Ideological cluelessness abounds

Harper speaks to reporters in Lima on November 23rd:

“Recent private sector forecasts suggest the strong possibility of a technical recession at the end of this year and the beginning of next,” Harper said [November 23] at a news conference in Lima, where he was attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. “I am surprised at this. I am further surprised by deflationary pressure that we’re seeing around world.”

Mock Turtle isn’t surprised by it — so why is the Prime Minister?

Meanwhile Flaherty acknowledges that Canada may be in a “technical recession.” What’s the difference between a technical recession and a real recession, you wonder? Well, in a technical recession you’re in an official recession, as opposed to a slowdown that companies and people feel but no data can confirm (and governments can, thus, deny). Rather than being a comforting mirage, a “technical recession” would seem to be a worse state of affairs than the generic, unqualified “recession.”

So, seeing as we’re on the verge of a recession, whose presence on the horizon is now unshrouded by the clouds that hid it from the Conservatives until yesterday, but the recession hasn’t yet technically happened, might we expect our far-seeing government to take some preventative measures to stave it off?

As it turns out — no. Seems we are just to wait until we are even more technically into a recession, and some more people have lost jobs, and then take action, after the fact. Why? Well, according to Flaherty:

“We have a stimulus of almost 2 percent of GDP in the Canadian economy . . . Fortunately, we acted in advance of other countries who have had to play catch-up on that stimulus.”

Let’s recap once more the package of tax breaks announced in the last federal budget, which have resolutely failed to stimulate consumer confidence, and the initial beneficial effects of which — if any — have now undeniably disintegrated entirely:

– Corporate income taxes cut an electrifying 1.1%, from 22.1% to 21%, in 2008.
– Additional 1% cut in GST mid-2008.
– Hmmm. Introduction of special tax credit for kids in organized sports?

I guess strong medicine like that takes a while to trickle down through the system.