Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Scott Clark and Peter DeVries point out that with interest rates still at historically low levels, Canada would be far better off funding infrastructure for itself rather than locking itself into privatized structures:
But that is not true at all at the federal level.  The federal government funds its infrastructure projects by issuing 30 or 50-year bonds, which it currently can do at historically low interest rates.  The costs are amortized over the service life of the project.  The impact on the budgetary balance is spread over the lifetime of the investment, perhaps as long as fifty years.  If it loans these funds, without concessions and covers its borrowing costs, there is no direct impact on the budgetary balance.

In other words, the government currently has access to unlimited and cheaper funding for public sector infrastructure investments than the private sector.
(W)hy does the Finance Minister want to create an independent CIB that will focus only on “National Economic Development projects such as toll highways and bridges, high-speed rail, port and airport expansions, smart city infrastructure, national broadband infrastructure, power transmission and natural resource infrastructure?  Projects considered by the Bank should generally have an all-in cost in excess of $100 million to meet the minimum to attract institutional investment”.

In other words, the Council wants an independent CIB that will concern itself with only about 2 per cent of the “national” infrastructure gap.  The remaining 98 per cent that is provincial and local is too small to attract large investors.

Perhaps the Finance Minister should concern himself more with the 98 per cent of infrastructure needs and less with the 2 percent.  It is at the provincial and local level where there are in fact revenue and borrowing constraints that could inhibit infrastructure investments.
- Meanwhile, Brent Patterson questions why the Libs are also pushing "development finance" aimed toward allowing the corporate sector to exploit the developing world, rather than toward improving conditions for people. And Chris Hedges discusses the Trump kleptocracy.

- Alex Ballingall reports on a new Environmental Canada projection showing that Canada is expected miss even the watered-down greenhouse gas emissions targets set by the Harper Conservatives.

- Emma Gilchrist notes that subsidies for the fossil fuel sector - such as the B.C. Libs' power giveaways - lead to disastrous economic consequences as well as environmental destruction. And Judith Lavoie points out how Imperial Metals' corporate political donations fed into Christy Clark's choice to saddle the public with a $40 million cleanup bill.

- Finally, Paul Taylor examines how unnecessary medical testing can do more harm than good - both in terms of the use of medical resources, and in terms of the health of the individual patient. And Andre Picard points out the example of tuberculosis in the North in showing how vital it is to have care available when and where it's actually needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment