Alberta prosperity didn’t happen by accident

Some economic facts of life the NDP government needs to keep in mind if it wants Alberta to continue to prosper

Alberta prosperity didn’t happen by accidentIn a famous explanation of why voters choose the governments they do, a 1990s-era adviser to Bill Clinton remarked, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That’s not wholly accurate; voters toss parties out (and vote parties in) on matters other than unemployment rates and incomes. The recent Alberta election is only the most obvious example. Nonetheless, economic…

Don’t define compassion by government spending

The assumption that government is best placed to care for us overlooks a fundamental truth

Don’t define compassion by government spendingIn a recent column in the Edmonton Journal, a local historian mused that modern governments have become too enamoured with “the unfettered market of purely economic conservatism.” He then equated higher taxes and more government spending with compassion. Let’s dispel a myth. Few actually believe in completely “unfettered markets” – that is, the absence of…

Government budgets are like volcanoes

It’s what underneath that counts

Government budgets are like volcanoesImagine you’re near what you thought was a dormant volcano but it suddenly erupts. Assuming you escape, you might later reflect that there was nothing “sudden” about it. The eruption resulted from earlier events deep within the Earth’s crust, when tectonic plates moved and later produced the eruption that almost trapped you in a hot…

The feds doesn’t owe Ontario – or Alberta – more money

Premiers will invent any excuses - including blaming it all on the federal government - to cover their own failures

The feds doesn’t owe Ontario – or Alberta – more moneyIn a year when two heavyweight provinces, Ontario and Alberta, which together constitute 55 per cent of Canada’s GDP, are running substantial deficits, there are three ways to reduce the red ink. Strategy one: cut (and reform) spending, something neither province has been serious about. Strategy two: raise taxes (which both provinces have done), then…

Money kept by Canadian taxpayers is not a “loss”

It is essential in a democracy that those in charge always prove they actually need our cash

Money kept by Canadian taxpayers is not a “loss”With tax season at hand, here’s a useful tip for any tax-weary Canadian. When some people refer to income or other money not taxed as a “loss” to government, remember that they may merely be using technical language. In contrast, others really do lament any reduction or “omission” in possible taxes that flow to governments.…

Alberta budget dings taxpayers with $11.4 billion in extra taxes

Is Jim Prentice channeling his inner Don Getty?

Alberta budget dings taxpayers with $11.4 billion in extra taxesAlberta Premier Jim Prentice dropped hints for months that the 2015 provincial budget was a once-in-a-generation chance to “fix” Alberta’s finances. That didn’t happen. Instead, the province raised taxes on Albertans in a manner akin to the worst of the late-1980s budgets. That was the last time Alberta faced chronically high per capita program spending…

Anti-tax accusation based on silly arguments

It is simplistic to equate higher taxes with better government services

Anti-tax accusation based on silly argumentsBy Mark Milke and Charles Lammam The Fraser Institute In a recent column about the upcoming Metro Vancouver transit plebiscite, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham complained about business leaders who talked “way more about cutting taxes for poor beleaguered taxpayers for the past 30 years than they have about the valuable services tax money provides.”…

Property rights dispute takes a short break in Alberta

But that is likely to end once the provincial budget fades from the news

Property rights dispute takes a short break in AlbertaAmid the current focus on provincial red ink, one issue has slipped off the public radar screen in Alberta: Property rights. The lack of attention is understandable given the nearness of the provincial budget and the province’s poor finances. But until recently, property rights, and more broadly land-use issues (which involve regulation of both private…

Alberta tried tax hikes in the 1980s

And they didn’t work

Alberta tried tax hikes in the 1980sIn the debate over whether the Alberta government should reduce and reform spending to cushion the blow from falling revenues, some claim higher taxes will balance the books. How soon we forget. Alberta tried that in the late 1980s. It didn’t work. It wasn’t until the 1990s, when Alberta got serious about spending reforms and…

“Capitalism” saved the world

Any attempt to equate capitalism and communism is wrong-headed

“Capitalism” saved the worldIn a recent column from a Toronto journalist on communism and capitalism, the writer made an astonishing claim: While “millions have been the tragic victims of communism,” Roy MacGregor wrote, “that number pales, surely, in comparison with the victims of capitalism.” Surely, it does not. The columnist attempted to link communism and capitalism as mere…