The question is: who makes the rules for business in our society? It is a question that our governments never fully address. Our political parties range from the partnership with industry proposition of the liberals, to the laissez-faire attitudes of the conservatives, and the works-committee involvement of the new democrats. Whatever our political persuasion, we have to admit that promoting an orderly and productive business sector in an orderly society, benefits our society. Our population is the driving force, the workforce, the consumer and the arbitrator.
I bring this up because the talking heads of the news media seemed surprised the other day when finance minister Chrystia Freeland, in her economic statement, took several pages from president Joe Biden’s inflation reduction efforts. The American effort used both the carrot and stick approaches. Interestingly, Biden’s stick to prevent companies from bypassing profit dispersal through stock buy-backs was set at a two per cent tax. Cautious Freeland set the Canadian tax at one per cent, if and when it comes.
Spending the time to listen to her give her economic report, this commentator felt she had definitely toned down her previously more conservative stance. Parts of the address were trite and nothing more than small bribes to specific audiences. Freeing young people from the interest payments on their student loans might not be huge but it is, at least, a friendly gesture. Doubling the GST rebate to lower income seniors might also be welcome but why is it only being done for five months? Does she seriously think the current inflation will reverse itself in that time?
If anything worries me on the economic horizon, it is the heavy hand of the Bank of Canada that can drag inflation into a depression. It is not likely that ‘Pee-Pee’ Poilievre has frightened the bank’s governor but I would hate to see the two get into a pissing match.
Whatever happens in the American election on Tuesday is guaranteed to have an impact on Canada. Never say, it can’t happen here.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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