Checking Jim Flaherty’s math

by Aaron Wherry

Scott Clark and Peter DeVries pan the budget.

Budget 2012 reflects how this government has operated for the past five years. It is a budget that reflects the government’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a budget that demonstrates the government’s inability, or unwillingness, to engage in public discussion and debate over ideas and policy. It is a budget that sets out to attack groups that the government believes will stand in its way. It is a budget that is divisive among Canadians, and not inclusive of Canadians. This budget is remarkable for its lack of vision and boldness. There is no narrative that sets out the longer-run economic and social challenges; there is no discussion of how these challenges are interrelated; and, there is no commitment to put aside ideologies and consider what is best for the country…

The 2012 Budget is disappointing not just for its failure to propose a credible agenda for strengthening long-run economic prospects, but also for what it says about how this government will continue to manage economic policy in future budgets. Budget 2012 will be remembered for its lack of vision; its lack of transparency; its lack of accountability; and its lack of sound economic policy. Future budgets are likely to provide more of the same.

They also don’t think the Harper government will meet its latest projections for a balanced budget.




Browse

Checking Jim Flaherty’s math

  1. Math isn’t the Cons strong suit in any area of govt.

    • Actually there is nothing about MATH in what they’re writing. I know Aaron Wherry’s frame makes it look like:

      Oh look ! Non-partisan experts find math errors in Flaherty’s budget.

      In reality this just reads like an opposition press release slamming the gov’ts public policy choices. It wouldn’t take an economist to do that.

      LOL in the first paragraph they talk about income inequality ! Might as well read something from the CAW.

      I don’t take anyone seriously who talks about that.

      •  No, you just make things up.

      • Because income inequality doesn’t exist?

    • …but it is for the Left? How was Bob Rae’s math in 1991? How about McGuinty’s math today? Clearly your education ended at elementary school.

      •  There is no left or right….and math is math. Enough with outdated koolaid.

  2. Who is Scott Clark and Peter Devries? What are their credentials to analyze a $260 billion budget?

    •  C. Scott Clark served as associate deputy minister of finance
      (1994-1997) and deputy minister of finance (1997-2000). Peter DeVries
      was director of fiscal policy (1990-2005) at the Department of Finance.

      • You mean they’re good coalition partisans who made their way under Liberal governments.

        Frankly i’ve read through and found a bunch of leftist bafflegab.

        Disclaimer: Read council of canadians or NDP press release and save yourself some time.

        •  What does left and right mean anymore JD?

          Do you even know?

          Harp is selling oil to the Chinese, we trade with Russia.

          So name-calling simply makes you look absurd.

          • Get a job and pay some taxes Emily…and get off that library computer and go home, to your subsidized housing.

          •  I pay more taxes in a year than you make….now stop attacking ME because your beloved Cons screwed up.

        • No, they’re persons who favour balanced budgets and surpluses over deficits!

      • You mean people who couldn’t get a real job got elected with no economic credentials and were given responsibilities in the Ministry of Finance – just like the lefties love it. By the way Emily, you have no clue what I earn and I doubt you come close. Those who support socialist concepts like you either don’t pay enough taxes or have the guilt of inherited wealth. Those who have earned wealth like me don’t appreciate the government taking it by force and wasting it in inefficient bureaucracies and welfare for losers.

    • Can anyone do any better, the politicians are all governed from above in a pyramid of power. 
      The economists all come out of the same educational mill and will not think outside of the box. 

      • The problem is not economists, the problem is that 30% of the population pays 98% of all income taxes, but the 70% who pay little or no income taxes get to choose the government.  Then people ask why is it most governments just keep growing until they explode like in Greece or the Soviet Union – because they want to be re-elected. What a democracy!  In ancient Greece during the world’s first democracy, politicians were volunteers and they served for only 2 years at a time.

        • So you’re saying you hate democracy?

          • No, that’s not what I’m saying – I’m saying our system is flawed and will result in progressively bigger governments that serve only to impede our economic progress and potentially lead us down the path of Greece.

          • And the alternative is?

            I think the problem you’re having is that you’ve realized democracy leads inevitably to socialism, but you haven’t yet reconciled that with the possibility that this is a *good* thing.

        • “but the 70% who pay little or no income taxes get to choose the government. ”
           The CPC refutes you.

           Otherwise this is a ridiculous and stupid argument that only people with money should be able to vote.

          • Stupid? Check your mirror if you can’t figure out the argument. What I said is the system is flawed when the majority of voters are net benefactors of government largesse – it gives politicians incentives to spend more money to win votes. 
            The CPC winning was a confluence of circumstances (bad Liberal leadership and disaffected Quebecois) and a shift to the middle of the political spectrum by them.  CPC speaks Conservative but is acting like Blue Liberals.

          • Can you provide a credible reference that shows:
            - 70% of canadian voters are net benefactors?  
            - the 70% of Canadians who pay the least in taxes even vote?

