"Bold" economic policies for the ONDP

76 posts / 0 new
Last post
Lord Palmerston
"Bold" economic policies for the ONDP

Unionist wrote in another thread:

Quote:
The NDP should put forward a progressive, dynamic, bold program aimed at protecting and expanding employment, retirement income, etc. - and I mean bold. (I know, I know, it's the ONDY, but hope springs eternal.)

At the same time, it should include a few democratic reforms, like abolishing separate schools, without any big fuss.

Any other party that dares to challenge the NDP on this and make a big deal out of it will be rejected by the voters, who only care about the economy, their jobs, and their livelihood!!

The timing is perfect. It's now or never.

So what are these "bold" economic policies the ONDP should implement, that are supposedly being lost to an "unimportant" and "divisive" debate on separate school funding?  How can the NDP outdo the bold, progressive, dynamic "Get Orange" campaign of 2007, which was hijacked by John Tory and Dalton McGuinty blabbering on about school funding?

 

 

Lord Palmerston

Here's a start: FREE post-secondary education.  Not a tuition freeze or 10% reduction, but no tuition.  This was suggested by Cheri DiNovo at one of the Ginger Project meetings. 

Fidel

We need federal power or not much changes provincially. Provincial governments are still forced to fund program spending by inequitable equalization formula and reduced federal transfers since 1995. Provincial governments have no real power over the national economy and are reduced to tweaking taxes and allocating and re-allocating scarce funding, and fear of NAFTA reprisals when contemplating pubic sector expansions. And some provincial premiers from BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have even been working to arrange NAFTA-lite deals like TILMA behind closed doors on behalf of the Can-Am corporatocracy in recent months.

Bookish Agrarian

Building mass transit would be a good idea for sure.

Here's one way to spead investmest in areas outside of the urban cores.

Invest in on-farm environmental goods and services.  Right now any work of an environmental nature that needs to be done is cost shared with farmers.  Most farmers have no ability to recoup those costs from the marketplace and many are working off farm jobs just to pay the basic bills.  That means a lot of potential projects are not occurring.  Skip giving money to the banks.  Go directly to the source and pay farmers for doing this work.  This will mean many, many people from contractors to manufactures will receive work as this money will simply flow through farmers to those carrying out the work.  Thousands upon thousands of employment hours could be created.  Those workers will then be paying income tax which will help pay for the funding in the first place.

 

Unionist

I've held back, because Ontario isn't my province, but since I'm in the OP, here goes:

1. Moratorium on plant closures over a certain size TBD. If you don't want to operate the plant,  do something else, but leave the infrastructure in trust of the provincial government.

2. $7 per day publicly-delivered childcare, and build the necessary infrastructure. Not only creates lots of jobs, but frees parents to participate in the workforce.

3. Savings from abolition of Catholic school funding to be reinvested, dollar for dollar, in vocational "green jobs" skills delivery.

4. Public auto insurance (remember that?).

5. What LP said about FDR.

6. Buy Canadian, Buy Ontario, Buy Municipal policies for all public investment, based on feasibility.

Bookish Agrarian

me too

Lord Palmerston

How about a massive public employment program for Ontario somewhat akin to the New Deal's WPA which would build needed industries, affordable housing, mass transit systems, etc.  Such a program could be subsidized by substantial increase in taxes on the wealthy (times are too bold for the Jack Layton and Paul Summerville's "no new taxes" pledge of 2006).

[Snarky remarks removed]

genstrike

Fidel, you're just making up excuses for the inevitable failure of any provincial NDP government to live up to the expectations of the people who elect it.

 

I also don't live in Ontario, but here is my proposal for any NDP government that is listening (Gary Doer, I'm looking in your direction):

Free post-secondary education

Some sort of public bank in to support the creation of worker co-ops by providing them with a source of capital for start-ups or retooling

Expropiration law allowing workers to take control over failing plants and operate them as a co-op

Reduce working hours to 32 hours a week with no reduction in pay (three day weekend!)

Public infrastructure projects - not just building highways, but also small-scale stuff aimed at fixing up communities.  Especially impoverished FN communities.  And it goes without saying that none of this will be a P3

and that's just what I can think of in five minutes

Lord Palmerston

A 32 hour workweek with no loss in pay or benefits.  This would increase employment as it would distribute work to more people.

Sam Gindin has suggested that trade unionists should call for a ban on overtime on the grounds that no trade unionist can defend wirking overtime when fellow workers can't find jobs.  

Bookish Agrarian

Instead of forcing 'green' energy projects on communities that don't want them invest on individual scale generation.

