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Refreshing candour


 

The Prime Minister’s press secretary concedes that the last person you can trust right now is an economist.

“This is all highly hypothetical. This question is tied directly to the global economic recovery and when you think that will be – and what speed you think that will be, which is hypothetical by its very nature,” Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Kory Teneycke said. “One thing you can count on over the last number of months since the economy started to slow down is that predictions from economic analysts have been consistently off.”


 

Refreshing candour

  1. until we have a few quarters under our belt from which to establish baselines the PMO is spot on. Any and I mean anyone offering a prediction right now and acting confident about it is not being honest.

    • You mean spot on about Canada not having a recession at all because if we were going to it would have already happened?

  2. … and when you mix the proverbial off-base economist with a politician, you get the madoff of economists, apparently. I always knew Korry could tell the truth if he was pinched enuf.

  3. Except, of course, for the brilliants mind in the PBO Office, who have suffered the wrath of the PM and his parrots/puppets.

  4. Except, of course, for the brilliants mind in the PBO Office, who have suffered the wrath of the PM (economist!!!) and his parrots/puppets.

    • Took the words right out of my mouth, Ottawasteph. In fact, there have been quite a few economist who have consistently correct in their assessments.

      • No there hasn't. Roubini, Shiller and a handful of others have been consistently correct, almost all others have made huge errors.

  5. What is useful about Teneycke's statement is that it brings an important hypothetical into play. In April, Ignatieff stated that allowing the deficit to persist would be unethical wrt future generation of Canadians. As a result, he stated that tough spending cuts and even tax increases would be used by his government to eliminate the deficit. The Conservatives simplified this for anyone not paying attention to "Ignatieff plans to raise taxes".

    Harper has now been forced to take a position (beyond hoping the recovery renders the point moot). In his words, “We will allow the deficit to persist if necessary, We will not, in order to meet some timetable, start raising taxes and cutting programs.” Taken at face value, this is a statement that the deficit will be allowed to persist in perpetuity.

    On perhaps the most important economic issue facing Canada today, our two protagonists have taken diametrically opposed positions. Ignatieff: a return to the tough love economic policies of Paul Martin (the finance minister, not the PM). Meanwhile, Harper proposes taking us back to the economics of Trudeau & Mulroney.

    • "Taken at face value, this is a statement that the deficit will be allowed to persist in perpetuity."

      That is a big 'if'. so where does the shoe drop?

    • I don't think the idea is to allow the deficit to persist in perpetuity. Rather, it seems to me the conservatives simply want to manage to get through their time in government without having to enact measures to remedy the situation (which measures would be particularly unpopular with their base). Then, having done nothing substantial about the problem, they pass on its legacy to their rivals, who then get to wear the blame for raising our taxes (TAX & SPEND SCOUNDRELS!)

      • Hmmmm, but doesn't this plan hinge on being kicked out of government? What's the point of short-term, tactical thinking if this is all it gets you?

        • There is a long tradition in Canadian politics. German political scientists have studied it and refer to it as the screwinthenextguyinlinesoyourlegacyinthepartyremainsintact. Trudeau did it to Turner, Mulroney did it to Campbell, Chretien did it to Martin.
          While I do not subscribe to the notion that Harper wants the CPC to implode for a while on his stepping down, I will admit there is plenty of ammunition for constructing the case.

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