  3. who is MJH who can’t google….

  4. Budget of a closed Gov. Based on ideology rather than the needs of Canadians.

    • Right on Christine!  You’re right, NDP, Libs and Greens are NOT ideological in their perspective…written by another Social Science major who can’t earn enough to pay enough taxes to know how useless the government is.

  5. Clearly wrote a liberal supporter, trash and bash without substance to any claims made. Perfect political garbage designed to sell papers on Toronto…

    •  Who buys newspaper, IN ANY city these days…

    • Clearly written by persons who worked in the public service under a government that favoured balanced budgets and surpluses over deficits.

      • Would that be the same Liberals that served under Trudeau who spent so much that the bond markets eventually FORCED Martin and Chretien to slash and burn the 1995 budget?  Know your history before you make naive statements.

        •  Um there was a conservative govt in between Trudeau and Chretien

          Know your history.

  6. I tend to agree that it’s a budget of ideology. And not much vision at all.

    Conservatives in general have never been good with money. Oh, there’s no doubt that they and their supporters have always claimed that they’re so much better at managing money than everyone else. But that’s always been more fiction than any sort of reality. A bit like someone who claims they can pay off their credit cards if they really wanted to but never do.

    Things like changing OAS & GIS to 67 are prime examples of ideology. Why? Because those are so-called “social programs”. There’s no actual need to raise the age limit due to demographics or financial sustainability. Now or in the future.

    But hey, it’s not about Math remember. Or about moving forward, in any sense. “Vision” and “moving forward” have always been problematic terms and quite narrowly defined in the realm of Conservatives.

    • Yes, Conservatives are bad and stupid people.

      • No but they produce large deficits and endebt future generations.

        • Yes, they’re very bad.  That Ralph Klein fellow, for instance, all he did was run huge deficits in Alberta and impoverish Albertans for eons to come.

          • Lying again, Orson?

          • How could I possibly be lying?  I hear from Liberal bloggers and posters all the time that all conservatives do is run deficits.  So it would be metaphysically impossible for Ralph Klein’s government to have ever balanced a budget, right?

            I mean, unless those Liberal bloggers and posters are lying, and that just can’t be so  . . .

          • Well, judging from how often you lie, I assume it’s because you like to.

            Before you go any further, perhaps you want to look up “reductio ad ridiculum”, and from that understand why what you’re doing is pathetic.

            If you want to try arguing the substance, then by all means do so. I presume you’ve got enough intelligence to manage it. It’d be nice to see it.

  7. Spend like a Liberal, then blame the Liberals, then take credit from the Liberals.

  8. This drivel is what passes for journalism these days? Nothing but clearly biased opinion, with no backing of fact or evidence.  Kinda looks like it was written by a politicians speech writer – Zero substance.

    •  Welcome to Wherry-land.

  9. Any Conservative MP who cares about Canada will cross the aisle and help to take this most anti-Canadian government down.

    • Yes, Conservatives hate Canada and are anti-Canadian.

  10. Cuts to Health Food Inspectors,Internet Access(CAP),Elections Canada,CBC…..yes,small cuts all round but still but they do not improve the lives all Canadians…adding all those extra Senators in the last 12 months surely did not come without COSTS?

    Spend wisely and cut wisely……..  Spending millions and millions to keep throwing into our faces the  slogan of the EAP without a proper audit being performed to show the cost/benefit of this Cons. only program seems a bit disingenuous in the face of the cuts being made in this 2012 Budget.

  11. I am surprised at the cuts that affect food inspection.  Was the Listeria outbreak really so long ago?  Is the model of self-policing something we want the food industry to follow, given the recent track record?

    • Of course. After all, once you’ve killed a few people, the market will react and put your corporation out of business, and that makes it all perfectly fine.  Because hey, what’s a life or two or twenty-two compared to a whole corporation dying?

      Just look at what happened to Maple Leaf Foo.. uh..

  12. Really??? I suppose Mssrs. Devries and Clark prefer the McGuinty Plan for Fiscal bankruptcy by 2020? Lefties call the Conservatives ideological? – ‘pot calling the kettle black’.  If he wants to talk about what’s good for the country let’s end the charade that income equality is either achievable or desirable.  The Soviet Union failed attempting this ‘noble’ goal. The same fate for North Korea, Cuba, pre-capitalist China…the list is long. What’s best for this country is if the NDP and its’ socialist agenda disappeared along with the PQ.  The Left should open their eyes and look at Europe so see how ‘big government’ trying to provide income equality eventually bankrupts the economy.  You are both dinosaurs…go away.

    •  Wow….talk about ideology!

    • Sweden refutes you from the left, Argentina from the right.

  13. This is the same Math that has kept Canada in the top rankings throughout the world as having a remarkable and sustainable economy.