Mega projects create mega problems, and frankly are often eyesores if nothing else.  However, the real solution to energy issues in individual generation.  Those generating with solar or wind can do it on a smaller, more community acceptable way.  Allowing power inversion so that indiviudal producers can feed their surplus energy back into the grid would promote conservation (watching the dial run backwards is a pretty big incentive), create jobs, technology growth and return the government investment back into the economy in a much better and more direct way than corporate shareholder dividends.  (Most current 'green' energy production is being done by the private sector and public power is being relegated to the older technologies).

Not only would this be a good idea it would serve as a wedge issue against the Liberals.

Lord Palmerston

So who has the boldest economic platform of the leadership candidates?

Doug

genstrike wrote:

I also don't live in Ontario, but here is my proposal for any NDP government that is listening (Gary Doer, I'm looking in your direction):

Free post-secondary education

Very expensive and not necessarily that progressive. I prefer indexing tuition to inflation and providing more student grants toward tuition and living expenses. Money has to go into creating places as well, especially for people needing to make career changes. Expanding Second Career would be a fine idea.

 

Quote:
Some sort of public bank in to support the creation of worker co-ops by providing them with a source of capital for start-ups or retooling

A good idea, especially with private finance frozen up as it is. This is probably better done working with the credit union movement than by creating a whole new organization, however.

 

Quote:

Expropiration law allowing workers to take control over failing plants and operate them as a co-op

It sounds good at first but it's not likely to be very effective, for the reason that most plants exist because they're part of some large organization's supply chain. The provincial government can expropriate the plant but it cannot expropriate the intellectual property that the plant uses (designs, patents, etc). So, a plant that becomes orphaned in this way can't produce what it used to because it might not have access to the necessary supplies, cannot legally produce the products it used to and has no market to sell to. It also discourages anyone who might want to invest in new facilities in the province.

 

Quote:
Reduce working hours to 32 hours a week with no reduction in pay (three day weekend!)

Essentially mandates a 20% pay rise instantaneously. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do in a recession. It also generates less employment than you might think because the fixed costs of adding an employee don't change (benefits, training, etc). The public sector would have a hard time adjusting to it too. If you think there's a shortage of nurses and doctors now, just wait until they only work 32 hours a week.

No, I think we need to more gently nudge ourselves in the right direction. Increase the statutory vacation to three weeks and look at reducing the number of hours it takes before overtime pay kicks in. 

Quote:

Public infrastructure projects - not just building highways, but also small-scale stuff aimed at fixing up communities.  Especially impoverished FN communities.  And it goes without saying that none of this will be a P3

Definitely needed, though a lot of this depends on finally accessing federal money that's been promised but so far not delivered. I think we also have to be strategic about it, building infrastructure that supports the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy.

Fidel
genstrike

Doug wrote:
genstrike wrote:

I also don't live in Ontario, but here is my proposal for any NDP government that is listening (Gary Doer, I'm looking in your direction):

Free post-secondary education

Very expensive and not necessarily that progressive. I prefer indexing tuition to inflation and providing more student grants toward tuition and living expenses. Money has to go into creating places as well, especially for people needing to make career changes. Expanding Second Career would be a fine idea.

How is free education for all not progressive?

And I think it is a lot less expensive than people realize. There's about a million students in Canada paying about 5 thousand each.  That's five billion dollars.  I'm sure we can find $5 billion in a $240 billion budget.  How about that $18 billion that goes to those people who kill people?

And provincial governments can do it as well.  My government over the past ten years could have spent $200 million a year to completely eliminate tuition.  Instead, they decided to give away $800 million in tax cuts which benefit primarily the rich.  And it's an NDP government.  I don't think you would like to argue that tax cuts for the rich are more progressive than free education for all, would you? 

Doug wrote:

Quote:
Some sort of public bank in to support the creation of worker co-ops by providing them with a source of capital for start-ups or retooling

A good idea, especially with private finance frozen up as it is. This is probably better done working with the credit union movement than by creating a whole new organization, however.

All right, I might give you that one, provided these credit unions have policies in place to benefit start-up worker co-ops

Doug wrote:

Quote:

Expropiration law allowing workers to take control over failing plants and operate them as a co-op

It sounds good at first but it's not likely to be very effective, for the reason that most plants exist because they're part of some large organization's supply chain. The provincial government can expropriate the plant but it cannot expropriate the intellectual property that the plant uses (designs, patents, etc). So, a plant that becomes orphaned in this way can't produce what it used to because it might not have access to the necessary supplies, cannot legally produce the products it used to and has no market to sell to.

Ask the guys at Zanon tile how well expropriation is working for them.  There are plenty of examples where workers have been able to take over their factories and go right on producing.  And if a little retooling is necessary, then we can look at the above credit unions.

Doug wrote:
It also discourages anyone who might want to invest in new facilities in the province.

Right, whatever we do, don't piss off any capitalists?

