“There is always this assumption that people on welfare and low-income earners can just use the bus and that is the most appropriate form of transportation for them,” said Taylor, adding riding the bus is not necessarily the best alternative to owning a car.
From time to time I like to imagine that I deeply understand our country. And then I encounter a book like Brian Lee Crowley’s Fearful Symmetry, and come face to face with the great gaping holes in my education.
“The Long-Term Effects of Generous Income Support Program: Unemployment Insurance in New Brunswick and Maine, 1940-1991,” found only 5.7% of male workers and 3.3% of female workers in Maine collected benefits in 1990. Cross the northern border into Canada and 29.5% of male workers and 29.7% of female workers were on the dole. The authors estimated more liberal benefits in N.B. accounted for two thirds of this difference. They also found that since 1982, the joblessness rate in N.B. has consistently been above 12% whereas the out-of-work rate in Maine has routinely been below 8%.
The conventional view at Davos is that a previous consensus in favor of free enterprise has taken a huge beating from the Great Crash of 2008-2009. What is much less known is that many economists are not willing to play along. Instead, the crisis seems to have scared many economists of all kinds–including some previously heterodox–to reassert the orthodox recommendations of Econ 101.
“Insofar as ideology goes, I agree: it has no place in public policy. And here’s an extra useful condition: ideology should be ignored not only in bad economic times but also when government coffers overflow. I’m all for doing what is sensible.”
Canada has done more than survive this financial crisis. The country is positively thriving in it. Canadian banks are well capitalized and poised to take advantage of opportunities that American and European banks cannot seize.
WHEN the Obama administration finally unveils its proposal to get the economy on the road to recovery, the centerpiece is likely to be a huge increase in government spending. But there are ample reasons to doubt whether this is what the economy needs.