    • I do not think so……it was the Liberals who made sure Canada was on sound financial footing before Harper had control of the “keys” to the treasury…..please keep watching and paying for those EAP ads by Harper and then ask yourself why?   Ads to congratulate themselves for spending “our” money????

      If you believe in this kind of government then have a seat, put your feet up and pull out a cold one…..and enjoy the show.

  14. The Decepticontronsrobotrolls theme song by Kris Kristofferson “The Pilgrim Chapter 33″

    This part nails it best,

    He’s a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,Taking every wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

    How fitting how true.

  15. So they have been wrong about the blip that will impact on OAS. Just a temporary thin once us old timers kick off then the age curve will return to normal leaving the pension system affordable once again.
    Then we have the missed 10 billion or so for the F35′s. Sort of like saying “I bought a TV but forgot about the GST”.
    Begining to look like these guys can’t count passed ten with out licking off their shoes.

  16. Yes there was and they stopped the bleeding by eliminating the structural deficit (program spending was equal or less than tax revenues), but the interest payments kept adding to the debt.  The debt monster left behind by Trudeau could not be slayed without radical cuts, but the 1990-91 recession interrupted the process and as a result they lost the next election.

  17. ‘Pot’, let me introduce you to ‘Kettle’.

  18. Check your facts – Sweden was forced into the same budget cutbacks in the mid-1990s that the bond market imposed on Canada.  Sweden vaunted social system was pared back when they went through their debt crisis in the early 1990s like Canada. “The most significant increase in debt came in the 1980s and 1990s when large increases in secular social spending increased the Debt/GDP ratio to 75% and the Interest Coverage to 8% of GDP. This sparked a financial crisis in Sweden in the 1990s which led to a reform of its fiscal finances similar to the Canadian reforms. These financial reforms included school
    vouchers, privatization of pensions and other reforms As a result of this, its interest coverage has fallen back to 2% of GDP and the Debt/GDP ratio back to the 40% level.” http://www.globalfinancialdata.com/news/articles/government_debt.pdf As for Argentina, they were a military dictatorship.  Central planning whether by communists, socialists or dictatorships don’t work. The political right refers to those who believe in small government and free markets not dictatorships and fascism.  Large governments like in the U.S. and elsewhere, support crony capitalism which is ‘influence peddling’ by the government based on donations by large companies. We don’t have free markets in North America nor anywhere else. Hong Kong comes closest.

  19. Let me enlighten you. The Liberals under Trudeau ran a structural deficit (program spending exceeding total gov. revenues) that created a massive debt mountain, with the interest on the debt compounding it further. Mulroney’s Conservatives eliminated the structural deficit and were left with just the interest component adding to the deficit when the 1990-91 recession hit resulting in them losing the next election.  The Libs did not address the deficit until year 2 of their mandate when Canada’s credit rating was cut and our interest rates were forced up compounding the problem.  The bond market forced Martin and Chretien to make major spending cuts to beloved programs including transfer payments to provinces. Feds use fund 50% of provincial health care buget but was then cut to 25%.  The surpluses resulting from the cuts were not used exclusively to pay down debt, but to create new spending programs with one third, another third for tax cuts and the last third of the surplus was for debt repayment.  Had they devoted the entire surplus to debt retirement, our debt to gdp ratio today would be below 20% instead of near 40%.  The only reason the debt to gdp ratio went up during the Tory minority in 2009-10 was to appease the Liberal-NDP coalition that demanded more government expenditures to fight the Credit Crisis – whch accomplished little but increase the debt. The economy would have recovered even without the extra government spending.  Now tell me Lass, how much history do YOU know?

  20. I remind you Mr. Short Memory, that the Liberal-NDP coalition forced the Minority Tories into spending more during the Credit Crisis.  The mid-’90s Liberals were forced into fiscal responsibility by the bond market when Canada’s credit rating was cut after the debt mountain built by the Trudeau Liberals wasn’t shrinking fast enough. The Chretien/Martin Liberals used only 1/3 of each surplus for debt retirement, the created new program spending with another 1/3rd and the last 1/3 was for tax relief.  Had they used the whole surplus for debt retirement as they should have, our debt-to-gdp ratio today would be under 20% instead of nearly 40%. By the way an egalitarian society is a pipedream of underachieving socialists that has been attempted by many countries most notably the Soviet Union and most recently Greece.  The result in both cases was bankruptcy. Pre-Capitalist China, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela…the list is long and undistinguished – socialism is a failed economic concept. Free market capitalism has never been tried yet it is constantly critisized.  Those countries that move toward free market capitalism like Hong Kong have 3% unemployment.  The current Conservative government is acting like Liberals to stay in power – a real conservative government would have slashed spending more in the recent budget.  Look how efficient the socialist Liberals in Ontario are…two abondoned gas power plants in the GTA after spending millions if not billions on the projects.

  21. I thought this story might be about math, as the headline implied.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *