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NDP leader Jack Layton wants consumers to pay higher prices for lower quality goods

NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton
NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton

Jack Layton is opposed to free trade with other nations, and Jack Layton supports the imposition of tariffs on imported goods. Stephen Harper favors free trade and opposes tariffs, and has pushed through numerous free trade deals during his terms in office. So now we have to ask the questions: is free trade good for Canada? Is free trade good for Canadian consumers? Is free trade good for Canadian companies? Is free trade good for the poor in other countries?

Let’s start by noting that free trade is supported by virtually ALL economists, regardless of their political persuasion. Moderate economist Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University lists the policies that are accepted by virtually all economists.

Here’s Greg’s list, together with the percentage of economists who agree:

  1. A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. (93%)
  2. Tariffs and import quotas usually reduce general economic welfare. (93%)
  3. Flexible and floating exchange rates offer an effective international monetary arrangement. (90%)
  4. Fiscal policy (e.g., tax cut and/or government expenditure increase) has a significant stimulative impact on a less than fully employed economy. (90%)
  5. The United States should not restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries. (90%)
  6. The United States should eliminate agricultural subsidies. (85%)
  7. Local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to professional sports franchises. (85%)
  8. If the federal budget is to be balanced, it should be done over the business cycle rather than yearly. (85%)
  9. The gap between Social Security funds and expenditures will become unsustainably large within the next fifty years if current policies remain unchanged. (85%)
  10. Cash payments increase the welfare of recipients to a greater degree than do transfers-in-kind of equal cash value. (84%)
  11. A large federal budget deficit has an adverse effect on the economy. (83%)
  12. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%)
  13. The government should restructure the welfare system along the lines of a “negative income tax.” (79%)
  14. Effluent taxes and marketable pollution permits represent a better approach to pollution control than imposition of pollution ceilings. (78%)

Now let’s drill down to the research on free trade in particular.

Here’s an article from the  libertarian Cato Institute, a respected think tank.

Excerpt:

There are three important reasons voluntary exchange is good not only for the contracting parties but the world as a whole:

(1) Trade improves global efficiency in resource allocation. A glass of water may be of little value to someone living near the river but is priceless to a person crossing the Sahara. Trade delivers goods and services to those who value them most.

(2) Trade allows partners to gain from specializing in the producing those goods and services they do best. Economists call that the law of comparative advantage. When producers create goods they are comparatively skilled at, such as Germans producing beer and the French producing wine, those goods increase in abundance and quality.

(3) Trade allows consumers to benefit from more efficient production methods. For example, without large markets for goods and services, large production runs would not be economical. Large production runs, in turn, are instrumental to reducing product costs. Lower production costs lead to cheaper goods and services, which raises real living standards.

Evidence supports the idea nations more open to trade tend to be richer than those that are less open. Columbia University economist Arvind Panagariya wrote in a paper “Miracles and Debacles: Do Free-Trade Skeptics Have a Case?”: “On the poverty front, there is overwhelming evidence that trade openness is a more trustworthy friend of the poor than protectionism. Few countries have grown rapidly without a simultaneous rapid expansion of trade. In turn, rapid growth has almost always led to reduction in poverty.”

According to the Cato Institute’s 2004 report on Economic Freedom of the World, which measures economic freedom in 123 countries, the per capita gross domestic product in the quintile of countries with the most restricted trading was only $1,883 in 2002. That year’s per capita GDP in the quintile of countries with the freest trading regimes was $23,938.

Harper holds the B.A. and the M.A. in economics from the University of Calgary. He knows this stuff cold.

Here’s an article from The Heritage Foundation, another think tank. This article outlines five reasons why free trade is the best economic policy.

Here is an excerpt from one reason from the list of five:

REASON #1: Higher Standard of Living

The most compelling reason to support free trade is that society as a whole benefits from it. Free trade improves people’s living standards because it allows them to consume higher quality goods at less expensive prices. In the 19th century, British economist David Ricardo showed that any nation that focuses on producing goods in which it has a comparative advantage will be able to get cheaper and better goods from other countries in return. As a result of the exchange, both trading parties gain from producing more efficiently and consuming higher quality goods and services at lower prices.

