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A reasonable prescription for pain relief

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

From a low-tax, no-deficit government, Tuesday's budget was a shocker ...Read the full article

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  1. Mariposa Belle from Leacockland, Canada writes: This could be a watershed budget for Canadian politics. The Reform dominated Conservative Party realigning itself to the realities of getting elected as a majority, as in its previous state it was incapable of doing so.

    Despite the torrent of abuse which is likely to be unleashed on this board, most Canadians are comfortable with the choice between Red Tories and Blue Liberals.

    Nuance is everything in Canadian politics

    Prost
  2. Misty Morning from Canada writes: Near the end of Mr. Flaherty's speech he said that the government will give the Finance Minister authority to extend credit, lines of credit and guarantees to any federal institutions should the need arise. Can we really trust them to hold us responsible for a finance minister writing blank cheques as he wishes with no oversight by Parliament? This is a great concern to me, and it surely must be for all Canadians. Please read the text of the speech as given in Parliament. This statement is made near the end of the speech and ends with "We don't foresee having to use it." (the authority
  3. Misty Morning from Canada writes: Near the end of Mr. Flaherty's speech in Parliament today he said, and I paraphrase here, the government will give the Finance Minister authority to extend additional help to federal institutions such as credit, lines of credit and guarantees, if the need arises. We do not foresee a need to use it.

    This means Mr. Flaherty can give money away any time he feels its necessary without any Parliamentary oversight. This also means that what they say will be a $34 billion deficit could baloon into triple that, or whatever he deems is necessary. Come on Canada, lets put this to a vote. I say no one has the right to do this, no party, no PM or finance minister. They have sold their principles, if they had any to start with, let us not help them except to send them on their way to Hades where they so willingly want to go!
  4. Wide Awake from Saskatoon, Canada writes: Aren't tax cuts a long term reduction? I thought the government committed to a short term deficit but those lost revenues won't come back.

    I'm a small-l liberal but am sympathetic to the philosophy of a fiscal conservative. However, Stephen Harper isn't a fiscal conservative. He's just wants lower taxes. His spending was escalating well before the financial crisis (13.9% last year alone!).
  5. west slope from Canada writes: ---

    Well, the coalition tactics worked. The coalition has now been officially co-opted. And more.

    Development agencies!?!!

    It will be years before the federal deficit is reversed. The tax cuts and permanent spending program increases virtually guarantee it.

    Looking forward to some generous yields on low-risk bonds. Why should anyone have to work hard or bear risk in order to make good coin on investments? And what is wrong with transferring wealth from the young to the old? Bring it on!

    ---
  6. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: This is a good budget for the times. It would be impossible to craft a budget that pleases everyone and there are some sour grapes people who will never be satisfied, even if it included everything that they want. Hopefully Ignatieff will get through his "performance" quickly so we can get this budget passed and get on with working to improve the economic situation. As for Jack Layton he wouldn't support any budget from Harper even if it involved giving Jack the entire $64billion to dispense personally, so his opinion can easily be disregarded. Whenever the next election does come, that is one politician who is going to well-deserved oblivion - preferably along with his puppet-master Duceppe.
  7. The Skipper from Canada writes: And What Would The Great Jeffery Simpson Suggest ? Did You E-Mail Stevie with your ideas ?
  8. Nick Beerman from Calgary, Canada writes: I am now convinced that Canada has the worst government in its history; also the worst leaders.

    While it is certainly different to see the Conservatives moving towards the other parties and all that. So what?

    PROBLEM IS THAT HISTORY TELLS US THAT ECONOMIC STIMULOUS SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK. The economy has to be managed much in the same way it was when we went to war during WWII. It does not need a war only the management that survival requires. Are we not in a state where the survival of many is in fact threatened?
  9. North Star from Canada writes: Harper is conservative in name only now.
  10. D W from Wpg, Canada writes: While some may not like the idea of a reduction of the gst applying such a thing to auto purchases for a given period of time might have spurred some to buy. Selective application of a gst reduction would have been something that might have had a positive result.
  11. Albin Forone from Canada writes: This downturn is ultimately a Good Thing. It's a major forest fire that will clean out the surfeit of garbage growth in Canada, that has accumulated under Greenspan's accommodation and Bush's squandering. This forest fire is much worse because of previous government and regulatory underwriting, and more forest fighting to try to save Canaada harmless is wasted effort and not the way forward. Obviously, the most fragile elements of Canadian society should be protected: other than them, burn baby burn.
  12. Sober Second Thought from Toronto, Canada writes: I can't help but wonder, if all the global nations can spend like crazy to supposedly save us from recession (which is a normal occurance in the capitalist system), how come we all can't mobilize to address real global crises like the 1 million deaths from malaria each year?

