A PC austerity plan that is a global failure
Ontario PCs still want to make living wages into minimum wages! If there was anything sillier than the Ontario PC comic-book platform in 2011, the Tea-Party Ontario Tories certainly found it in the last election, with a list of draconian cuts to programs and services that Ontarians want, like and need. Equating their signature policy with a ‘million jobs’ while providing no numbers and costing whatsoever, the Ontario PCs’ principal idea is to repeat a series of economic mistakes that have:
- Failed utterly in the United States, and kept Americans from recovering the jobs they lost during the 2008-09 recession for six full years (Ontario had recovered its own lost recession jobs by spring 2011);
- Driven the European Union into a sustained and stubborn recession, and countries within it to the brink of bankruptcy;
- Even the Baltic states have found that no economically stagnant jurisdiction can (or has ever) cut its way to prosperity.
The Ontario PCs, and anyone considering becoming one, ought to read a 2013 book called Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth, Professor of International Political Economy at Brown University in the USA. The Ontario PCs remain committed to the deliberate deflation of wages (prices are set by markets) through cuts to public spending. Ontario PCs believe that slashing spending will spur private investment. Says Professor Blyth, “The results of the experiment are now in, and they are equally consistent: austerity doesn’t work.”
Concludes Professor Blyth: “The only surprise is that any of this should come as a surprise.” Cutting government spending in economies that are interlinked means taking money out of circulation at a time when corporations are not putting accumulated profits into the economy either. Every country and jurisdiction that has enacted policies of austerity has ended up with more debt than when it started, and less prosperity as a result.
Austerity is an easy concept to grasp (you can’t cure debt with more debt), even though it is dead wrong. The effects of austerity are felt disproportionately by low-income and middle-class families. And how can both businesses and government cut their way to prosperity at the same time? If nobody with money is spending, then how can everyone else earn, save or borrow?
Ontario PC plan to cut, cut, cut
The Ontario PC silly plan was actually introduced in the Ontario Legislature in 2014, by former PC leader Tim Hudak. He couldn’t sell it there. Even in a minority government (which means majority opposition), the PC bill was defeated. Then they tried it again through the back door, as an opposition day motion. It lost a second time.
That’s the thing about right-wing ideology. When people have told you a dumb idea is a dumb idea, Conservatives think that if you sharpen and purify the ideology more, it will somehow turn into a good idea. In the 2014 election, Ontario PCs tried the same bad idea for a third time! It was still rubbish, and voters saw straight through it.
The Ontario PC million lost jobs act is actually a compendium of job cuts, not jobs created.
- Without any merit, the Tea-Party Tories remain devoted to killing Ontario’s green economy, a sector that generates and sustains 30,000 world-class jobs today, and produced about four percent of Ontario’s electricity;
- Ontario PCs still plan to leave billions on the table by enacting tax cuts nobody has asked for to benefit large and profitable corporations and wealthy individuals. The truth is that in Ontario, businesses benefit from the lowest overall tax ‘burden’ anywhere in the industrial heartland of North America;
- The Tea Party Tories plan to return to the very same regulations-cuts that brought us seven dead people in Walkerton, and a tainted meat scandal, in their last eight lost years in government;
- The Tea Party Tories intend to prevent skilled trades from being able to implement the type of self-regulation, professional development and education that other professions have by killing the Ontario College of Trades;
- The Tories think that one-off trade deals with individual provinces are better than a comprehensive interprovincial trade framework that the last two Premiers have worked on. They simply ignore the largest interprovincial trade partnership in Canada (between Ontario and Quebec);
- If you thought the federal scheme on temporary foreign workers was unfair to Canadians and to those workers themselves, then be aware that Ontario PCs plan to use the same failed idea to bring down wages in Ontario.
That’s the plan the Ontario Tories have twice tried and failed to sell in the Legislature, and the plan that lost them the 2014 election. There is no job creation in it. Calling it a ‘fill-in-the-number’ jobs plan is nothing more than a cheap slogan. There are no jobs, no costing, no basis, and no numbers. It is for the right-wing ideologically-faithful who will close their eyes, grit their teeth and just believe anything. It is proven-dumb economics, and has failed everywhere in the world that those shopworn, ideologically-driven ideas have been tried.
Ontario Budget a real alternative
The Ontario Budget the PCs refused to read before opposing it actually offers real hope for Ontario’s economy, Ontario’s job-seekers, Ontario’s young people and Ontario’s businesses. It is also a well-written, well-illustrated and interesting read. If you have an Apple, Android or Windows tablet computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, you can get your free copy of the Ontario Budget for 2016-17 by clicking the link at left.
Despite what the Ontario PCs say, Ontario has recovered twice the number of jobs the Province lost during the recession, and is Canada’s leader in jobs creation. Ontario is clearly and easily Canada’s number one destination for overseas investment. In North America, no state or province now attracts more foreign investment capital than does Ontario.
Ontario has lowered taxes on businesses since 2003, and has the lowest overall tax ‘burden’ in the industrial heartland of North America. Investment in Ontario’s schools, colleges and universities has been a powerful tool in attracting job-creators to come to Ontario and stay in Ontario. The Ontario PCs have dropped the pretence and nuance. The PCs would return to fighting with teachers and cutting education budgets.