Trade between nations is the same as trade between people. Consider what the quality of life would be if each person had to produce absolutely everything that he or she consumed, such as food, clothing, cars, or home repairs. Compare that picture with life as it is now as individuals dedicate themselves to working on just one thing–for example, insurance sales–to earn a salary with which they can freely purchase food, a car, a home, clothing, and anything else they wish at higher quality and lower prices than if they had done it themselves.

It simply makes sense for each person to work at what he or she does best and to buy the rest. As a nation, the United States exports in order to purchase imports that other nations produce more skillfully and cheaply. Therefore, the fewer barriers erected against trade with other nations, the more access people will have to the best, least expensive goods and services in the world “supermarket.”

Producers benefit as well. In the absence of trade barriers, producers face greater competition from foreign producers, and this increased competition gives them an incentive to improve the quality of their production while keeping prices low in order to compete. At the same time, free trade allows domestic producers to shop around the world for the least expensive inputs they can use for their production, which in turn allows them to keep their cost of production down without sacrificing quality.

In the end, the results benefit both producers–who remain competitive and profitable–and consumers–who pay less for a good or a service than they would if trade barriers existed.

There is no loser to free trade exchanges, otherwise the participants to the trade would not make the trade at all. Both parties gain – that’s why they choose to make the trade.

NDP candidates are not economists

NDP candidates are not known for their demonstrated knowledge and experience in economics, unlike Stephen Harper.

Excerpt:

Usually an election call means all bets are off for politicos wanting to take a Vegas vacation.

But, if you’re a New Democrat, you can be in Sin City with just days to go in the federal election campaign.

That’s where the party’s long shot candidate for the Quebec riding of Berthier-Maskinonge, Ruth Ellen Brosseau, finds herself.

Ruth works in the campus pub at Carleton University. She is not an economist.

But there’s more:

Some NDP candidates in Quebec could prove to be wild cards if they end up winning on May 2.

Several are still university students.

Charmaine Borg in Terrebonne-Blainville and Sherbrooke candidate Pierre-Luc Dusseault are both studying political science.

Actress and former camp counsellor Marie-Claude Morin in Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot is working on a degree in social work.

Others have off-beat political backgrounds.

Alexandre Boulerice, the NDP candidate in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, is a member of the left-wing separatist party Quebec Solidaire.

In the Pontiac riding, the New Democrats have nominated Mathieu Ravignat. He was a Communist Party candidate in the Montreal area in 1997.

You can watch a video report on some of the NDP candidates here at Blazing Cat Fur.

How did former NDP leader Bob Rae govern in Ontario?

If you want to know what New Democrats do to an economy, you can read about how NDP leader Bob Rae wrecked the Ontario economy in the 1990s.

Excerpt:

The Liberal government had forecast a small surplus earlier in the year, but a worsening North American economy led to a $700 million deficit before Rae took office. In October, the NDP projected a $2.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 1991.[40] Some economists projected soaring deficits for the upcoming years, even if the Rae government implemented austerity measures.[41] Rae himself was critical of the Bank of Canada’s high interest rate policy, arguing that it would lead to increased unemployment throughout the country.[42] He also criticized the 1991 federal budget, arguing the Finance Minister Michael Wilson was shifting the federal debt to the provinces.[43]

The Rae government’s first budget, introduced in 1991, increased social spending to mitigate the economic slowdown and projected a record deficit of $9.1 billion. Finance Minister Floyd Laughren argued that Ontario made a decision to target the effects of the recession rather than the deficit, and said that the budget would create or protect 70,000 jobs. It targeted more money to social assistance, social housing and child benefits, and raised taxes for high-income earners while lowering rates for 700,000 low-income Ontarians.[44]

A few years later, journalist Thomas Walkom described the budget as following a Keynesian orthodoxy, spending money in the public sector to stimulate employment and productivity. Unfortunately, it did not achieve its stated purpose. The recession was still severe. Walkom described the budget as “the worst of both worlds”, angering the business community but not doing enough to provide for public relief.

[…]Rae’s government attempted to introduce a variety of socially progressive measures during its time in office, though its success in this field was mixed. In 1994, the government introduced legislation, Bill 167, which would have provided for same-sex partnership benefits in the province. At the time, this legislation was seen as a revolutionary step forward for same-sex recognition.

[…]The Rae government established an employment equity commission in 1991,[49] and two years later introduced affirmative action to improve the numbers of women, non-whites, aboriginals and disabled persons working in the public sector.

