'myth'. Its only the lack of a majority for the right wing trash that hasn't resulted in this agenda coming to full fruition. Every stupid policy the CONs enact is a hidden minefield. Take the new tax free savings account. After bank fees, 95% of Canadians will benefit little or actually lose using this. However, among the well connected - CON financial backers - there are opportunities to benefit greatly by a little financial manipulation. Only a government of the extreme right would have come up with such a blatent payoff to their friends. What was really needed was the ability to deduct the base inflation from what is taxable - up to a limit that benefits everyone but especially protects the small investors who don't have access to high returns. Of course, such people don't make large contributions to the CONs. No, if these scum ever get a majority, this ripoff will seem like nothing compared to what they have planned. And like the last eight years in the US, every fundamentalist imbecile and anti-abortion wingnut will have direct access to power. For the moment, Harpo has them hidden.
  85. rick jackson from writes: Steve i am not an alberta redneck. You think that the tax free saving accounts is useless? Scotiabank and many of the others do not charge fees. It is probably the most important change the govĀ“t has done. Much more important than taxing income trusts. Now middle clase and young canadians will never have to pay tax on their investments income again. By the time you are 30 you have at least 60 thousand dollars in tax free investment room. More if your investments gained and you withdrew them. In the future small investors and anyone who saves money will not pay tax, you cannot improve of that.
  86. rick jackson from writes: How can 95 percent of people not benefit when they are no fees and the account is tax free. Who are the 5 percent who benefit? Where do these stats come from?
  87. Geordie Lad from Canada writes: Preston

    Please come back all is forgiven.

    We need you to split the right so that the Liberals can get to work to save our children and grandchildren from the debt that the little fascist from Whitby is about to impose on them.
  88. Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. Jackson: It also seems like a pretty good place to put any 'Inheritance' that might come someones way, once us Grey-Haired guys kick off.
  89. Steve I'm Not an Alberta Redneck from Calgary, Canada writes: rick jackson from writes: Steve i am not an alberta redneck. 'You think that the tax free saving accounts is useless?'

    Not for tax evading CON supporters who think that taxes are for the 'little people'. This is just another way that the tax burden will be piled higher and higher on those who work while those with the wherewithall to get in early and make the high returns will be making out like bandits. Fairness dictates that all income be taxed.
  90. Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. Lad: Who needs Mr. Preston Manning, when you've got your Coalition?
  91. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: P-cubed groups usually fail when the "private" part strongly objects to the "transparency" and "openness" parts that they would be required to meet as a result of the "public" part.

    Where this gets really, truly - and very, very bleakly - funny, is that it is the same corporate and RRW political interests that are so intimately entwined that are the driving force in that "openness" of government information and processes that the "private" element of the P3 concept wants no part of.

    Funny how what is appropriate and correct for the Public sector is anathema for the private sector. Why is that?

    And what do the private sector companies have to hide? To quote the RRW Fascists - if you're honest and law-abiding, you have nothing to hide.

    So, are the private elements of P3 consortiums dishonest and crooks? Or are they merely trying to protect their privacy? Weird how the private sector is so unwilling to be scrutinized.

    Say, why should corporate interests have greater and more ironclad privacy rights than the government?

    Conversely, why shouldn't the government and Public sector be able to hide like the private sector does?
  92. bill williams from Guelph from Canada writes: -

    N Ontarian and others seem to be saying that Harper and Flaherty are sure that stimulative spending is wrong, but they're going to do it anyway. Why? Political expediency? Is it honest to spend $30~40B per year when you think it's wrong? If they think that it's wrong, shouldn't they take a stand for what's right and put that in the budget? If they think that it's wrong, shouldn't they stop saying that it's what the country needs? Isn't that lying? I mean ... what do they lose if they stand up for what they believe? The right to govern? Isn't holding on to power less important to them than the truth?

    I think that we need HUGE stimulative spending, but if Harper and Flaherty disagree with me they should say so. Otherwise I just get the impression that they're saying and doing what they think people want to hear regardless of what's right. They wouldn't do that would they? I'm sure that all the CPC supporters out there who think that stimulative deficit spending is wrong are going to have to come to terms with the fact that Harper doesn't support their views. Right? Or would you rather believe that he's a lying, opportunistic hypocrite?

