The 21st century resembles the 19th century -- not in the size of government but in the obvious tussles between special interests and the general interest.
Ever wonder how Canada's net federal debt reached $671 billion by 2013? Or how net provincial debt among the provinces ended up at $509 billion that same year? Wonder no more.
The government's "Venture Capital Action Plan" ignores Canadian evidence that shows government-sponsored venture capital is ineffective. More fundamentally though, it represents a further blurring of the lines between pro-market and pro-business government policy.
Bombardier is a fine Canadian-based company and one hopes it prospers in the years ahead and employs even more people -- but without taxpayer assistance. Governments should not pick winners and losers with taxpayer money or prop up industries with funds from other sectors, companies and individuals.
Recently, I asked Industry Canada for information on disbursements to businesses since the early 1960s. The result of that request revealed the hollowness of one claim often advanced in support of subsidies to business: that "acorns" will grow to "oak trees." Instead, what is evident from the data is that many "oak trees" never stop asking for handouts.
If there was a theme in the recent federal budget, it was how chock full it was with new corporate welfare. The underlying refrain was how big government will help big business with your tax dollars....
For those who might have missed what's happening in the city where Wayne Gretzky first made his mark in professional hockey, another round of taxpayer subsidies might soon be delivered to for-profit p...
With the recent first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, consider one beef from protesters that was legitimate: crony capitalism. But insofar as any protester was annoyed with politicians who like to subsidize specific businesses -- corporate welfare in other words -- why do the media so rarely report on it?
Corporate welfare is a losing proposition. Peer-reviewed research on business subsidies does not support (political and recipient) claims that corporate welfare is responsible for economic growth or job creation, two of the most oft-heard claims. At best, a generous interpretation of the literature suggests that subsidies may, in very specific locations, produce some effect on local economic behaviour.