[…]In November 1990, the Rae government announced that it would restrict most rent increases to 4.6% for the present year and 5.4% for 1991. The provisions for 1990 were made retroactive. Tenants’ groups supported these changes, while landlord representatives were generally opposed.

Be careful who you vote for, Canada. We voted for Obama, and now we have a 14.5 trillion dollar debt and a 1.65 trillion deficit – TEN TIMES the last Republican budget deficit of 160 billion under George W. Bush in 2007. TEN TIMES WORSE THAN BUSH.

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Conservative Stephen Harper will cut taxes for families

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper announces his tax cut plan for families.

Excerpt:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that a re-elected Conservative Government will continue to implement low-tax measures to improve the quality of life of Canadian families.

“The Conservative Party believes in low taxes for Canadian families, because we know household budgets are tight,” said Mr. Harper. “A re-elected Conservative Government will continue to keep taxes down for families so they can keep more of their hard-earned money to spend on what matters to them.”

Budget 2011, the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, included concrete measures to keep taxes down for Canadian families. These include a new Family Caregiver Tax Credit to help around 500,000 families with the cost of caring for an infirm child or an aging parent, and the elimination of the $10,000 cap on the Medical Expense Tax Credit for any expenses incurred in caring for a financially-dependent relative. Our 2011 Budget — opposed by the Ignatieff Liberals and their Coalition partners, the NDP and Bloc Québécois — would also create a new $500 Children’s Arts Tax Credit to help parents cover the cost of putting their children in artistic, cultural, recreational and developmental activities.

“It is important for a Conservative Government to make Canadian families one of our key priorities,” said Mr. Harper. “That is why we will introduce measures to help caregivers, people who make sacrifices for their families, with concrete, affordable measures.”

Prime Minister Harper also reiterated his commitment to double to $1,000 the amount of the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and to introduce the Family Tax Cut, income-sharing for families with children under the age of 18 years old, once the Government eliminates the deficit in 2014.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government cut taxes for Canadian families by more than $3,000 on average.

Prime Minister Harper observed that the Coalition of the Ignatieff Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois has the wrong priorities with their plan to raise taxes on Canadian families and ignore the choices that families make. “The choice is clear,” Mr. Harper said. “Canadians can choose between our low-tax plan for families and their high-tax agenda that will set you and your family back.”

Stephen Harper would also pass a bill to get tough on crime and criminals, in order to protect law-abiding Canadian families.

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NDP leader Jack Layton gets medical care at private clinic instead of public hospital

NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton
NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton

From CTV News:

NDP Leader Jack Layton, who’s campaigning as the defender of public health care, had surgery at a private clinic in the 1990s, The Canadian Press has learned.

Layton had hernia surgery at the Shouldice Hospital, a private facility in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill, while he was serving as a Toronto city councillor. The NDP leader said he wasn’t aware the clinic was private when he went for his surgery in the mid-1990s.

CBC News has more on Layton’s reasons for jumping the queue:

Earlier in the campaign, Layton said he would not go to a private clinic nor would he send a loved one to a private clinic, even if he could get faster treatment.

He would have had a longer wait at a public hospital, and he didn’t want to wait in line behind ordinary people.

How did former NDP leader Bob Rae govern in Ontario?

If you want to know what New Democrats do to an economy, you can read about how NDP leader Bob Rae wrecked the Ontario economy in the 1990s.

Excerpt:

The Liberal government had forecast a small surplus earlier in the year, but a worsening North American economy led to a $700 million deficit before Rae took office. In October, the NDP projected a $2.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 1991.[40] Some economists projected soaring deficits for the upcoming years, even if the Rae government implemented austerity measures.[41] Rae himself was critical of the Bank of Canada’s high interest rate policy, arguing that it would lead to increased unemployment throughout the country.[42] He also criticized the 1991 federal budget, arguing the Finance Minister Michael Wilson was shifting the federal debt to the provinces.[43]

The Rae government’s first budget, introduced in 1991, increased social spending to mitigate the economic slowdown and projected a record deficit of $9.1 billion. Finance Minister Floyd Laughren argued that Ontario made a decision to target the effects of the recession rather than the deficit, and said that the budget would create or protect 70,000 jobs. It targeted more money to social assistance, social housing and child benefits, and raised taxes for high-income earners while lowering rates for 700,000 low-income Ontarians.[44]

A few years later, journalist Thomas Walkom described the budget as following a Keynesian orthodoxy, spending money in the public sector to stimulate employment and productivity. Unfortunately, it did not achieve its stated purpose. The recession was still severe. Walkom described the budget as “the worst of both worlds”, angering the business community but not doing enough to provide for public relief.

