Governments can't spend people back to work

Extrait de : Governments can't spend people back to work, Neil Reynolds, Globe and Mail, Sep. 12, 2011

In his rousing speech to the federal Liberal caucus the other day, Bob Rae promised that his party’s most important objective for the next four years would be “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He specifically called for more federal spending on infrastructure projects, presumably financed by more debt. This is ominous.

When governments buy jobs, they buy expensive ones –
or pay exorbitant prices for cheap ones.

On infrastructure projects, for example, they can easily run up a million-dollar expense for a single job-year of work.

The federal government proved this thesis two years ago when it spent $50-billion on infrastructure projects that did little or nothing to end Canada’s market-meltdown recession.

Citing Statistics Canada data on our GDP, quarter by quarter, Fraser Institute economists calculated:

that neither government spending (“consumption”) nor infrastructure spending (“investment”) contributed anything whatsoever (“a negligible role”) in the country’s economic turnaround.

The think tank’s assessment troubled Finance Minister Jim Flaherty – as, indeed, it should have. It’s presumably hard to admit that you may have spent billions of dollars for no productive purpose. But the Canadian experience wasn’t in any way remarkable. The United States blew proportionately more and got the same result. On his bus tour through Middle America a couple of weeks ago, President Barack Obama boasted of it. He stopped off at a Michigan company that got a $300-million federal grant to create 150 jobs at a battery plant – which meant that Washington “invested” $2-million for each of these relatively low-skill jobs.

Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers doesn’t actually say the country’s expenditure of almost $1-trillion created jobs. It says, rather, it “saved” jobs, a nebulous calculation that relies more on theory than on fact. (Note Mr. Rae’s reference, by the way, to the task of “finding” jobs for Canadians – as though they’d been inadvertently mislaid.)

In fact, the U.S. has experienced a net loss of 2.5 million jobs during Mr. Obama’s presidency – notwithstanding unprecedented public spending.

There’s nothing wrong with public spending on infrastructure projects. Things do need fixing. But there’s something wrong with funding it, in difficult times, with borrowed money. Why? Because stimulus spending – a phrase now banned, incidentally, by Democratic politicians in the U.S. – transforms job creation from a simple and relatively cheap process into a complicated and very expensive process.

Consider job creation in its most basic form: One person begins a business. This happens all the time and is the biggest source of new jobs. It happens so naturally, so easily and so often that no one notices. Economist Paul Davidson Reynolds says 12 per cent of Americans are engaged, at any single moment, in beginning a business – i.e., creating a job. This means that 39.6 million Americans are trying – always trying – to start businesses.

Il faut dire que les Américains l’ont dans le sang, travailler pour soi-même
est très valorisé aux États-Unis.

The typical entrepreneur apparently needs only $15,000 (U.S.) to get started and has $6,000 of personal savings to begin. The crucial factor is the entrepreneur’s ability to obtain $9,000 in capital. Of those who obtain it, a third will still be in business six years later. One in 15 will have employees – between 4.2 and 6.5 of them. Each new job will have required an up-front investment of only $31,169 and zero assistance from the state.

The point is that governments have no ability to direct job-creation capital to small-time putative entrepreneurs. Many of these people find the capital they need from family and friends; some get it from credit cards (banks). Either way, the capital comes from someone else’s savings. That’s why the economic system is called capital-ism – though it could as accurately be called saving-ism.

This is why governments need to encourage saving rather than spending. By doing so, they make more capital available for entrepreneurial investment.

C’est pour cela que je favorisais la position du NPD.

Yvon Godin, candidat néodémocrate


Le candidat du NPD affirme que le programme de son parti est équilibré. « En arrêtant de donner aux grosses pétrolières et aux banques, et en mettant l'argent au bon endroit, on va créer de l'emploi. Les gens avec cet argent vont payer des taxes. »


M. Godin soutient qu'il faut accorder des baisses d'impôts aux petits entrepreneurs plutôt qu'aux grandes entreprises. Son parti propose de hausser le taux d'imposition des entreprises à 19,5 %, Electrolux a eu droit à des baisses d'impôts et est parti quand même. On ne dit pas de ne pas baisser les impôts des individus, mais plutôt que de donner aux grandes entreprises, il faut des baisses d'impôts pour les petits entrepreneurs.


Source : Débat électoral sur l'économie : quatre visions s'affrontent



New taxes ruled


This year, Canada will have the lowest combined corporate income tax rate of all G7 countries.


Canada’s financial sector has been the greatest beneficiary 
of recent corporate income tax cuts.


These tax cuts helped fuel a major boom in stock markets and other asset markets, but this wasn’t reflected in stronger growth of the economy.


Instead of investing in productive physical capital, increasing amounts went to finance mergers, acquisitions, speculative investments and share buybacks. Even now, in the wake of the financial crisis, both financial and non-financial firms are using their excess profits and cash to finance buybacks of their shares instead of expansion of economic activity. Share buybacks raise stock prices, at least temporarily, often with the greatest benefit going to those who are paid in stock options such as the executives and managers who make those decisions.


Source: Établir de nouvelles taxes pour les banques

Two facts are worth noting: First, the U.S. personal savings rate is now 5 per cent (having recovered from a pre-crisis zero per cent). Second, China’s personal savings rate is 20 per cent – making it relatively more capitalist on a personal level than the U.S. or, for the moment at least, Canada.

Instaurer l’épargne va être difficile quand les taux d’intérêt frisent 0 % à la banque, et si on devait avoir des bonds d’États à 7 %, tout probablement l’ensemble des pays souverains serait sur le bord de la faillite.

Conséquence d’une décennie du crédit facile,
surendettement de l’État et du peuple.