Doug wrote:

Quote:
Reduce working hours to 32 hours a week with no reduction in pay (three day weekend!)

Essentially mandates a 20% pay rise instantaneously. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do in a recession. It also generates less employment than you might think because the fixed costs of adding an employee don't change (benefits, training, etc). The public sector would have a hard time adjusting to it too. If you think there's a shortage of nurses and doctors now, just wait until they only work 32 hours a week.

No, I think we need to more gently nudge ourselves in the right direction. Increase the statutory vacation to three weeks and look at reducing the number of hours it takes before overtime pay kicks in.

We're overproducing, destroying the environment, people are losing jobs, and you don't think it is a good idea to take a step back and have some people work less so others can work at all?

Also, there would be a lot of social and environmental benefits to reducing working hours.  Less stress-related illnesses, parents able to spend more time with their families, people reducing the amount of time they spend burning gas commuting to work by 20%, more time for social development and takaing care of our own needs...

Unemployment is there for a reason.  It's called the reserve army of labour.  We can get rid of it.  Or is that too "bold" of an economic policy for the NDP?

 

But here's my bold, one-point plan to end this economic crisis and prevent any further economic crisis:  We all neet to tighten our belts... around the necks of capitalists!

Fidel

Doug, pay no attention to genstrike. For him, there is no federal government to screw up everything since Mulroney. Everything Brian Baloney through the Shawinigan strangler and Pauly Pockets did to the provinces since the 1980s is inconsequential for our rabid anti-NDP'ers. When in doubt, simply blame any and all provincial NDP governments for being the most fiscally responsible party of all

genstrike

Fidel, pull your head out of your ass before you try to read what I write.

Seriously.

Fidel

genstrike demands universal PSE for Manitoba and the ONDP's platform only - and unionist prescribes Quebec's half-baked $7 dollar daycare for Ontario and flouting NAFTA with public auto regardless - but both of you are in favour of firing some number of separate school workers during a recession and refuse to support an equitable funding formula for public schools in a province neither of you reside in. As foghorn leghorn would say, you two are more confused than polecats in a hen house.

genstrike

Read what I wrote.  I never said that the ONDP should put universal PSE for Manitoba in their platform.  I said that universal PSE could be one of those "bold economic policies for the ONDP".  And I was trying to point out how little it would actually cost compared to how much people think it costs and how much money people could find in the budget.  I only used Manitoba as an example of how little it would actually cost compared to how much people think it costs, because I am familiar with the Manitoba numbers and not familiar with the Ontario numbers.  But I'm sure that simply by reversing some Harris tax cuts you could easily find the money.  Of course, that would imply that the provincial government has some responsibility over something, which Fidel vehemently disagrees with because he is afraid of having to defend the failures of NDP provincial governments.

Regarding public auto insurance, I guess if the ONDP doesn't promise it this time around they won't be breaking promises when they don't deliver.  Ah, the wonders of lowered expectations.

And I never said I wanted to fire people.  That is just some stupid shit you're making up.

Fidel

I wish you would educate yourself on the issues you apparently feel so strongly about. Tuition fees actually represent a small portion of the total cost of funding PSE. And you're talking billions of dollars pulled from PSE by the feds since 1995.. Universities and colleges have to charge tuition fees as a result of the reduced federal funding since 1995. They have no choice, and no province, with the exception of Alberta perhaps, could possibly afford to fully fund PSE.

genstrike

Fidel wrote:

I wish you would educate yourself on the issues you apparently feel so strongly about. Tuition fees actually represent a small portion of the total cost of funding PSE.

I know that.  But I know that if students pay $X, than it will only cost the government $X more to eliminate tuition completely.  It's basic math.

Fidel wrote:
Universities and colleges have to charge tuition fees as a result of the reduced federal funding since 1995. They have no choice, and no province, with the exception of Alberta perhaps, could possibly afford to fully fund PSE.

They've had tuition fees before 1995, and provinces can easily afford to fully fund PSE.  They just don't want to.  For example, it would only take around 2% of the Manitoba budget to replace tuition fees.  How about you educate yourself on the issue, because I obviously know a hell of a lot more about this one than you do.

And if you think that provincial governments had nothing to do with this whole neoliberal bullshit floating around for the past decade, than you obviously don't remember Mike Harris or his Manitoba counterpart, Gary Filmon.

Fidel

genstrike wrote:
Fidel wrote:

I wish you would educate yourself on the issues you apparently feel so strongly about. Tuition fees actually represent a small portion of the total cost of funding PSE.

I know that.  But I know that if students pay $X, than it will only cost the government $X more to eliminate tuition completely.  It's basic math.

I was never good at math. Can you explain in a little more detail, please?

