Sunday, December 21, 2008

99 Out of 100 Economists Agree: Boost E.I.

Stephen Harper is now officially the only "economist" in Canada who doesn't think that strengthening and enhancing E.I. and other social benefits is a vital component of economic stimulus.

A report was released last week from the Canada West Foundation, a Calgary-based think-tank, which surveyed 25 economists from the four western provinces to get their suggestions for what the federal government should be doing right now. Among the recommendations:

There was also a consensus that the feds should quickly inject money into the hands of consumers and businesses by strengthening Employment Insurance and other programs designed to act as a safety net during difficult times. The unemployed, pensioners, students and others more likely to spend than to save should be on the top of the list. Federal support for provincial social programs should also be increased as a short-term measure. "Getting more funds into the hands of individuals who most need support and will quickly spend the money should take priority over cutting personal or business taxes," said Jonathan Kesselman of Simon Fraser University.

Kesselman, BTW, is a Research Fellow with the C.D. Howe Institute, so he's not exactly some left wing radical.

The only explanation I can come up with for Harper's bizarre and illogical stance on this issue is that he sees "the economy" as some sort of abstract thing - a delicate and complex machine built entirely out of stocks and corporate profit margins and cash. Human beings on the other hand, seem to be considered a nuisance - necessary evils who function primarily as labour units in the machine, but also tend to act as a drain on precious profits and so must be kept as close to the edge as possible without requiring them to rely on government assistance.

Apparently this approach is not only inhuman, it's not even good economics. Go figure.


  1. Isn't Harper an economist by trade? If he is, then I'm guessing that he is the one percent.

  2. That announcement from an outfit he usually counts as an ally threw me. Not that it isn't an intelligent comment, but it did throw me considering the source.

  3. I don't believe Harper was ever a working economist. How can anyonetake is word when he opens his yap. He's a compulsive liar. He wouldn't know the truth even if he got hit in the head with a dead chicken. He certinly was not one of the 100 top ecomomists That's for sure. Happy 2009 Jennifer