Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trust me. I am an economist.

John McCallum, Liberal MP and LPC finance critic, was in Guelph on Tuesday trying to sell Dion's green shift to the local voters for the upcoming by-election, but like many other Liberal MP's of late, his explanation left more questions than answers.

After reading off the usual prepared party lines;
"The essence of the Green Shift is that you have higher taxes on what you burn and lower taxes on what you earn," he said. "So that you tax higher things that are bad, like pollution, and you tax lower things like your income." (is anyone else out there getting tired of hearing these same words from every Liberal who opens up their mouth about Dion's carbon tax?) McCallum goes off script adding ""the vast majority" of Canadians will find the tax breaks included in the plan will outweigh the extra costs incurred by higher energy prices." Vast majority? Just what percentage of Canadians will make up that vast majority, how has he calculated this, and more importantly who will not be included in that "vast majority"?

52%, 60%? Higher? Come on big John, give us a real number. ( hint to the press: please start to ask these types of questions. It is your damn job.) Your guess on the numbers will be as good as McCallum's because
nobody really knows for sure what the actual costs will turn out to be after the carbon tax inevitably gets passed down on to the consumer. Prices are going to raise on most everything, and unless you know just how much, you cannot make wild claims about how far these tax breaks are going to go. As for those left out of that "vast majority", no matter what the number turns out to be, logic says that they are the ones who are going to be least able to afford it such as the elderly, students, low wage earners, and all of those on fixed incomes. The plan is going to punish the poor.

McCallum, not to be out done by the many other Liberal MP's who have contradicted Dion on his green shift, had the following to say: "
the Conservative anti-carbon tax campaign is promoting "two myths" about the Green Shift -- first that it won't be revenue neutral, and the myth that the Green Shift will raise the price of gas at the pump." Directly contradicting Dion who has already grudgingly admitted that the price at the pumps is going to raise: "We know that they will pass on part of their costs to their consumers because they cannot eliminate the emissions overnight, with all the goodwill of the world. We know that."

So why should anybody trust what McCallum has to say over his leader? Well, in response to comments made by the Executive Director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, Peter A. Nelson, about the cost of lettuce going up to $8 a head, McCallum said "That's just crazy, totally out to lunch. And I'm an economist, so I know a little bit what I'm talking about. It doesn't make any sense."

Did the economist tell us just how much he thought the price of lettuce would go up, how much the rate of inflation would raise, or give us ANY real numbers at all about anything?

Well no, but not to worry because he is an economist after all; an economist who knows a "little bit" about what he is talking about.

Source story.


Brian said...

From Guelph NDP candidate Tom King, who's known for his colourful stories and analogy's...

[on the "Green Shift"]
"So it's sort of like passing money from your left pocket to your right pocket, but I know enough about Ottawa and Ottawa's digestive track to know that if you pass money through it, it doesn't come out the same as it went in," Mr. King said.

"It's like a man who has a horse and feeds hay to the horse and stands under the back end of the horse hoping to get the same amount of hay out that he put in, and it just doesn't happen. So revenue neutral, in terms of Ottawa, is a myth."

Wedge said...

It is profoundly difficult for me to listen to virtually anything John McCallum has to say, it's bascially all cliches anyway. I can't but help to hear him and look at him and notice the striking resemblance to the evil Emperor Palpitine. He may have something significant to say, but I can't get past his voice and appearance to listen intently.

John McCallum: Come, Harper, see for yourself. From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Conservatives and the end of your insignificant minority government.
[Harper's eyes go to his lightsabre]
John McCallum: You want this, don't you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.
Harper: No.
John McCallum: It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine.

Anonymous said...

Why do most university economists look like their clothes are from a good will box?

Remember: ask 2 economists a question and get 3 answers. ;)

Barry said...

Stop the Carbon Tax

potato said...

Let me take a stab at McCallum economics.

The Liberals will take money from the producers to give to Canadians to give to the producers for their more expensive products.

Am I missing something here?

Cool Blue said...

If the carbon tax was applied to rye, McCallum would cross the floor to the CPC.

phil said...

I am at a loss to see how the Lib's can possibly promise people more money back. Two separate analysts have looked at the Green Shift and determined that only 60% of the revenues get paid out in income taxes. The rest goes to new social spending and only 6% to the environment! This tax is neither green nor revenue neutral; it's a sham all the way around. (Analysts were Gary Lamphier and Adam Radwanski)

Ardvark said...

I think most of the Liberal MP's are trying to sell the carbon tax, but when you are selling such a bad product, no amount of spin is going to help you make that sale.

Potato, you nailed it. All of the money that people will allegedly get back through tax breaks is going to be shifted back to business through raising prices, and the poor are going to suffer the most.

I guess that really is a green shift in its own twisted way. Just not the way Stephane and his band of confused MP's are claiming to Canadians.

Anonymous said...

McCallum's credentials are actually very impressive if you care to find out, from his academic career to teaching career, and finally culminating in a six year stint as the CHIEF economist for the Royal Bank. Harper on the other hand has a Bachelor's and Master's from the U of Calgary, he's worked..., he's taught..., uh, he wrote... No!! He's done nothing as an economist because he's a FAILED economist!!