National Newswatch

With this federal budget, the Liberals have let the middle class down, again

Mar 22 2017 — Stephen Gordon — The Liberals have worked hard to make the link between the welfare of middle-income Canadians and economic growth, and rightly so. Economic growth is a necessary – if not always sufficient – condition for sustained, broad-based improvements in living standards. The Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council of Economic Growth set itself an ambitious target in […]

Like it or not, Ottawa has to prepare for the impact of Trumpian economics

Nov 14 2016 — Stephen Gordon — Donald Trump has set economists – and particularly Canadian economists – a challenging puzzle. We’re pretty sure that the long-term effect of Trump’s anti-trade agenda will be to reduce global incomes, and Canada will be particularly hard-hit. But it’s unlikely that the effects will be instantaneous: the economy won’t immediately plunge to a lower level […]

Stephen Harper’s economic legacy

Aug 29 2016 — Stephen Gordon — There are a couple of ways of thinking about former prime minister Stephen Harper’s economic legacy. One is how his government responded to events beyond its control. Another is how his government — and when it came to economics, it very much was his government — altered the landscape for subsequent governments. More than anything […]

The carbon tax debate isn’t about the size of government

Aug 9 2016 — Stephen Gordon — I would like to thank Peter Foster for taking the time to comment on my last piece on the weaknesses in Conservative thinking about using carbon taxes to restrain greenhouse gas emissions. Many have interpreted Mr. Foster’s response as a rebuttal of my column, but as far as I can tell, his thesis is “Yes […]

Conservatives are dismantling their credibility in economics by campaigning against carbon pricing

Aug 1 2016 — Stephen Gordon — Henry Kissinger once noted that the exercise of political power consumes intellectual capital: time in office is spent making decisions, not absorbing new ideas. So in the normal course of things, this would be a time of reflection for Conservatives and conservatives (I’m going to use the two terms interchangeably here). The federal Conservatives and […]

On the Leap Manifesto: Bold action can mean big failures

Apr 25 2016 — Stephen Gordon — International co-operation is in the news: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is calling for co-ordinated fiscal stimulus for a sluggish global economy, and 174 countries have just signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. How does Canada fit into all this? Fiscal stimulus first. Even if we set aside the question about how much slack […]

How the Liberals could balance the budget, if they have the will

Mar 26 2016 — Stephen Gordon — The Government will set a timeline for balancing the budget when growth is forecast to remain on a sustainably higher track. That sentence on page 53 of the 2016 budget plan has been seen by many—including myself—as an admission that the new Liberal government didn’t really know how it was going to balance the budget, […]

How to evaluate the Liberals’ first budget

Mar 22 2016 — Stephen Gordon — How are we to evaluate the new Liberal government’s first budget? This question is both harder and easier than it looks. Harder, because policy analysis requires a counterfactual. In order to assess the effects of a new policy, it’s not enough to look at its effects; you have to compare those results with what we […]

The Tories have done so well on the economy that the other parties fear to change course

Oct 5 2015 — Stephen Gordon — The NDP and the Liberals have both released documents assigning numbers to the various commitments they have made during the campaign. To say that their promises have been “costed” is perhaps an excessively generous interpretation of these exercises, but the point is that these estimates have been made public. In contrast, the Conservatives have yet […]