Fidel wrote:
Universities and colleges have to charge tuition fees as a result of the reduced federal funding since 1995. They have no choice, and no province, with the exception of Alberta perhaps, could possibly afford to fully fund PSE.

genstrike wrote:
They've had tuition fees before 1995, and provinces can easily afford to fully fund PSE.  They just don't want to.  For example, it would only take around 2% of the Manitoba budget to replace tuition fees.  How about you educate yourself on the issue, because I obviously know a hell of a lot more about this one than you do.

What's your source on the 2%, and wouldnt it have to come from somewhere? It's not that I dont trust your facts, it's just that I dont trust your impeccable source.

 

genstrike

Fidel wrote:
genstrike wrote:
Fidel wrote:

I wish you would educate yourself on the issues you apparently feel so strongly about. Tuition fees actually represent a small portion of the total cost of funding PSE.

I know that.  But I know that if students pay $X, than it will only cost the government $X more to eliminate tuition completely.  It's basic math.

I was never good at math. Can you explain in a little more detail, please?

If you add up all the money that students pay in tuition, that is how much it will cost the government to eliminate tuition.  It's as simple as that.

 

Fidel wrote:

Fidel wrote:
Universities and colleges have to charge tuition fees as a result of the reduced federal funding since 1995. They have no choice, and no province, with the exception of Alberta perhaps, could possibly afford to fully fund PSE.

genstrike wrote:
They've had tuition fees before 1995, and provinces can easily afford to fully fund PSE.  They just don't want to.  For example, it would only take around 2% of the Manitoba budget to replace tuition fees.  How about you educate yourself on the issue, because I obviously know a hell of a lot more about this one than you do.

What's your source on the 2%, and wouldnt it have to come from somewhere? It's not that I dont trust your facts, it's just that I dont trust your impeccable source.

I multiplied the number of students in Manitoba by the average tuition, and came up with less than $200 million (I think it was closer to $150 million).  I rounded up just to be on the safe side.

I looked at the Manitoba budget, and it was $12.2 billion last year.  $200 million is 2% of $10 billion, so it would be a number less than 2% in order to eliminate tuition completely.

These are just rough, back of the envelope calculations, but I'm rounding up a lot whenever possible, so if anything, I'm on the high side.  In fact, it would probably be closer to 1.5% or 1%, considering how much I rounded up.

As for where it can come from, in Manitoba we can just reverse some of the Doer tax cuts.  If that 2% ratio also holds for Ontario, you could reverse a small fraction of Mike Harris' tax cuts and you would have more than enough.

George Victor

Bookish Agrarian understands that we are in one huge financial pickle. He's trying to inject economic reality here.

 

genstrike

oops, double post

genstrike

Lord Palmerston wrote:
The ONDP we are told has to present the boldest most dynamic progressive platform ever (or something like that) - I don't think we need to get stuck on Gary Doer's third way Manitoba government.

Sorry about that... I was just challenging the notion that universal PSE is too expensive for a "bold" economic program.  I'm mostly familiar with the Manitoba numbers, but I can only assume that they would be proportional for Ontario.

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

genstrike demands universal PSE for Manitoba and the ONDP's platform only - and unionist prescribes Quebec's half-baked $7 dollar daycare for Ontario and flouting NAFTA with public auto regardless - but both of you are in favour of firing some number of separate school workers during a recession and refuse to support an equitable funding formula for public schools in a province neither of you reside in.

Running around in a panic shouting "the sky is falling".  I want the public school teachers fired and replaced by Catholics (with valid baptismal certificates), and the fired teachers will staff the new Ontario anti-Nafta Public Auto Insurance Offices. All schools will be closed by way of celebration, making funding formulae, equitable or no, redundant. You give me no credit for creativity.

Fidel

genstrike wrote:

If you add up all the money that students pay in tuition, that is how much it will cost the government to eliminate tuition.  It's as simple as that.

But your over-simplified scenario implies that all of the other costs of PSE not covered by tuition fees are being fully funded by both levels of government, and that just isnt true.  And you're talking liberal amounts here, billions of dollars pared back by Ottawa since, and it was 1993 actually.

So the total amount of money provinces would have to rob from their provincial budgets to cover PSE tuition fees, as you suggest might be done, still wouldnt cover the total cost of PSE shortfalls experienced by colleges and universities across Canada. Campuses and school buildings across Canada are falling apart and are underequipped today due to a lack of adequate total funding. Canada's universities actually have deferred funding costs to the tune of several billion dollars.

And there's only one other source universities can turn to for revenues, and that's to raise tuition fees liberally. 

Education and Canada's Future: Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (2007)

The CASA report makes liberal mention of federal cutbacks to PSE to the tune of several billion dollars since 1993 and that provinces are unable to make up that shortfall still. What's needed is dedicated federal funding for PSE. So while youre doing hand-stands and backflips to deflect blame from our old line parties in Ottawa for deliberally thieving several billion dollars from total PSE funding since 1993 and never replacing it, student associations across the country have identified the culprits. And not so strangely, Gary Doer's name is never mentioned.

