Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Andrew Jackson makes the case for a federal budget aimed at boosting investment in Canada's economy:
Public infrastructure investment has a much greater short term impact on growth and jobs per dollar spent than tax cuts since the import content is low and there is no leakage to higher savings. Increased income benefits for low income households, as through the proposed new system of child benefits, also have a relatively large impact on GDP.

The CSE study also found that in the short term the federal and provincial governments would each gain over 40 cents in additional revenues for every dollar of infrastructure investment, to a total of 88 cents per dollar spent. In the long run, governments would recoup almost all of the increase in investment by boosting productivity in the business sector and thus the future tax base.

The key point is that a 2016 federal budget heavily tilted towards infrastructure investment and higher benefits for low income households would give a significant boost to growth and job creation. The new government could and should give priority to areas of spending which have the greatest economic impact at the lowest net fiscal cost. This does not include tax cuts for the relatively affluent.
Some will argue that we cannot afford more spending as the federal government falls into deficit due to a deteriorating economy. But well chosen new investments could give a major boost to growth and jobs, and be at least partly self-financing due to higher revenues.
- Meanwhile, David Climenhaga points out how the right-wing model of total reliance on oil royalties at the expense of a steady revenue base is proving even more disastrous in Alaska than in Canada's oil-producing provinces.

- Molly Ball writes about Nick Hanauer's work on a fair minimum wage and other policies intended to reduce inequality, while LOLGOP contrasts that against the Republicans' determination to make inequality worse. And Sean O'Grady argues that other jurisdictions should follow in Finland's footsteps in developing a basic income.

- Sydney Sharpe rightly calls for an end to abuse and bullying in Alberta's legislature. And Paul Berton comments on the need to make kindness rather than nastiness the rule in discussing politics.

- Finally, Michael Harris offers some suggestions as to how the Cons could learn from their mistakes.

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