    -
  93. Bert Russell Paradox, BC from Canada writes:
    Michael Sharp: I cannot disagree with you comment on Liberals Michael, but perhaps we are being hurtful to the Liberals when they are down and out.
    Just look at Professor Iggy ... with all his academia achievement, he has nothing to say about specifics of his platform, rather he summarily adlibs to Harper .. you better do the right thing ... or else.
  94. Red October from Canada writes: A tax-free savings account already exists in Canada to the tune some analysts say could amount to $75 billion dollars.It's called the underground economy.In USA it is estimated at $350 billion dollars.
  95. john chuckman from Canada writes: Rex Murphy has a piece today calling Obama's speech a "cliched dud."

    I think that description far more closely fits the entire body of Preston Manning's efforts at writing.

    He really did miss his calling: he would have made a suitable evangelical minister in a small-town church.

    His political instincts are no great hell. He was a flop as a politician, and his hand-picked man, Harper, is rejected by two-thirds of Canadians and truly has shamed himself a number of times.

    That dud program Manning had for a while on CBC Radio, This I Believe, represented the man perfectly, tedious and preachy.
  96. rick from river city from Canada writes: john chuckman from Canada writes:
    That dud program Manning had for a while on CBC Radio, This I Believe, represented the man perfectly, tedious and preachy.

    tedious and preachy.
    Much like Iggy and his finance critic Swiggy McCallum.
  97. swift avenger from Nova Scotia, Canada writes: Well this is the perfect economic storm approaching and our governments on every level will be caught flat-footed. Like Katrina the poor and vulnerable will be left to swim for it.

    The stimulus money is being squandered, the cronies and flunkies are lining up to get their cut. It is all about them, these people have no idea, at all.

    We need our political system steam-cleaned. Put abstention on the ballot, allow Canadians the ability to get the noses, of this useless lot, out of the trough for good.
  98. Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. Williams: The Harper Gov. is about to produce a Budget, that will either pass or be voted down. I do not know the details yet, but I doubt it will be generous enough for the Left. I believe some reports put the economic stimulus portion at about 20 Billion. As the Canadian people expect a reasonable reaction to the circumstances, I (for one) think that this number is feasible.

    Mr. Harper has little choice at this point, NOT because of any Coalition and/or Mr. Ignateiffs' threats, but because the circumstances call for such action. It will be painful, but unavoidable. If Mr. Ignatieff does not like it, he can vote it down and take his chances. The Conservative agenda, is not as strict, as you have been led to believe. When spending makes sense we spend, but when Govs take our money, they need to be accountable to the folks that are generating that wealth. I know this goes against everything the Liberals' believe, but that is why Mr. Harper has the seats.

    If (and I bet this happens) Mr. Ignatieff signs onto the Conservative Budget, and does NOT vote it down? Will it then mean, that he (Mr. Ignatieff) has forsaken all of his LPC followers, as you suggest Mr Harper has now?
  99. sheila ross from Vancouver, Canada writes: bill williams - spot on comment. Harper is going to say, "they made me do it" precisely because it would never occur to him to put his own principles above his lust for power. But his most fundemental miscalculation may be to assume the majority of conservatives do so also.
  100. sheila ross from Vancouver, Canada writes: Of course the contradiction in my last comment is that one who lusts for power can also have principles. Rules, traditions, laws, these don't matter either.
  101. peter clarke from Toronto, Canada writes: Infrastructure spending is not production of capital, nor does it produce goods or services that will have any long term effect on the economy. Since the great depression in 1929, money is the only true wealth as today far too many people and governments live on borrowed money that they can not afford to pay in their lifetimes. Banks were not formed to lend money, but rather for the protection of money their depositors make from time to time. We now have the real result from banks that have been aggressively lending depositors hard earned savings. When banks lend money, then they also must be regulated to set aside the actual same dollar amount into a non-usable reserve fund, until such time as the loaned money has been repaid to the bank in full. This ensures that our banking system has a true banking reserve system in place. Further the regulations for banks should clearly stipulate that at any given time, their lending abilities should not exceed 50% of the total amount of dollars on deposit by their customers. Money by its very value is the only commodity that can be exchanged for real products and services. Our dollar, by government non intervention, has been allowed to depreciate in value by over 25% against other world currencies that have no natural resources when compared to those of Canada. The Canadian dollar is presently undervalued by .30 to .40 cents if one uses the usa dollar as a basis. What is urgently needed and has been for the past 75 years, is for governments to live within the amounts of revenues earned annually and not borrow or spend any more than the annual revenues they receive and collect through taxes. Keep smiling
  102. Western Bear from Canada writes: The Liberals can agree with the Conservative Budget, and get on the "right-track" train. All aboard! OR Please tell your (so-principled, can't make a decision - Mr. Dithers?) Leader, to vote it down.