    Care to discuss this Mr. Simpson?
  13. Edward Palys from Pickering, Canada writes: It seems that any spending to stimulate an economy for short-term gains is only a bandage for the problem. One should decide from facts what turned the economy down in the first place. Look at the root cause of the present situation. It should not be too difficult to see the obvious. Unless we address the root reasons for this mess, the economy will not recover satisfactorily no matter who is leading the government. It's no use bashing the present leadership without offering a solution that will properly steer the economy to recovery. Where were all the expert economists a year or two ago? Who predicted the present economic global mess? It's about time that the proper authorities weeded out the financial plotters and kicked us back into times of ethical money-making. After all, isn't it the financial system that precipitated this mess in the first place. Unfortunately, governments are influenced by these sleezy characters in any of covert methods. It's about time our leaders came clean and stepped out of the circle of corruption. We need to elect more principled people, not ideological 'experts'.
  14. Arnold Guetta from Ottawa, Canada writes: If the media propagate * "Flat earth" ( as , in general, for the past half-century*) then the elections of mathematicians (I tried repeatedly), mariners, scientists et al lose, in general, to astrologers, delinquents and the infantile, with the wondrous exceptions of those who defeat the media, and those who contracted me and like minded. Hence to the growth of national debt from (1987) $388 billions to (2008) $692 billions (not the $550 billions quoted last night (1/27) by CBC/Mansbridge on his CBC Gnashional/A Tissue panel (excuse my spelling). Contempt for public funds thrives in both CBC and successive generations of its employees since 1963. I note that Minister Flaherty's expected deficit in the current fiscal year is $1.2 billions, giving ample time for a return to principle, and the surplus of $30 billions (returnable to our citizenry * instead of a deficit of aproximately $32 billions which he postulated yesterday for the next fiscal year. * Canadian Judicial Council, file 05-0626, the protection of endangered law enforcement (RCMP GC-310-26-4-1: too late for some: RIP Hobson, Tyas, Parry et al), the recovery of the first $1,050,000 of $7.1 billions from criminally delinquents, and the aforementioned extinguishing of $30 billions in annual theft and waste in public spending. Arnold Guetta, mathematician aguetta@rogers.com
  15. Ed Long from Canada writes: This is a modest budget and there is room for contingencies.

    Why?

    Price Waterhouse, just prior to Davos 2009, have released a poll of 1100 global CEOs. 21% see revenues increasing in 12 months. 34% see revenue increases in 36 months. And, most troubling for Canada, 1 in 10 consider natural resources to be scarce.

    If these projections are even close to accurate, this will be more than a one or two year downturn.
  16. garlick toast from Canada writes: So what's the message? TFSA say 'save' the budget says 'spend'. The budget also says to our children, 'pay'
  17. Thomas Clark from Innisfil, Canada writes: This budget is not scary for it's deficits, it's scary for it's lack of controls on bank support and the fact money for infrastructure will never be matched so the government actually spends their part. For the permanent. The tax reductions would have been most effective if they applied to 2008 & 2009. Especially '08 when I actually had a job. The EI changes are confusing to say the least. I don't understand how my 38 weeks can have 5 weeks added and make up the 50 weeks everyone keeps quoting. Not enough was done for the unemployed. They should have raised the max.% calculation as well as the lid on the calculation. As well lets be honest paving roads is not 'green' nor is it anything truly useful for the future. Schools, libraries, New parks, community centres(not so much hockey rinks) would be better. I am also concerned that in our last time around there were major concerns about scams in the home reno programs. One of the most interesting things is to look at who ends up with the money. A large number of major construction companies are US owned. I understood that there was concern recently about our eletronic health records being stored in the US by an American company who could have those records searched by their Homeland Security. Why are we giving that 1/2 billion dollars. I suspect that with the money that will never be paid out for infrastructure, the 12 billion a year lost in GST cuts that we could have easily done more to help the poor and unemployed. Where has our famous 'heart' gone?
  18. Bubbles McBubbles from Trawna, Canada writes: Jeffrey Simpson breaks out the pom-poms:

