Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two things ...

There are two things Harper isn't: an economist nor a statesman.

Be clear on one thing. Everything Harper is doing now, on any file to which he actually pays attention, is for a single purpose - to retain power at all costs. And he will pursue any cynical course to make that happen, including the destruction of the Canadian middle-income sector.

Harper has mismanaged the economy to the point of ruination. With Canadians reeling at rising unemployment levels and shrinking wages, Harper touts himself as the only true financial manager on offer. Worse, there are media types who actually swallow that and regurgitate as though it is somehow true ... because Harper's spin machine said so.

Yet, by any metric, Harper's performance on the economy has been a dismal failure. With paltry job growth and a December 2013 loss of 60,000 jobs, Harper's claims become evidence of self-delusion.

The Canadian dollar is being intentionally weakened, not because it benefits the country as a whole, but again, it serves Harper's purposes. And, yes, they're lying about it.

Harper will stomp the economy to the ground if it means he can produce a 2015 budget that appears "balanced" or better yet, has an imaginary surplus. To achieve this goal he will ignore the economic wisdom of the better-educated and wildly more experienced and follow a course which has crushed much more robust economies than Canada's.
For years, the government’s strategy has been to cut the deficit it created and hope that exports and investment would fill in the gap. This hasn’t worked.

Despite this, Mr. Flaherty’s still believes the answer to insufficient aggregate demand is to eliminate the deficit by 2015-16. Even the International Monetary Fund thinks he’s wrong. It has recommended that, in the absence of a strong recovery in growth and job creation, the date of deficit elimination could be delayed.
Which economies have succumbed to amateur processes followed by the Harper/Flaherty lot? Owen has the answer to that.

As for Harper's statesmanship, aside from the groin rub he shared with Benjamin Netanyahu, there will be no awards arriving on his desk. Harper gushed all over Netanyahu in an embarrassingly unprofessional and unstatesmanlike manner. It became clear to everyone watching, in Canada and around the world, that Harper had stepped into something personal and was not speaking for Canadians. He was speaking purely for himself and the entourage of select right-wing religious freaks that you paid to go with him.

Why would he do that? Again, an attempt to retain power. Whether Harper is a true believer or not, his performance was intended for his right-wing religious base. It's right out of the Karl Rove playbook.
The Harper entourage was the largest such travelling road show that anyone can remember. The group nicely reflects core elements of the coalition that Harper has built with the intention of placing him in power and keeping him there. Key to the religious wing of that coalition is a collection of socially conservative evangelicals, Jews and conservative Catholics. Mainline Protestants and progressive Catholics need not apply and they were not represented on the junket.
Harper will blather on about this trip for months, as he blathers on about the economy. In the end he hopes that, on election day, you stay home, (or go to a non-existent voting place), while his energized Christian Zionist, Rapture seeking base swamps the polls.

On the economy he'll continue to paint a false picture of astute economic wisdom by presenting a "balanced" budget in 2015. (Whether it actually balanced or Flaherty had to diddle with the finance projections the way he did in Ontario). With that, the mysterious "risk" the Canada Revenue Agency says exists awaiting the decision of the prime minister in summer 2015 will become obvious: Harper will attempt to buy your vote with the offer of "income splitting".


Ravyn Darq said...

In a way, I hope you're right. As long as he believes he can hold on to power, I think he will stay within reasonable limits so as to appeal to the soft centrists.
But I have a feeling, if he thinks it's a lost cause, he will do what any petulant bully does; kick it all over and stomp on the pieces. He can do a lot of damage with his current majority before the next election.
The next government would be years trying to effect repairs.

Dave said...

I think Harper is doing two things. 1. He's trying to muster his religious base to stave off any attempt to depose him within his own party. Notice he took Kenney with him to prevent any coup plans from forming in his absence.

2. He'll present a balanced budget at all costs, (and that is likely to be more than a little damaging). The pursuit of it so far has created widespread unemployment and significant wage shrinkage.

No. 2 gives him the room he needs to con everyone with what will appear on the surface to be a juicy tax break - income splitting. That is what his shallow-thinking base bites at and he knows it. They won't heed any warning that income splitting, as good as it looks, does not benefit as many people as they will be told it does.

Dave said...

And yes, Rayvn, I agree. If Harper sees himself losing he'll go with a scorched earth agenda.

Steve said...

very well said, and I hope the rest of Canada gets this message.

Steve said...

as far as balancing the budget keep your eye on asset sales. An old Flaraty specialty leprechaun pot of gold.

That is if you uncover them.