Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Walkom points out that the McGuinty Libs' choice to emphasize austerity rather than stabilizing Ontario's economy may lead down exactly the same destructive path travelled by Greece and other countries:
(T)he crises in Spain, Portugal and Greece occurred because government spending cuts designed to remedy debt problems sent those countries spinning into economic decline.

Throughout much of Europe, measures aimed at reducing debt have created a self-reinforcing spiral of doom.

Government workers are laid off to save money, which leads to higher unemployment. Higher unemployment reduces tax revenues, thereby widening fiscal deficits. Governments are forced to borrow more to cover these shortfalls, thus increasing debt.

And on and on.
If we assume, as Drummond seems to, that the U.S. economy will never fully recover and that the price of oil (and therefore the loonie) will stay perpetually high, then Ontario’s economy will remain precarious.

In this scenario, “unprecedented” spending cuts of the kind Drummond recommends would be the worst possible action.

It would be far better for Queen’s Park to undertake a less ambitious debt reduction scheme, even if doing so caused the government to miss its 2018 target date for balancing the budget.

Spain’s austerity regime has led to a youth unemployment rate of 50 per cent. Greece’s has led to rioting in the streets. Ontario doesn’t need either.
- Chris Selley rightly suggests that total online surveillance is an intrusion into the lives of Canadians that deserves a fight. And Rick Mercer rants:

- Aaron Wherry surveys a few suggestions from MPs on how to make Parliament more effective.

- Mike de Souza reports that an obsession with pushing unrestrained tar sands development at the expense of all other economic priorities may prove to be just as damaging for Alberta on its own as for the other regions of the country which are more obviously suffering for the Cons' warped priorities.

- Finally, J. Rhys Kesselman has some ideas to actually improve Canada's retirement income system. But since they run contrary to the Cons' strategy of transferring wealth from those who need it most to those who need it least, I wouldn't expect them to get anywhere as long as Stephen Harper is in power.

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