The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Wednesday, July 30, 2003


"A form of Looting"

You may have seen a headline like this one yesterday:

US Nobel Laureate Slams Bush Gov't as "Worst" in American History

German weekly Der Speigel recently interviewed 2001 economics laureate George Akerlof, where he tore a strip off the Bushies. Akerlof’s criticisms aren’t limited to economics; he has also slammed them for waging what was effectively (never mind the coalition of the conventient) a unilateral war againt Iraq. Of course, you mgiht say, wha tthe hell is an econmist doing playing foreign policy analyst? Well, this year, everyone from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to lifestlyes writers turned into instant international affairs hands, doncha know.

Conservatives might take Akerlof’s accusations as a compliment through the logic of “well if that guy says up, I’'ll say down.” Akerlof has rarely agreed with their economic prescriptions.

Elsewhere, Globe And Mail economics columnist writes much the same in today's paper.
Just imagine Finance Minister John Manley announcing that Ottawa had suddenly decided to run a deficit of $70-billion this year and follow it with four more years of $50-billion shortfalls.

The very thought is almost incomprehensible to Canadians. It has been years since any federal politician advocated even small deficits, let alone whoppers.
Well, yeah, you might say, but what about the war in Iraq? Whether you supported or opposed the war, it’s still a bill that's got to be paid. That is true, but the bill for the war is around US$100-billion, and other increased military spending only adds about another $25-billion annually, which does’nt come close to accounting for the projected deficit down south of US$455-billion. Scotch that argument.

Little goes on to note the United States govcernment’s practice of lumping in their public pension accounts with the overall government budget, and the practive of freely allocating excess Social Security revenue (relative to the year’s payouts) to the federal budget to cover revenue shortfalls on that side. All told, itr's an unappetizing picture, and one that makes the stories of mismamged federal porgrams in Canada seem almost tolerable when we at least come something close to having balanced budgets at the federal level, notwithstanding a couple of misbehaving provinces... (Ernie Eves and Gordon Campbell, please stand up!)
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