Friday, July 9, 2010

Harper to Cut Back Jobless Benefits and Pensions While Raising Taxes on Low Income Earners

Stephen Harper and Guy Girono have decided that jobless Canadians, pensioners and low income families are the ones who should be paying for the economic mess they got us into it, not the corporations or the banks.

I mean Canada's bankers deserved the eight billion dollars in bonuses they just gave themselves. They were gracious enough to allow Jim Flaherty to buy back on our behalf, $125 billion in sub-prime mortgages, giving us the wonderful distinction of being the largest lender of sub-prime mortgages in the world.

I'm getting that embroidered on a pillow, I'm so proud.

Most people think they're idiots. Duh! Do 'ya think?
A fragile economic recovery worldwide has barely begun. Yet the world’s leading economies are abruptly removing the stimulus measures that revived a global economy hurtling toward a second Great Depression only 18 months ago. With unemployment still at intolerably high levels, Canada has begun to engage in “fiscal consolidation.” This is the new euphemism for austerity. For cutbacks in jobless benefits and pensions, for tax increases on the working class, and reductions in social-service spending.

Stats show that 93,000 jobs were created in June, but most were temporary and part-time. And how many were for the G-20 and G-8?
The official communiqué warned that continued stimulus to reboot the global economy “would undermine confidence and hamper growth.” Which is nonsense. Even the stock market knows that much, having lately given up much of the huge gains it made at the peak of the stimulus last year. As a show of “confidence,” the markets have been sliding ever since the austerity talk began in earnest.

Dr. Harper’s faulty prescription

Canadians trying to recover from the post-G20 blur have yet another worry on the horizon: the aftershock of the G20 leaders’ austerity plan. Two years ago this fall, the G20 nations responded to the global financial meltdown with aggressive monetary stimulus and massive bank bailouts to quarantine the contagion; and a $5 trillion fiscal stimulus program to stem the economic free fall. Without this unprecedented collective action, the world would have plunged into a 1930s-style depression.

Draconian austerity measures are now being imposed in Europe and elsewhere: pension rollbacks and wage cuts for public servants, savage spending cuts. Millions are losing their jobs, their homes and their businesses. These measures are guaranteed to deepen and prolong recession and, paradoxically, weaken governments’ ability to manage their debt.

The wealthy will suffer no similar fate. On the contrary, the latest Merrill Lynch world wealth report found that ranks of millionaires climbed 17 per cent in 2009 while their collective wealth surged 19 per cent to $39 trillion. Stephen Harper boasted about getting G20 countries to agree to cut their deficits by one-half by 2013. If they follow through, the risk of backslide into global recession will grow. (Nothing about job creation targets in the summit communique.)

Harper also lobbied hard to kill an international bank tax that would help rein in the speculators that put the global economy in crisis in the first place, and provide a major new source of revenue for governments. At home, egged on by business economists and its own ideological instincts, the Harper government is preparing to shrink its own moderate deficit and debt via major public services cuts, layoffs and asset sell-offs, even as more than 2 million Canadian workers (11.5 per cent) remain unemployed or underemployed.

Those are the real figures. That is the real economy. Harper may want an election ASAP before the you know what hits the fan.

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