Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wednesday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your midweek reading.

- Erin compares the stimulative effects of Ontario's election platforms:
A multiplier is the amount by which a dollar of budgetary outlay increases Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The federal Department of Finance estimates multipliers of 1.3 for public expenditure, 0.9 for personal tax cuts and 0.2 for corporate tax cuts in the year after their enactment.

Applying these multipliers to Ontario’s election platforms suggests a GDP boost of $1.3 billion from the Conservatives, $1.4 billion from the Liberals and $1.8 billion from the NDP if corporate tax credits are treated as corporate tax cuts. Counting these credits as public spending brings the NDP’s stimulus to $2.3 billion.

Of course, all of the above multipliers would be lower in Ontario because it is smaller than the national economy. Proportionally more spending would flow outside the province than outside the country as a whole. The NDP’s Buy Ontario policy would limit this outflow by keeping a larger share of procurement spending inside the province.

Given higher outflows and lower multipliers at the provincial level, the federal government should take primary responsibility for using fiscal policy to manage economic demand. However, to the extent that Ontario provincial platforms can be evaluated as stimulus packages, the NDP proposal is strongest.

New Democrats would deliver the most stimulus and job creation at the lowest fiscal cost by focussing on measures with the biggest bang per buck: direct public investment and targeted tax credits. By contrast, Liberals and Conservatives have prioritized slashing tax rates on corporate profits, the least effective way to stimulate the economy.
- Andrew Steele is right to point out the need to treat voter suppression as the crime that it is. But it's equally important that those of us who value widespread participation call out attempts to suppress the vote through legislation and other means as well, rather than buying into the spin that we should value evidence-free assertions about a need to crack down over real access to the polls.

- CUPE notes that the Sask Party's rhetoric about privatizing surgical functions to increase the number of procedures performed has proven entirely false in practice, as millions of dollars in added funding (contingent on the money being siphoned into the private sector) have actually led to less surgeries being performed.

- Finally, I'm guessing most readers will already know about the Manitoba NDP's fourth straight mandate. But it's still a huge plus to see that the efforts to build a right-wing western bloc have hit a barrier at the Manitoba border - and hopefully we'll see even more pushback as the fall's election season progresses.

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