    Any bets? Mr. Ignatieff folds, and climbs on. Welcome Aboard.
  103. S Rankin from Chatham, Ontario, Canada writes: This op-ed is laughable. Manning's ideas will further impoverish Canadians and make his and Harper's friends and supporters rich beyond your wildest dreams. Don't fall for it Canada! Manning, Harper and all of the other extremists on the right are interested in nothing less than a re-do for Canada in their false plastic god image. They will try and use this crisis to make it happen. Just like their republican cousins in the USA the CPC has become the party of Rush Limbaugh, of Ann Coulter, of Newt Gingrich, of George W. Bush, of Karl Rove. It is not a conservative party, it is a party built on the blind and narrow pursuit of power.
  104. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: My oh my. The nonsense posted here. The failure of Keynes's "plan" wasn't the plan. It was that the politicians refused - as opposed to failed - to follow it.

    As in: Keynes said to use deficit financing during a recession / depression, but to pay off that deficit ASAP when the economy was booming. The second part is what was not done. Until the Chretien regime.

    As for the slagging of Trudeau for creating the deficit, well now.

    The cold, hard truth is that it was Mulroney who ramped up the national deficit to the highest levels it has ever seen. And now another iteration and incarnation of the Conservative party is set to do the same. Funny how that is working out.

    Some here have raised Bob Rae as an example of "left wing mismanagement". And yet, they are remarkably silent about George Bush senior's similar problems as a result of the same recession. Why is that? Especially since Bush Sr also ran up a deficit and raised taxes. Disinformation and political agenda, anyone?

    Reality - what a concept. The reason the political extremists don't like it is because it proves that they are all liars and fools. Too bad, so sad for them.

    What we are all enjoying now is a direct result of the application of RRW ideology and "thinking" for the last 40 years. this should be enough to bury this crap once and for all, but given the content of this thread, it won't.

    Which brings to mind John Stuart Mill's observation about conservatives.

    "While it is true that not all conservatives are stupid, it is also true that most stupid people are conservative."

    In today's context, the term "conservative" can be replaced with the term ideological extremists, but the gist remains deadly accurate.
  105. Red Suspenders from I hope it's not always true that people get the government they deserve, writes: rick jackson from writes: How can 95 percent of people not benefit when they are no fees and the account is tax free. Who are the 5 percent who benefit? Where do these stats come from?

    ====================

    I don't know about those stats, but we know this much -- quite apart from what the bean-counters tell us about who benefits at what income levels yada yada:

    Governments provide necessary services that citizens would otherwise have to pay for another way. For this reason, a tax savings is always somewhat offset by the lost of government provisioning. In some cases the tax saving may be a net gain and in some cases it may be a net loss. It is impractical and a bit foolish when partisans or idealogues insist that calculation will always come out on one side.
  106. Mickey Hickey from Toronto, Canada writes: The Conservative search for a moral philosophy that justifies selfishness and greed continues. J.K. Galbraith was right on when he coined that phrase.
  107. John Doucette from Manotick, Canada writes: Preston, you were, and still are, a leader in creating and strengthening that left-right division. When the cosmic creator eventually selects a meaningful eternal tattoo for your butt, it will read "Ideology over Common Sense-Always".
  108. Michael S from Toronto, Canada writes: Western Bear from Canada writes: Mr. JPM:
    Do you really feel that any spending changes, of any Cdn Gov, would have made a difference, in this climate? Could anyone a year ago, have forseen this?
    -----------------------
    LOL...are you serious, man? I'm 29 years old and, after researching the unwarranted and peculiar housing market boom/bubble in the U.S. and Canada for a few months back in late 2004, came to the conclusion that we'd have a big bust in the next few years, once peoples' financial chickens came home to roost. And I'm not even trained in economics (I was a comp sci grad), but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    Get real, man.
  109. s like from Cochrane, Canada writes: Mickey Hickey and John Doucette

    Neither of you really read the article did you and neither of you know much about economics. He advocates balance between government action and private enterprise which neither of you seem to pick up on.

    I would suggest that you are both far more ideologically stuck in the mud and closed-minded than Preston Manning. In fact, it seems that Preston Manning has a fairly open mind.
  110. Angus Elliott from Cambridge, Canada writes: Excellent article Preston. Good to see you putting a rational voice out into the wilderness.

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