Conservative Job and Expenditure Cuts a Risky Approach to Recovery

Canada’s strong employment performance contrasts sharply with that of the United States (the government argues in its budget) Indeed our economy was less severely damaged than the American economy during and immediately after the crash.

Chart 2.9

Total EmploymentTotal Employment
Unemployment RateUnemployment Rate
 Source: Budget 2012

Real GDP growth was modest but resilient through 2011 (Again a direct quote from the Budget)

Chart 2.11Real GDP GrowthReal GDP Growth

Source: Statistics Canada.
 Source Budget 2012
The above charts on unemployment and economic growth are taken from the Government’s budget documents and they are used to justify the policy thrust in the budget that although there are some weaknesses in the economic recovery, the recovery is proceeding and it is safe to introduce modest cuts in expenditure and eliminate civil service positions as part of an austerity exercise. But is this really the case or this a risky decision that might well turn out to be an error? The European economy is re-entering a recession because of the excessive austerity that has been imposed by conservative governments throughout the region and the hidebound monetarism of the European Central bank. China appears to be slowing down somewhat and although things have been improving in the U.S., their unemployment rate remains elevated. Growth in Canada has been positive but it is now slowing. This budget cannot help but slow progress somewhat. Federal cuts and job losses will be reinforced by cuts in Provincial and local government budgets. Fortunately the immediate cuts are not massive but the climate of austerity that will grip the capital will not be helpful in  promoting growth.  The consensus forecasts of private sector economists projects modest growth at best.

About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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1 Response to Conservative Job and Expenditure Cuts a Risky Approach to Recovery

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