The major challenge for the federal government in the budget was to maintain its commitment to progressive social and economic policies in the face of criticism from the right for its supposedly profligate fiscal policies and unwise promises to make the tax system more progressive. The government was also urged to trim its sails in the face of pending tax cuts in the United States.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Touchstones for a Progressive Federal Budget in the Age of Trump in Blog 2017-03-09 09:42:19 -0500
The major challenge for the federal government in the budget expected this month is to maintain its commitment to progressive social and economic policies in the context of a major shift to the political right in the United States.Read more
Every year, just before Christmas, the Fraser Institute publish a “Generosity Index” which compares charitable giving in Canada and the United States. The widely-publicized message in 2016 was that Canadians are relative tightwads, with just 21.3% of us making tax deductible charitable donations in 2014 compared to 23.5% of Americans, and total donations amounting to just 0.6% of Canadian family incomes compared to 1.2% in the United StatesRead more
The election of President Trump and the potential imposition of border taxes and other protectionist measures is clearly of great concern to Canadian exporters, the workers they employ and the communities they support. This underlines just how much NAFTA and the wider liberalization of trade with rising economic powers such as China have shaped our economy and made us highly vulnerable to forces outside our control.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Big cities much more unequal than Canada as a whole in Blog 2017-01-10 10:38:51 -0500
It is no secret that big, global cities like London and New York are highly unequal and display harsh extremes of wealth and poverty. This is increasingly true of Canada's largest cities, as shown by recently released Statistics Canada data on the geographical distribution of high income earners.Read more
Andrew Jackson published The digital economy will not power a recovery in Blog 2016-12-01 09:00:06 -0500
Economists and pundits are at odds over medium term prospects for the global economy. Pessimists see stagnant growth, rising inequality and growing unemployment and underemployment, widely held to be responsible for the rise of right-wing populists such as US President elect Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, techno optimists such as Erik Bryjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, the authors of The Second Machine Age, argue that the digital economy will drive rapid productivity growth and underpin the gradual emergence of a post scarcity economy capable of providing prosperity for all.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Private Infrastructure Bank Not in the Public Interest in Blog 2016-10-29 08:00:03 -0400
The Advisory Council on Economic Growth chaired by Domenic Barton has proposed to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau the creation of an independent Canadian Infrastructure Development Bank (CIDB) to help finance $200 billion of public infrastructure projects over the next decade. There is an argument for improved financing tools, but no case for such a lever for massive and costly privatization.
The report of the Council reiterates the consensus view that investment in public infrastructure such as roads, mass transit, railways, ports, water and waste water treatment, clean energy and power grids has been too low, and that a major increase could drive immediate job creation while also boosting longer term economic growth.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Rising right-wing populism and the failure of global economic governance in Blog 2016-09-17 09:00:05 -0400
With the global economy mired in slow growth and right-wing, nationalist populism in the ascendant in many of the advanced industrial countries, one might have hoped that the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China would have come up with a real plan to promote a sustainable, shared recovery.
If so, one would be very disappointed since the final communique consisted mainly of empty rhetoric and evaded the key issues of competitive fiscal austerity and increasing income inequality.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Federal tax review should promote fairness and needed fiscal capacity in Blog 2016-08-16 11:16:08 -0400
Progressive tax reform to promote both greater distributional fairness and increased fiscal capacity to fund social programs and public services should be squarely on the agenda for the 2017 federal budget. Indeed, with faltering growth, the federal Liberals will be hard-pressed to meet their commitments to new investments,while still ensuring a promised decline in the federal debt to GDP ratio, if they do not significantly increase revenues.Read more
Good jobs are a central mechanism in the creation of shared prosperity.
What matters for workers is not just being able to find any job but also security of employment, level of pay, working conditions, and the opportunity to develop talents and capacities.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Brexit vote underlines need for a reformed globalization model in Blog 2016-06-30 12:00:03 -0400
The narrow victory of the leave side in the Brexit referendum demands a profound rethinking of the liberal globalization agenda.
At one, highly disturbing level, the majority for leave was a clear victory for the nativist, often overtly racist, populist right, and a clear defeat for the economic and political elites who overwhelmingly backed the remain side. As widely noted, this underlines the lack of broad popular support for deep economic and political integration which seems to be increasingly pervasive in both Europe and the United States.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Yet another unjustified attack on worker rights in Blog 2016-05-17 12:02:41 -0400
The newly elected Progressive Conservative government in Manitoba has moved quickly to cement its anti-worker bona fides with the radical right-wing by making it more difficult for non-union workers to join a union, and by opening up bidding on large scale public construction projects to non-union companies. Changes in these areas were announced in the Pallister government’s Speech from the Throne on May 16.
