Economy

But what about 2011?

Feb 12, 2009
Okay, I can understand why the Premier thinks the Olympics will be fun — even inspiring.  And I accept the pitch from his boosters at the Vancouver Sun that we should make the Games the best they can be. But the public policy issue isn’t whether the Games will be fun or inspiring. The issue… View Article

About that unemployment rate

Feb 6, 2009
A couple days ago I was musing about big job losses on the horizon. Today, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that total employment has only dropped by 1.7% between Jan 2008 and Jan 2009. The bad news is that total unemployment surged by 50% over the same period. OK,… View Article

Love Those Deficits

As noted by Vaughn Palmer in the Vancouver Sun, it seems that all the political parties will benefit from Premier Campbell’s recent conversion to deficit budgets. While deficits are the obvious outcome of a rapidly decreasing economy, little is mentioned about the long-term effects that successive waves of tax reductions will have on building BC’s… View Article

No full-time kindergarten this year

Feb 4, 2009
Kindergarten expansion in BC has officially been postponed to the indefinite future, reports Janet Steffenhagen on the Vancouver Sun’s education blog Report Card today, referring to an article in the Nanaimo Daily News as her source. The announcement itself is hardly surprising in light of the gloomy fiscal update delivered by the Premier earlier this… View Article

Climate policy: contradiction #2

Speaking of BC climate policy contradictions that desperately need to be addressed (like I was doing here), wrap your head around this: our current policy framework is supposed to simultaneously reduce consumers’ dependence on fossil fuels and increase our dependence on fossil fuel production in the province. What? It’s true. It works like this. If… View Article

This is gonna hurt

Housing has been one of the major drivers of the BC economy in recent years. Low interest rates led to rising home prices and a psychology of “must get in before being locked out forever”; leading a housing bubble that had everyone in town swapping jaw dropping stories of bidding wars and outrageous prices paid…. View Article

Poverty reduction plan: can we afford it?

Jan 26, 2009
Perhaps the more appropriate question is: can we afford not to have one? Public policy is always about choices, and there is no excuse for poverty in a society as wealthy as ours. Consider this: the total cost of getting everyone in British Columbia currently below the poverty line (the after-tax Low Income Cut Off)… View Article

Breaking free of the “balanced budget” chains

Jan 25, 2009
As the next provincial budget is prepared (and election platforms are written), a core reality is this: we face huge economic uncertainty, which makes forecasting very difficult. With each passing month, economists are downgrading their GDP growth forecasts, and GDP growth (or decline) is what drives provincial revenues. In the face of this uncertainty, we… View Article

Fiscal tipping points

Budget making is an art. An underlying reality of BC budgeting is that it takes very little to tip provincial finances from surplus to deficit and back again, mainly due to factors outside the province’s control. Recall, for example, that during the Liberal’s first mandate, they inherited a surplus, then brought down two of the… View Article