Lord Palmerston

Well, I tried...

Lord Palmerston

So is it time to rename this thread "Gary Doer is great...the NDP is totally powerless to do anything radical or even progressive.

Fidel

Lord Palmerston wrote:
So is it time to rename this thread "Gary Doer is great...the NDP is totally powerless to do anything radical or even progressive.

I'm not saying these are not good ideas. I even like a few of genstrike's suggestions sans cat in the hat proposal for universal PSE. I even like Quebec's $7 dollar a day daycare. It's a start and forcing the issue I suppose.

And I think higher education should be freely accessible by every Canadian with academic merit. And that's another issue to be considered with freely accessible PSE as well. In some countries with no tuition fees, academic merit for entrance to universities tends to be a little higher. But if countries like Turkey and Poland can provide universallly accessible PSE, then surely we can.

Ontario's economy needs major injections of cash for modern and green infrastructure and investing in people. That much we have admitted in this thread.  And manufacturing has been in recession in Ontario for a few years running and now affecting the loss of associated jobs in surrounding industries. Where should the money come from in a recession? I think what's needed is some level of cooperation from the feds if terribly bold economic reform in Ontario is to happen  

madmax

I am so pleased to see an ONDP thread on the Economy.  There is some good debate and good ideas.  The moratorium on plant closures... now there is something bold.  Just go a step further, beyond the idea. How, why, How again, and could it work???? How do you determine the good from the bad.  I do know of HUNDREDS , HUNDREDS of manufacturers that announced the closures of Cdn operations, shortly after purchase. 

How do you sort out these from the bankruptcies, and the "orchestrated" bankruptcies??

Unionist

Good questions, madmax - the first thing is to embrace the concept, give government the authority, then establish criteria. Have a vast movement of expert input and public consultations. Involve the victims in the solutions. Let the ONDP do that, and a few other bold things as well.

Or, try the Gary Doer formula.

Fidel

And there are lots of conservative-minded voters in Manitoba who appreciate their low cost of living and the fact that NDP governments are the most fiscally responsible of all. Just sayin'

Doug

genstrike wrote:
[How is free education for all not progressive?

That's simple. It amounts to giving a big subsidy to students from higher-income families who disproportionately attend PSE. Lower tuition will only make a marginal difference to this because the other costs associated with PSE are larger when you combine books, transportation, food and housing. The opportunity cost involved in not working or at least not working as much is also important. Also, the most important barriers to post-secondary education are put in place earlier in life. Poor children don't do as well in elementary school and this effect persists through high school. Poorer children also aren't as encouraged/forced to aim for PSE by their parents.

So, if we have some extra money to put into education, we can blow it on lowering tuition and help a lot of people who probably don't need the help. Alternatively, we can be more cost-effective in opening up opportunities for PSE for students of working-class families and also for adults desiring to or being forced to make a career change.

Quote:
 

Ask the guys at Zanon tile how well expropriation is working for them.  There are plenty of examples where workers have been able to take over their factories and go right on producing.  And if a little retooling is necessary, then we can look at the above credit unions.

I'm not saying it can't happen, just that the opportunities for it are likely limited to a small portion of the factories in trouble.

Quote:

Right, whatever we do, don't piss off any capitalists?

Not needlessly while we're all still dependent on them for investment. This isn't the sort of relationship in our economy that we can change overnight.

Quote:
We're overproducing, destroying the environment, people are losing jobs, and you don't think it is a good idea to take a step back and have some people work less so others can work at all?

It doesn't work out that way. Since a lot of the costs of hiring on extra workers don't vary per worker regardless of how much or little they work, it pays employers to try to find ways of doing without instead of hiring on extra workers if the legal limit on hours is cut back. The employment-hours gained by new employees never equal the employment-hours lost from existing employees. So this makes reduced hours a great way of capturing more of the benefits of productivity for workers as leisure rather than pay, but it's not such a great way of redistributing employment.

Quote:
Also, there would be a lot of social and environmental benefits to reducing working hours. 

I thoroughly agree. But on the whole this doesn't create a whole lot of employment and neither the private or public sectors in the province are ready to adjust that quickly. There's also a question of individual preference. Some people just want to work more and I don't see any reason not to accommodate them to some extent.

genstrike

Doug wrote:

genstrike wrote:
[How is free education for all not progressive?

That's simple. It amounts to giving a big subsidy to students from higher-income families who disproportionately attend PSE. Lower tuition will only make a marginal difference to this because the other costs associated with PSE are larger when you combine books, transportation, food and housing. The opportunity cost involved in not working or at least not working as much is also important. Also, the most important barriers to post-secondary education are put in place earlier in life. Poor children don't do as well in elementary school and this effect persists through high school. Poorer children also aren't as encouraged/forced to aim for PSE by their parents.

