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Columnists

Canadian banks: Even the Americans are agog at our fiscal virtue

You know how wonderful Canadian banks are. They didn't fail when others did, and didn't need to be bailed out. We are standing tall among nations in that regard, and the Harper government can stick out its chest and preach the Canadian model of prudence and caution to a profligate world. Even the Americans are agog at our fiscal virtue.

Plus, our economy has been recovering from recession faster than others just in time for the G20 meeting in Toronto. It's wonderful, fake lake and all.

Ideology and luck: Jim Flaherty's legacy as Canada's Finance Minister

| March 21, 2014
Columnists

A fine balance: GDP growth by sector and the impact of austerity

The second-quarter GDP numbers confirm that Canada's continuing "recovery," such as it is, is still balancing very precariously on a knife-edge between expansion and contraction. The various sources of growth vary widely in their current momentum. The overall net balance is barely positive. And coming austerity in the public sector could very much push the balance into negative territory in coming quarters.

Niall Ferguson's latest gaffe

| May 7, 2013
Columnists

Drinking the financial hemlock: Balancing public budgets to enrich the financial sector

Photo: d.neuman/Flickr

It's budget season everywhere, and it's all about debt and deficits and the elusive quest to balance the beast, which can only be done, it is said, by cutting services or raising taxes.

The burden of interest charges -- on the same scale as health or education in most provincial budgets -- doesn't get questioned because interest is fixed by the gods according to divine law, retribution from which we can only escape through harsher and harsher penance.

Or is it? Let's chew on a couple of startling points.

Fewer unemployed eligible for benefits

| November 6, 2012
Columnists

Fiscal 'crisis' in context: Two indicators

Net government financial debt

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With all the predictions of doom and gloom coming from the austerity camp, one would think that Canada was already about to hit the famed (but never seen) "debt wall." Before we get too carried away, however, with the scary debt stuff, consider these two indicators of the fundamental fiscal fragility/stability of Canadian governments.

Deflating housing bubble risks recession

| June 25, 2012

Drummond's productivity 'puzzle'

| January 5, 2012
Columnists

Challenging the private credit system: Who's bailing whom?

The time since 2008 has been a crucial historical moment for progressive economists to pull back the green curtain that surrounds the operation of the for-profit banking system, and expose that system for what it is: a government-protected, government-subsidized license to print money.

The problem is, as soon as you start saying things like that, people conclude you are some kind of wacked-out conspiracy theorist nut-bar. It sounds insane to claim that private banks have a license to create money out of thin air. As John Kenneth Galbraith put it, "The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled."

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