Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Harper takes us for a ride

More evidence today that Harper intends on using the economic crisis as a pretext for taking us on a bobsleigh ride to a neo-liberal fantasia. In The Star, Tonda MacCharles interviews Harper's mentors as a guide to just how genuine any assistance Harper will offer to the economy and how much is playing politics (my highlights in bold).

"If there's an evolution in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's thinking, those who know him well warn no one should now mistake it for a permanent conversion.

"He is still an economic conservative at heart," says professor Frank Atkins of the University of Calgary. "But he's a pragmatic politician."

Atkins trained Harper, an economist who long ago embraced classic liberalism, the doctrine that free markets work best with minimal interference from the state."...

"No, no, no, no. He's not discovered John Maynard Keynes," Atkins says, referring to the 20th-century economist, and adding that Harper's thesis was "adamantly anti-Keynesian thought."...

Crowley believes Harper remains "a fiscal conservative."

He puts Harper in the "Austrian school" of economic thinking, which featured Friedrich Hayek as the great adversary of John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s and '40s. Harper spent a lot of his university years reading Hayek, says Crowley.

"He's a Hayek fan."

Fundamentally, Harper favours markets over government intervention, deregulation over increased government programming or economic regulation, lower taxes over more government activity and balanced budgets over deficits.

And what does the Toom Tabard have as a plan to stimulate the economy? Leakage to the media indicates are that it includes such breathtaking measures as :

The Harper government will pare tens of millions of dollars from travel budgets and MP salary costs and impose other austerity measures tomorrow in an effort to demonstrate to main street Canada that MPs aren't immune from the spreading economic pain.

Big whoop. Tens of millions in political window dressing while Obama is talking about spending billions to stimulate the American economy.

Economists are universal in their agreement that any stimulus package should include significant spending on roads, broadband cable lines and other infrastructure programs.

Stimulus could also come in the form of a temporary reduction in the goods and services tax.

When Sorcerer's Apprentices proposed their first GST cut, it was pointed out there there is little actual stimulative effect by a cut in consumption taxes. What this will do is push the government even further into deficit. It was a reduction in the GST combined with the largest spending increases in Canadian history that erased the surplus and pushed Canada into deficit regardless of the economic climate. This effect will be exacerbated during a period of falling consumption and thereby falling government revenues.

If Harper cuts the GST it will create an even larger deficit than is necessary. Requiring larger cuts and more firesales of government assets. And on it goes.

As demonstrated during the Bush II nightmare, these goons are a two headed monster. They use political sleight of hand and spin to try and convince people they are working to solve problems while they simulataneously advance the wrong headed dogma that created the problems in the first place. No amount of bad news or argument will dissuade them from this course. The only way to progress in the fight against the on-rushing calamity is to remove these fools from office.

For almost a decade, American politicians were unable to rid their country of their cancer in the political system due to the difficulties of acheiving an impeachment. Now the people have done it for the politicians and in less than 2 months, a new era will dawn.

Canadian MPs have the tools at their disposal. If the Conservative economic update continues on the path of disaster federalism, they can and must bring down the government and demonstrate to the Governor General that they can form a government themselves. This is the only way for a stimulus pacakage to be proposed that actually seeks to address the problems we are facing.Recommend this Post

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