Not that I want to take over this thread with tuition issues, but...

Sorry, this is the kind of argument that neoliberal hacks like Bob Rae and Alex Usher disingenuously push in order to sucker progressives into supporting regressive policies like high tuition.

Hugh MacKenzie from the CCPA (damn it, the link isn't working) pretty much demolished this argument by showing that subsidizing tuition is a net transfer from the rich to the poor.  Tuition fees themselves are regressive, the less money you make the higher the percent you have to spend on tuition.  Subsidized tuition is progressive because it is supported by progressive taxation, and even after years of neoliberalism and increasing tuition fees, it is still a net transfer from the rich to the poor.  Yes, people from upper-class backgrounds are a little overrepresented (although university is far from a haven of the rich, although some people want to make it that way), but they also pay more into the system due to their tax rates.  The upper class pays a higher proportion than the proportion of students from the upper class who attend, and the lower class pays less than the proportion of lower class students who attend, so it's definitely progressive.  Unfortunately, this system is under attack by the very same people who claim to want to help low-income students by raising their tuition then giving them a bursary.

Also, in various surveys, a majority of people have cited cost as the main reason they didn't go to university.  And there are a lot of people with financial problems who have difficulty getting bursaries, or who don't know how to navigate the bursary system, and thus stay away from university.

I agree that eliminating tuition isn't the only thing that has to be done (you do lose a lot of earning potential for a few years, so some people would need programs like living allowances and such, and I know how expensive textbooks are), but ask any student who is having trouble making their January tuition payment, and they will agree that eliminating tuition would help them a lot.

 

Doug wrote:

So, if we have some extra money to put into education, we can blow it on lowering tuition and help a lot of people who probably don't need the help. Alternatively, we can be more cost-effective in opening up opportunities for PSE for students of working-class families and also for adults desiring to or being forced to make a career change.

So, if this argument is taken to its logical conclusion, you would oppose any sort of universal social programs because some people who use them don't need the help.  Would you support bringing in tuition fees for elementary and high school, but give out bursaries to poor families?  How about two-tier healthcare, as the rich don't need the help paying for it?  Maybe we can bring back means tests too.

Sadly, tuition these days is higher than it has been since at least the 40s, and shows no signs of going down in the near future.  Wanting to keep it that high is not a progressive position.  Would you at least support cutting tuition to the levels it was at 20, 30, or 40 years ago, when my premier took out a student loan and had such difficulty paying it off that they had to garnish his salary when he was a cabinet minister?

George Victor

"And there are lots of conservative-minded voters in Manitoba who appreciate their low cost of living and the fact that NDP governments are the most fiscally responsible of all. Just sayin'."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bears repeating, Fidel. And the great unread were polled to make sure that that was their first concern.

B ut the NDP in Saskatchewan have historically been re-elected to bring about re-balancing of the books. Go figure their fate. Ah for the return of C.B. Macpherson to explain the fate of his Agrarian Socialism.Great theory but temporally challenged.

Lord Palmerston

This is funny...a thread about really bold policies that NDP should be doing turns into a thread about Gary Doer.

Fidel

It's even funnier that our two old line parties never really identified their policies as "neoliberal" over the last 30 years. And now we have political conservatives like Baird mentioning Keynes in every second sentence.

Lost in Bruce County

Here's a bold policy: NDP provincial governments should team up and introduce their very own trade & investment management agreement (TILMA) only these inter-provincial agreements will focus on labour rights and job generation. Such agreements will make the provincial labour force more competitive and secure rather than trade and investment. The underlying philosophy will be that if you invest in the skills, abilities, and security of a work force, the stability and enhanced quality of the workforce will provide the secure base needed for new business to flourish and jobs to be created. As such, NDP interprovincial agreements will further entrench labour rights because they will be locked into interprovincial agreements. The agreements will also secure made in Canada (or involved provinces) legislation as such policy lends stability and predictability in the local economies. Contrary to TILMA, these agreements will promote protection and investment in environmental and healthcare legislation because workers are more desirable and productive when they are healthy and live in healthy, sustainable environments. These agreements will entrench greater investment in our education systems and will hopefully lead to free post-secondary education and a universal childcare system. I think it would be very bold of provincial NDP parties to offer an interprovincial plan to boost job creation and to enhance and entrench labour rights.

Doug

genstrike wrote:

Also, in various surveys, a majority of people have cited cost as the main reason they didn't go to university.  And there are a lot of people with financial problems who have difficulty getting bursaries, or who don't know how to navigate the bursary system, and thus stay away from university.