[…]Rae’s government attempted to introduce a variety of socially progressive measures during its time in office, though its success in this field was mixed. In 1994, the government introduced legislation, Bill 167, which would have provided for same-sex partnership benefits in the province. At the time, this legislation was seen as a revolutionary step forward for same-sex recognition.

[…]The Rae government established an employment equity commission in 1991,[49] and two years later introduced affirmative action to improve the numbers of women, non-whites, aboriginals and disabled persons working in the public sector.

[…]In November 1990, the Rae government announced that it would restrict most rent increases to 4.6% for the present year and 5.4% for 1991. The provisions for 1990 were made retroactive. Tenants’ groups supported these changes, while landlord representatives were generally opposed.

Be careful who you vote for, Canada. We voted for Obama, and now we have a 14.5 trillion dollar debt and a 1.65 trillion deficit – TEN TIMES the last Republican budget deficit of 160 billion under George W. Bush in 2007. TEN TIMES WORSE THAN BUSH.

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NDP leader Jack Layton promises to promote greater access to abortion

NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton
NDP leaders Bob Rae and Jack Layton

From Life Site News.

Excerpt:

As Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) surges in the polls in the lead up to Monday’s federal election – raising the once-unimaginable specter of a coalition government headed by NDP leader Jack Layton – the party has emphasized their plan to push Canada beyond the status quo of state-funded abortion-on-demand, promising to actually promote greater access to abortion across the country.

NDP leader Jack Layton emphasized the party’s commitment to abortion – and questioned the Conservative party’s commitment – in Gatineau, Quebec on Monday as part of a pitch to win over women voters.  “The cabinet of the prime minister is still questioning the right of women to choose,” said Layton, according to the Toronto Star.

In a statement to Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of Canada’s pro-life movement, the NDP said they are committed as a party to “universal access to abortion services and guaranteed reproductive freedoms for all Canadian women, regardless of income or where they live.”

The party emphasized that this is a position demanded of all NDP candidates.  “All New Democrat candidates agree to adhere to these principles when they agree to accept the nomination from their riding association,” said the statement.

Notably, last year every NDP Member of Parliament, except four who did not vote, opposed Bill C-510 (Roxanne’s Law), which would have protected women who choose to keep their unborn babies from being coerced into abortion.

[…]The polling firm suggests the party could win as many as 100 seats, allowing them to team up with the Liberals to form a coalition government that would make Layton Canada’s Prime Minister.  They report that the NDP’s popularity has particularly surged in Quebec, where they say there has been “a wholesale transfer of Bloc Quebecois supporters.”

Though Layton did not give details at the Gatineau rally on the party’s plan to promote abortion, an NDP policy official told the Toronto Star that the party would negotiate with the provinces and territories to make abortion easily accessible to every woman who wants one.  The official suggested this could involve adding to the number of hospitals and family doctors committing abortions.

Two provinces that would likely be affected are New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, frequent targets of abortion advocates.  New Brunswick has successfully avoided funding private abortion facilities so far, and P.E.I. residents must currently obtain abortions in other provinces.  Both would undoubtedly come under pressure from an NDP-led government.

Social conservatives should not be voting for Jack Layton. He is a pro-abortion radical.

How did former NDP leader Bob Rae govern in Ontario?

If you want to know what New Democrats do to an economy, you can read about how NDP leader Bob Rae wrecked the Ontario economy in the 1990s.

Excerpt:

The Liberal government had forecast a small surplus earlier in the year, but a worsening North American economy led to a $700 million deficit before Rae took office. In October, the NDP projected a $2.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 1991.[40] Some economists projected soaring deficits for the upcoming years, even if the Rae government implemented austerity measures.[41] Rae himself was critical of the Bank of Canada’s high interest rate policy, arguing that it would lead to increased unemployment throughout the country.[42] He also criticized the 1991 federal budget, arguing the Finance Minister Michael Wilson was shifting the federal debt to the provinces.[43]

The Rae government’s first budget, introduced in 1991, increased social spending to mitigate the economic slowdown and projected a record deficit of $9.1 billion. Finance Minister Floyd Laughren argued that Ontario made a decision to target the effects of the recession rather than the deficit, and said that the budget would create or protect 70,000 jobs. It targeted more money to social assistance, social housing and child benefits, and raised taxes for high-income earners while lowering rates for 700,000 low-income Ontarians.[44]

A few years later, journalist Thomas Walkom described the budget as following a Keynesian orthodoxy, spending money in the public sector to stimulate employment and productivity. Unfortunately, it did not achieve its stated purpose. The recession was still severe. Walkom described the budget as “the worst of both worlds”, angering the business community but not doing enough to provide for public relief.