Under the current system in Manitoba, a union can be automatically certified by the Labour Board if 65% of the workers in a proposed bargaining unit indicate their support by signing membership cards. As in other jurisdictions with a “card check” system, signed membership cards are subject to independent scrutiny.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Energy Transition Can Drive Global Jobs Recovery in Blog 2016-05-14 08:00:02 -0400
It is now often said, with reason, that the environment and the economy are not in conflict. But it is even more true to say that seriously addressing the crisis of global climate change could revive a moribund global economy.
The World Economic Outlook (WEO) released by the International Monetary Fund in April of this year once again forecast very slow growth, and argued that economic stagnation is likely to be self-sustaining. This is due to very low levels of business investment, combined with high levels of household and public debt which constrain household and government spending.Read more
Andrew Jackson published PBO sheds new light on federal budget with transparency push in Blog 2016-04-30 08:00:05 -0400
The Liberal election platform promised to “make the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) truly independent” of the government and to make sure that the office is properly funded. The platform also promised to make government accounting “consistent and clear.”
It was, then, a bit surprising that the PBO had to make a formal request for information normally provided in the federal budge, and was forced to provide its own estimates for the missing numbers in its report to Parliament on April 6. The Department of Finance finally released the requested information only on April 8, more than two weeks after the budget was delivered in the House of Commons (on March 22nd.)Read more
Andrew Jackson published Why we need a practical approach in the basic-income debate in Blog 2016-03-19 08:00:02 -0400
The idea of a basic income guarantee for all Canadians has again moved to the front burner with the House of Commons Finance Committee and the Ontario government supporting further study and experimentation. This could be an important step forward, but incremental reform towards an income tested guarantee for working age Canadians delivered through the tax system will be the best path forward as opposed to more visionary “big bang” solutions.
The concept of a basic income has won support from both the political right and left. For the former, it promises to simplify complex income security programs and to replace most if not all welfare state programs with a single cash payment which would allow individuals to meet their needs in the market. For the latter, it is a means to free people from dependence upon the job market, a tool for social solidarity amidst a rapidly changing world of work, and a means to abolish poverty.Read more
Andrew Jackson endorsed 2016-03-17 15:48:06 -0400
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Andrew Jackson published The case for fiscal policy to spur growth in Blog 2016-02-20 08:00:08 -0500
Developments in the Canadian economy have forced an important re-thinking of the respective roles of monetary and fiscal policy in supporting stable growth and job creation. But mainstream thinking about monetary policy has evolved much further than that on fiscal policy.
Before the great recession of 2008, fiscal policy had fallen greatly out of favour as a tool for macro economic stabilization. The conventional wisdom was that central banks could adjust short term interest rates to keep the economy growing more less at potential with low inflation, and indeed there was no recession from the early 1990s until the financial crisis of 2008.Read more
Andrew Jackson published Apocalypse Now? Declining dollar, ultralow oil prices and Canada's path forward in Blog 2016-01-23 08:00:04 -0500
With a plunging Canadian dollar, collapsing oil prices, slumping stock markets and signs that the economy stalled in the last quarter of 2015, it is easy to think that we are on the cusp of economic disaster. But the state of the Canadian economy, while indeed dismal, does not justify alarmist pronouncements that threaten to make things even worse by undermining consumer and business confidence.
The new Liberal government is on track to seriously address the growing problem of poverty in old age. But their election promises need some critical reconsideration.Read more
Andrew Jackson published So-called “middle class” tax cut leaves out most Canadians in Blog 2015-11-14 08:00:08 -0500
The so-called “middle class” tax cut promised by the newly elected Liberal government in the name of promoting greater fairness seems set to be quickly implemented for the 2016 tax year. Yet the distributional and revenue consequences of this measure are often misunderstood, and the proposed change merits reconsideration.
Currently there are four federal tax brackets: 15% on taxable incomes of less than $44,701; 22% on further income up to $89,401; 26% on further income up to $138,586; and 29% on income above that amount.Read more
Andrew Jackson is the Broadbent Institute's Senior Policy Advisor.
In September, 2012 he retired from a long career as Chief Economist and Director of Social and Economic Policy with the Canadian Labour Congress.
In 2011, he was awarded the Sefton Prize by the University of Toronto for his lifetime contributions to industrial relations. Educated at the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he earned a B. Sc. and an M.Sc. in Economics, Andrew is the author of numerous articles and five books, including Work and Labour in Canada: Critical Issues, which is now in its second edition with Canadian Scholars Press.