And again, even after the massive hikes over the last 15 years, tuition is among the least of these costs. We should attack the biggest parts of the problem first.

Quote:
I agree that eliminating tuition isn't the only thing that has to be done (you do lose a lot of earning potential for a few years, so some people would need programs like living allowances and such, and I know how expensive textbooks are), but ask any student who is having trouble making their January tuition payment, and they will agree that eliminating tuition would help them a lot.

Sure it would help. But if you lower tuition you're helping the students who drive to school in a BMW too and this is perhaps not the most efficient use of resources.

Quote:
So, if this argument is taken to its logical conclusion, you would oppose any sort of universal social programs because some people who use them don't need the help. 

Universal programs are always the ideal, but they can't just be willed into existence without the means to pay for them. When resources are limited, you go with what's most cost-effective.

Quote:

Sadly, tuition these days is higher than it has been since at least the 40s, and shows no signs of going down in the near future.  Wanting to keep it that high is not a progressive position.  Would you at least support cutting tuition to the levels it was at 20, 30, or 40 years ago, when my premier took out a student loan and had such difficulty paying it off that they had to garnish his salary when he was a cabinet minister?

Ontario doesn't have the money to eliminate (or hugely reduce) tuition without raising taxes by a good chunk. Certainly not while addressing the other barriers to PSE as well. Public opinion might not be as tax-phobic as it used to be, but I think it's still worth being cautious on the subject. We also have a lot of other things to pay for beside PSE. Renewing infrastructure, expanding public transit, reforming social assistance to reduce poverty and as always, health care are all on the next Ontario government's plate. I don't think myself that it's politically possible to do in one step.

So, if I'm the Minister of Colleges and Universities, here's the sort of things I'd want to try and get money for. A tuition freeze (or at least holding tuition to inflation) at Ontario universities while reducing tuition at community colleges. Re-regulation of tuition for professional and graduate programs. Increased means-tested grants for living expenses, books and child care. An expanded Second Career program. That's both realistic and progressive.

Lord Palmerston

Doug wrote:
Ontario doesn't have the money to eliminate (or hugely reduce) tuition without raising taxes by a good chunk.

And what's wrong with raising taxes (on corporations and the wealthy)?  Don't social democrats believe in a more progressive tax system?

You won't be getting any progressive and encompassing job creation programs without increasing taxes.

Or are you of the belief that we should try to lure investment with "competitive" taxes, etc.?

Unionist

Take money from individuals to pay for social needs!?

LP, are you trying to blaze some new treacherous trail for the ONDP?

Surely they need to get elected on a Liberal platform first; then govern for a few terms like Tories; and then, maybe, bring out the real agenda.

That's what Ed Broadbent meant, I think, when he spoke of a "very comprehensive view of social democracy".

ETA: On a serious note, I liked Lost in Bruce County's approach.

Lord Palmerston

It's time for the NDP to be bold: we can no longer afford Jack Layton and Paul Summerville's "no new taxes" pledge (at least he didn't say "read my lips") of 2006. 

George Victor

Summerville was onside for one year of dalliance. But wouldn't it be something just to be able to hold the line on tax cuts?  The emergency stimulation budgeting and Keynesian theory certainly does not support tax cuts at this time. However, the great unread are not into Keynes much. How do you get them onside, LP?

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

George Victor wrote:

 However, the great unread are not into Keynes much. How do you get them onside, LP?

 

An honest, ethical daily newspaper. /pipe dreaming

Fidel

Lord Palmerston wrote:
 And what's wrong with raising taxes (on corporations and the wealthy)?  Don't social democrats believe in a more progressive tax system?

I think it's not a good idea to piegon-hole one country's social democrat model for taxation as a cookie cutter model for all. Sweden began taxing corporations at low rates and then Ireland and so on. But those tend to be small countries trying to compete with larger ones. Low corporate versus high consumption taxation has worked for Nordic countries. But that's not necessarily a good model for Canada to follow, unless if wanting to copy Norway's sovereign wealth fund for oil exports.

The Liberals, as Liberals will do, have tried to copy the Nordic race to the bottom with reducing statutory corporate tax rates from 28% in 2000 to 21% in 2006. And during that time Canada experienced a net decrease in FDI. The NDP isnt sold on corporate tax races to the bottom except where small provincial economies are concerned and competing within Canada.

If the feds increased overall taxation across Canada to just the OECD average as a percentage of GDP (as it was pre-global meltdown of financial capitalism), then add ~ $35 billion more to federal revenues.

And if Ottawa was to raise overall taxation to the EU-15 average(again, p-md), then ~ $75 billion more federal revenues could be realized.