    Rah! Rah! Siss-boom bah!
    Tories! Tories!
    Blah! Blah! Blah!
  19. jack doober from brantford, Canada writes: How much money are we wasting on the failed war in Afganistan which could be better spent in Canada..
  20. Peter Adamski from Edmonton, Canada writes: Regarding: "But, then, who predicted what has happened to the world economy?"

    There were a few. For one, check out Lewis Lapham's interview with Michael Hudson at Lapham's on-line. It took place sometime mid 2007. The question is not "Who predicted what has happenend to the world economy?", but why wasn't anyone listening to those who predicted what has happened to the world economy?

    Regards,
    Peter Adamski
  21. Mooney Pilot from Smartville, Canada writes: Why isn't it that the Tories don't get it half right unless you put a gun to their head and whisper suggestions into their ear?
  22. Ed Long from Canada writes: garlick ... Get over it. We are nowhere near the proportion of GDP or per capita deficit Obama is attempting to push through the Congress in addition to previous bail-outs and stimuli.

    There is a lot of room left in this budget, thankfully.

    The choice is Liberal or Coalition, in which case, "our children" will pay for a very long time.
  23. p lailey from vancouver, Canada writes: Mooney Pilot from Smartville, Canada writes: "Why isn't it that the Tories don't get it half right unless you put a gun to their head and whisper suggestions into their ear? "

    give credit where credit is due. Then there's the Liberals who just never get it right period.
  24. p lailey from vancouver, Canada writes: Peter Adamski from Edmonton,
    Go back every year for the last 20 years and there is always a number of prognosticators predicting a recession.
  25. Karl Scheel from Toronto, Canada writes: As Mr. Simpson stated in this article, "The tax cuts, thank heaven, did not include another reduction in the Goods and Services Tax..."

    However, since the two-percent total reduction in the GST doesn't amount to much--even for big-ticket items (e.g., only $400 savings on the purchase of a $20K automobile), it would have made no difference to the average consumer if Ottawa were to return the GST to its former rate of seven percent. I also remember reading several months ago that many merchants just continued to charge the same while pocketing the difference following the GST reductions. Just think how much more green infrastructure Ottawa could have afforded had the GST remained at seven percent.

    Green infrastructure, such as rapid-transit expansion in large urban centres that need it would continue to benefit the economy long after this global recession ends (i.e., through higher productivity), while improving the health of their citizens (which would translate into lower health care costs, which we all pay for). In exchange for this, I am sure that most Canadians, after thinking it through, would have been more than willing to give-up that meagre ONE DOLLAR saving that they would receive on that fifty-dollar bar tab.
  26. M Poland from Canada writes: Mr. Simpson well knows that there are very goods reasons why Alberta is leery of a "national" securities commission. People here remember when our oilmen, after the War, went cap-in-hand to Bay Street for capital to enable the search for hydrocarbons, and were asked "is it risky?", When told "yes, of course it is risky", they were sent away empty-handed. Thus the search turned to the United States, where they actually understand the oil business, and risk/reward ratios, and, voila, we made it anyways. Then we get pilloried for it, to this day, for having an American presence in the oil-patch. We don't have a problem with that; we can compete with anyone. Encana, anybody?
  27. Keith Sutton from Winterpeg, Canada writes: If this budget is so beneficial, why do I feel so underwhelmed? This isn't Leadership in bold capitals, this is like two trembling security guards facing a mob.

    It is wise for Mr. Ignatief to approve it, but come on, it's the only move he has. Defeating the budget = another election = bye bye Liberals. So his party's ability to influence or change Conservative policies is clearly comprimised. Yes, if the budget Were defeated and an election Were called, the Conservatives would go over the same cliff, but atleast they've got squishy soft Liberals to land on. Talk about a shotgun marriage.

    Wondering: Elizabeth May, where the hell are you?

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