Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday morning miscellany

  1. When I undertook this blogging thing I realized that finding the time to do this during ski season would be tough and I was right.  It is sort of like hopping on a merry go round when you were a kid.  Most times it isn't that tough but when the crazy kid from down the block got it really going around fast, it took a really deliberate effort to find just when to take that leap.
  2. I listened to Cross Country Check Up yesterday.  The topic was the budget and Janice MacKinnon was a guest.  It occurred to me that she is the perfect host for the new Conservative friendly CBC.   She can be legitimately listed as a former NDP Finance Minster so that the image of media balance can be claimed.  But she doesn't seem to have run into a Harper policy that she doesn't see in a positive light.  But then, maybe she has always been a NDPINO.  She gets along very well with Rex (By golly, I like the cut of Harper's jaw) Murphy.  No transcripts so this is all from memory.  Profuse apologies to follow if I get any of this wrong.
  3. One guest, Craig Alexander, had a very interesting point about the effectiveness of various types of stimulus.  The type of stimulus with the highest rated multiplier is EI with a level of 1.6.  Infrastructure is close behind at 1.59.   But EI gets into the economy faster which is important if the recession is short and shallow as some forecasters predict.  Mr. Alexander mentioned that he had made a representation to the Finance Department on this.  Funny this didn't seem to have made an impression.
  4. The poor efficacy of tax cuts as a stimulus measure is well understood.  So is the permanent chainsaw effect they have on government revenues.  It seems to me that if you take the $3.2 billion a year in permanent income tax cuts over 5 years ($16 billion) and add the $4 billion plus deficit in 2009 that Kevin Page pointed out we would have seen even with out the GEU (Global Economic Uncertainty) we would have a deficit due to tax cuts of >$20 billion.  This represents almost 24% of the deficit forecast of $85 billion.  I realize there is a stimulus expected from the tax cuts.  But what if they don't work as laid out?  What if the stimulus money doesn't flow to the cities because of the funding formula?  Then the proportion of the deficit due to tax cuts will be even higher.
  5. And finally, it seems like the kewl kids have taken up this Twitter thingy.  Since I am such a compulsive joiner that I  will sign up for a trip to Mac's, I went and joined up.  There are two roadblocks that I can see.  Firstly, it appears that Twitter is designed for short concise posts.  How that will work with my tendency towards loquaciousness remains to be seen. And how joining this is will help the timing of when to hop onto the spinning merry go round is another issue to be resolved.  Aye well.  It hasn't cost me anything.  Yet.
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