Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nine out of 10 economists...

Mr. Flaherty believes Ontario is failing to adapt to a changing world because its business taxes are the highest in Canada. In a speech in Toronto yesterday, he offered as evidence Ontario's declining share of national GDP; its weaker than average economic growth; and, an unemployment rate higher than the national average. He said the federal government has cut corporate income tax rates from to 15% from 22.1%, while Ontario's rate is only half a percentage point lower than in 2000, "with no plans in place for further reductions."

Mr. McGuinty's response is that tax cuts are not enough on their own and that governments have to make targeted investments in troubled industries to stimulate growth.

Let's see:The manufacturing sector is not doing too well in Ontario, although the rest of the country seems to be doing okay.But isn't the auto sector the problem? Well, if we strip out transportation equipment, which includes autos....

Hey, look at that: Ontario still lags.

Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, says, nine out of 10 economists would side with Mr. Flaherty and advocate creating as favourable an economic environment as possible and then allowing the market to pick the winners and losers.

What does he know? Ontario's "targeted investments" are working out so well.

Update: Flaherty takes another kick at McGuinty in a speech yesterday:

In fact, a combination of the strong Canadian dollar, a slowing U.S. economy, higher energy prices and increased competition from emerging markets has left several sectors struggling. Here in the manufacturing heartland of Canada the impact has been acute. But the economic impact is in direct contrast to national economic trends generally.

For instance, we are experiencing the second-longest period of economic expansion in Canadian history. Yet Ontario's share of the national nominal GDP has gone from 41.4% in 2002 to 38.6% in 2006.

Ontarians are seeing a lack of leadership, a lack of vision and a lack of economic stewardship.