Sound Economics

It’s always been my understanding that one of the big draws to the Conservatives is their supposed sound economic policies. Over the last few evenings I’ve tried to find some balanced, non-partisan overview on the Harper government’s economic performance. Overwhelmingly the information I’ve found has shown these economic policies are about as sound as a canvas covered canoe, minus the canvas.

This conservative Harvard economist thinks Harper’s energy tax policy is the opposite of correct.
Bad GST cut? Did the GST cut decrease your product pricing? There are too many examples of disagreement with the GST cut as being good economic policy, I’ll sum it up with this excerpt from a Maclean’s article:

It is, though, a move that annoys most experts on tax strategy, who tend to see value-added taxes on consumption like the GST as a much better way to fund government than taxing personal or corporate earnings. “It’s bad tax policy, bad economic policy,” said James Milway, executive director of the Toronto-based Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity.

I’ve also heard quite a bit recently about Canada’s drop in productivity.progressive-economics has an article on it, I suppose there are many other sources.
Added to the above is the deficit the Conservatives have racked up in the last 4 months. I’m not sure that is sound policy?

The one thing that Harper is good at is choosing policies that are extremely popular. If it’s simple and immediately pleasing to Canadians, then Harper will put it in his mandate. That is his economic plan. The GST cut, pretty much panned by all economists, was very popular with the voters and helped his party win a minority government. More recently the Conservatives are dishing out money leading up to the election, even though Harper insists “this is not money being thrown around on the eve of an election.”
Aside from economics, the Conservatives thrive on popular issues in all sorts of areas. Their “tough on crime” policy resonates with voters but a lot of it is doomed to failure. The USA is a prime example of how “tough on crime” doesn’t work. The Greens put it more succinctly than I.

Back to economics, the most frustrating thing about the Conservatives is that they don’t even come close to the very good record of the Liberals. As Chantal H├ębert points out, despite what we think of Paul Martin the Prime Minister, there is a lot of good things to be said of Paul Martin the Finance Minister.

If you’re looking for some different viewpoints on the above issues, it’s not so easy finding them. For example, do a google search for Conservatives “tough on crime” and your first and second hits are pretty typical of what is being written on the web.

If you have any thoughts, idea, or links that are contrary to the above I’d like to hear from you….