Jason Clemens is the Fraser Institute’s Executive Vice-President. Mr. Clemens held a number of positions with the Fraser Institute between 1996 and 2008, including Director of Research Quality, Director of Budgeting and Strategic Planning, and Director of Fiscal Studies. He most recently worked with the Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) as Director of Research and held a similar position with the San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute for over three years. Mr. Clemens has an Honours Bachelors Degree of Commerce and a Masters’ Degree in Business Administration from the University of Windsor as well as a Post Baccalaureate Degree in Economics from Simon Fraser University. He has published over 70 major studies on a wide range of topics, including taxation, government spending, labor market regulation, banking, welfare reform, health care, productivity, and entrepreneurship. In 2011, he was awarded (along with his co-authors) the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award for the best-selling book The Canadian Century.
Health care reform is a central policy consideration for most industrialized countries both because of its cost to government and citizens and perhaps more importantly because it is a highly valued, personal service that citizens care deeply about.
Contrary to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, introducing a national sales tax, or value-added tax (VAT) creates a real opportunity for the United States. The nation could shift from its heavy reliance on income taxes (both absolute and comparative) to a consumption tax without affecting the budget deficit.
The key question for the new premier is: will he follow the lead of former Premier Don Getty--and raise taxes as both the premier and finance minister are hinting--or Ralph Klein, who controlled spending and reduced taxes? The answer will affect the fortunes of all Albertans.
By allowing households to move income from one spouse facing higher rates to the other spouse, income splitting is one way to help fix this distortion. Income splitting, however, does virtually nothing to improve economic incentives or Canada's competitiveness. Therein lies the missed opportunity.
Understanding Ontario's financial woes is critical to understanding the need for real change. The province has been in deficit since 2008-09, accumulating more than $61 billion in debt. In 2013-14, the deficit was $11.3 billion. The province's debt now stands at almost $270 billion; it was just $130 billion at the start of the 2000s.
Kevin O'Leary has created an entire persona around a sort of modern-day Gordon Gekko. O'Leary is fond of and famous for employing phrases like "it's all about the money," "people only care about money," and "money makes the world go round." To put it mildly, this is a superficial, even one-dimensional understanding of markets.
A sign of the seriousness of Ontario's debt problem is evidenced by comparisons with California, which for more than a decade has been the butt of jokes of comedians, political commentators, the media, and politicians themselves for its inability to solve its perennial financial problems. This dubious distinction ought to be a wake-up call for Ontario's policymakers and citizens alike.
The policy direction of the Liberal Party of Canada and its leader Justin Trudeau seem to indicate that the party is rejecting the successful pragmatism of the 1990s. Instead, the federal Liberals favour a more interventionist and activist government, much like that of the current Ontario Liberal government. If such policies are enacted, the results would be ruinous for Canada.
Yet there is one significant aspect of society where very little has changed over the last century: education. It is the one area where a worker, in this case a teacher, from 1913 could be transported to 2013 and adapt quite easily to the modern world.
The BC Liberals and particularly Premier Christy Clark deserve the praise they're receiving for their surprise electoral victory. After all, the Liberals reversed a double-digit deficit in the polls and ended up securing a majority government. This moment of jubilation for the Liberals and their supporters will be short-lived however, as the reality of governing in difficult times takes hold. The litmus test for the success of this government, which they themselves established, is the success of the economy and in particular, jobs.
There are 3.6-million public sector workers in Canada and 74.5 per cent of those are unionized. One of the most powerful and vocal unions in the country is the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Their opposition to a new Fraser Institute study is both misinformed and worse, based largely on fiery rhetoric and name-calling.
Our view, which we developed in a recent study entitled Tax Payers and Tax Takers, is that tax relief that results in larger and larger shares of the population being exempt from paying any meaningful taxes leads to more demand, not less, for government.
There is little doubt of the severity of the financial difficulties facing Alberta. In many ways it's the late 1980s all over again. Alberta has again squandered a period of pronounced prosperity and ended up with unsustainable deficits, the likelihood of mounting debt, and no savings.
B.C.'s proposed Prosperity Fund is meant to capitalize on the future opportunities from natural gas development. If done correctly, the fund could be a huge benefit to both current and future British Columbians. As with many things though, the devil is in the details. Thankfully there are lessons to be learned, and avoided, from our neighbours, Alberta and Alaska.
The reality is that raising taxes on upper-income earners comes at a large economic cost. It's true that polls consistently show majority support for increasing taxes on the wealthy. But so what? Populism is hardly a sufficient yardstick for good policy.