Friday, July 10, 2009

Dumb Da Dumb Dumb. A Little Music to Walk the Plank By

We learned this week from Canada's Parliamentary Budget officer that if this government doesn't curb their spending and raise taxes, especially the GST; this country is going to be in serious trouble.

George Bush's theory of economic bliss, failed and it failed miserably. It's time we move on, and bring back a little fiscal responsibility.

While in Italy at the G8 Summit, Stephen Harper couldn't wait to throw his two cents in, and that was about all it was worth.

With intellect and diplomacy, he mustered his best grasp of the English language and called Kevin Page's predictions 'dumb'.... 'dumb'???? What is he, six?

Mr. Page is an officer of the Government of Canada, and the best our Prime Minister can do is critique his predictions and recommendations, as 'DUMB'!!!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Italy on Friday he won't follow the "dumb" advice from Parliament's budget officer by raising taxes to balance Canada's post-recession books.

We will not start raising taxes and cutting programs. That's a very dumb policy and, to the extent, frankly, that the parliamentary budget officer suggested it, it's a dumb position," he said.

I was reading the press announcement, when not long ago the Conservatives were touting his expertise, selling him as the jewel in the crown of their (non-existent) Accountability Act. Yet today he is just DUMB??

Mr. Page is highly qualified for this position. He is no stranger to the federal budget. In his 25-year career as a public servant, he has worked on fiscal forecasting, policy and expenditure portfolios for three key departments: the Department of Finance, the Privy Council Office and the Treasury Board. He also has experience in farm financial programs.

Like Stephen Harper, Kevin Page has a Masters in Economics, but unlike Stephen Harper, he has 25 years working as an economist. Harper has not worked in his profession for one single day. Before entering politics Jim Flaherty was a personal injuries lawyer. So who's dumb and dumber here?

Harper got it all wrong, budget watchdog says
Jul 07, 2009
Toronto Star
Les Whittington

OTTAWA – Canada could shed a total of 1.2 million jobs this year and next, the parliamentary budget watchdog predicts.

Suggesting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has vastly underestimated the impact of the economic recession, Kevin Page says the employment picture is much worse than the federal Conservatives predicted in the January budget.

Page also says the Harper government's claim that it will be able to stop running annual budget deficits in five years cannot be believed. He says that in 2013-14, instead of balancing its books, Ottawa will still run a $16.7 billion deficit, according to those who have seen the independent budget officer's latest findings.

The cumulative federal budget deficit over five years will hit $155.9 billion, Page forecasts. Based on recent government estimates, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's calculations call for a cumulative deficit of only about $100 billion over five years.

Page, appointed parliamentary budget officer last year, has consistently produced economic forecasts that have proven more accurate than those from Flaherty and private-sector economists.

The latest report has been provided to the House of Commons finance committee and will be made public later this week.

In it, Page says the medium-term outlook for employment is "significantly weaker" than predicted in Flaherty's Jan. 27 budget. Conservative MP Ted Menzies, Flaherty's parliamentary secretary, said the government has acknowledged that unemployment is going to get worse.

"Anyone can guess at what the unemployment numbers are going to be," he said.

Menzies (Macleod) also said that Page's deficit projection failed to take account of possible billions of dollars in savings on government programs or extra revenue from the sale of major Crown assets.
(The Harper government will be subsidizing buyers, and the buildings they already sold, we needed, so are now leasing them back. There will be little or no revenue.)

Page's report says unemployment, currently at 8.4 per cent, will average 8.7 per cent this year, compared with Flaherty's estimate of 7.5 per cent for 2009. Page sees the jobless rate going as high as 9.4 per cent in 2010.

Based on the government's forecast, Canada stands to lose 160,000 jobs in 2009. But Page says the worse-than-predicted employment picture means that actual total job losses in 2009 could go as high as 530,000.

For 2010, the government's forecast of 7.7 per cent unemployment suggests about 200,000 jobs could disappear. But Page says job losses next year could be as high as 700,000.

Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood) said Page's latest report proves the Conservatives are dreaming when they claim the government can quickly return to balanced books in a few years.

"This is a structural deficit, no ifs, ands or buts about it," McKay said.

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