The NDP realizes Canada has leeway on overall taxation as well as in regard to taxing natural resource exports in a time of dangerous climate change. I think governments would be justified in raising taxes on oil and natural gas exports. And most importantly, Ottawa needs to renegotiate the dumbest free trade deal in world history, NAFTA, as Jack Layton has stated several times. The Liberals really got taken to the cleaners with that one, and so did all Canadians.

janfromthebruce

Fidel, I agree with you here and your proposal was rationally stated. I am glad you moved beyond glib commentary. Bravo!

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

Unionist

Fidel didn't comment on raising taxes on the wealthy.

Stockholm

"It's time for the NDP to be bold: we can no longer afford Jack Layton and Paul Summerville's "no new taxes" pledge (at least he didn't say "read my lips") of 2006. "

It made sense to pledge not to raise taxes in 2006 because at that time there was a gigantic surplus at the federal level and plenty of money to spend on new programs. There is a a time and a place for everything and promising to raise taxes when the federal government has a ten billion dollar surplus doesn't make sense. Now we are in a totally different situation.

genstrike

Doug wrote:

Sure it would help. But if you lower tuition you're helping the students who drive to school in a BMW too and this is perhaps not the most efficient use of resources.

And if you give out free healthcare, you're helping people who drive to the hospital in a BMW.  And if you give out free K-12, you're helping people who drive their kids to school in a BMW.  How is this any less efficient than giving out free PSE?

If we can all agree that education is really really important, I don't see why it shouldn't be made into a universal program, along with other really really important things like healthcare and K-12.

Quote:
Universal programs are always the ideal, but they can't just be willed into existence without the means to pay for them. When resources are limited, you go with what's most cost-effective.

I have proposed a means to pay for it.  Reverse a small fraction of Mike Harris' tax cuts.  Raise taxes on the rich.  It's really not as expensive as a lot of people think it is.  Tons of other countries can pull it off, even countries with fractions of our GDP per capita.  Cuba can do it, and they have what, 1/8, 1/10 of our per capita GDP?

And if the level of government responsible can't will a social program into existence, who can?  Tommy Douglas didn't wait for the magical healthcare faries to come and deliver universal healthcare (or maybe he did, that's why it took him 15 years to get around to it)

Quote:
Ontario doesn't have the money to eliminate (or hugely reduce) tuition without raising taxes by a good chunk. Certainly not while addressing the other barriers to PSE as well. Public opinion might not be as tax-phobic as it used to be, but I think it's still worth being cautious on the subject. We also have a lot of other things to pay for beside PSE. Renewing infrastructure, expanding public transit, reforming social assistance to reduce poverty and as always, health care are all on the next Ontario government's plate. I don't think myself that it's politically possible to do in one step.

Oh, and we can't possibly raise taxes, Mike Harris would be pissed!

Here's another bold policy:  reverse everything Mike Harris has ever done within one year of getting elected.  Instead of having to deal with his policies which continue to impact the province, make him nothing more than a bad memory.  Then the province might actually have the resources to do what they used to do.

Quote:
So, if I'm the Minister of Colleges and Universities, here's the sort of things I'd want to try and get money for. A tuition freeze (or at least holding tuition to inflation) at Ontario universities while reducing tuition at community colleges. Re-regulation of tuition for professional and graduate programs. Increased means-tested grants for living expenses, books and child care. An expanded Second Career program. That's both realistic and progressive.

Okay, so you support essentially keeping tuition fees at the whatever level that Mike Harris and Dalton McGuinty left them at.  Ergo, you essentially support Harris and McGuinty's policies on tuition.  That isn't bold and progressive, that's a certain Manitoba premier who shall remain nameless.

 

This is what I hate about pretty much every parliamentary leftist in the country.  All our demands are too much and too risky for them, but they still think they are entitled to our support.  So it's no surprise that whenever someone comes along with a reasonable, socialist demand that is a reality in many other countries (If Cuba can do it, there's no reason why a country with 8-10 times the per capita GDP can't), the "left" is just as quick to shoot it down as the right.  Meanwhile, while the "left" is afraid to move the province more than a quarter of an inch to the left, whenever the right gets in they shove it a foot to the right.

Here's a bold policy:  Don't be Gary Doer or Bob Rae.

Lord Palmerston

Stockholm wrote:
It made sense to pledge not to raise taxes in 2006 because at that time there was a gigantic surplus at the federal level and plenty of money to spend on new programs. There is a a time and a place for everything and promising to raise taxes when the federal government has a ten billion dollar surplus doesn't make sense. Now we are in a totally different situation.

Paul Martin, arguably the most rightwing Finance Minister in Canadian history, made the tax system much more regressive and massively gutted social programs.  The NDP, including Layton, has rightly blasted the Liberals (and the Tories) for that.  So if the tax system was so unfair, why wouldn't the NDP support an increase in taxes on corporations and the wealthy?  

Pages