[…]Rae’s government attempted to introduce a variety of socially progressive measures during its time in office, though its success in this field was mixed. In 1994, the government introduced legislation, Bill 167, which would have provided for same-sex partnership benefits in the province. At the time, this legislation was seen as a revolutionary step forward for same-sex recognition.

[…]The Rae government established an employment equity commission in 1991,[49] and two years later introduced affirmative action to improve the numbers of women, non-whites, aboriginals and disabled persons working in the public sector.

[…]In November 1990, the Rae government announced that it would restrict most rent increases to 4.6% for the present year and 5.4% for 1991. The provisions for 1990 were made retroactive. Tenants’ groups supported these changes, while landlord representatives were generally opposed.

Be careful who you vote for, Canada. We voted for Obama, and now we have a 14.5 trillion dollar debt and a 1.65 trillion deficit – TEN TIMES the last Republican budget deficit of 160 billion under George W. Bush in 2007. TEN TIMES WORSE THAN BUSH.

UPDATE: This post linked by Blazing Cat Fur.

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Conservative Stephen Harper will free small businesses to create jobs

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Everyone please be patient for today and tomorrow, because I will be blogging mostly on the Canadian election which is set for Monday, May 2nd! Things will be back to normal on Friday night!

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper announces his job creation plan.

Excerpt:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that a re-elected Conservative Government will implement a range of measures, including reducing unnecessary regulation, to support small businesses in creating jobs and spurring economic growth.

“Canada’s entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and driving long-term economic growth in communities large and small across our country,” said Mr. Harper. “It is important that government create the conditions for Canadian entrepreneurs to flourish and grow.”

A re-elected Stephen Harper Government will spur a culture shift within government by legislating a ‘one-for-one’ rule, so that government must eliminate an existing regulation every time it proposes a new one. The success of the small- and medium-sized business sector contributes greatly to the economic and social success of Canada; however, 26 per cent of small business owners say they may not have gone into business had they known the true burden of regulation.

Stephen Harper’s Government has taken decisive action to address the needs and concerns of entrepreneurs in the last five years, including reducing taxes and red tape; improving access to business financing; making substantial investments in training, research, and development; and opening up new markets. Building upon Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s declaration of 2011 as the Year of the Entrepreneur, a re-elected Conservative Government will further support Canadian businesses by:

  • Moving forward with the Red Tape Reduction Commission, which will apply a small business lens to regulations to ensure that they do not have unintended impacts on small businesses.
  • Introducing a $1,000 Employment Insurance tax credit for any new employees hired by a small business.
  • Extending BizPal, an online service for businesses that provides streamlined, customized one-stop shopping for information on required permits and licences.
  • Providing $20 million over two years for the Canada Youth Business Foundation, enabling young Canadians to launch more than 1,000 new businesses and generate an estimated 6,700 new jobs.

Canada’s unemployment rate is better than the United States unemployment rate.

Meanwhile, Jack Layton wants to cripple the Canadian economy with a cap-and-trade carbon tax for companies that produce energy. (H/T Blue Like You)

Excerpt:

If NDP Leader Jack Layton wins a minority government May 2, supported by the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois, he plans to make Canadians pay a new charge estimated at $21.5 billion over the next four years for the right to emit man-made carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Under Layton’s proposed cap-and-trade plan, this money will be paid by ordinary Canadians in higher retail costs for goods and services, along with job layoffs and lower salaries and benefits for workers.

Layton’s plan is to impose cap-and-trade on us soon after the NDP takes power.

We know this because in outlining his proposal during the election, the NDP estimated it will collect $3.6 billion from cap-and-trade in this fiscal year alone, which started April 1 and ends March 31, 2012…

That will drive up the prices that Canadians and Americans pay for Canadian energy.

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