Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Another note on Harper spending

The data from OPEC that I used to construct the government spending as a percentage of GDP graph - much more meaningful, btw, than Andrew Coyne style lamentations over "how much" Harper is spending in nominal or even real terms - used combined levels of expenditure from all levels of government. There are some provinces that are probably pressing down the figure, but there are others that are pushing it up - the Canadian social safety net is heavily administered at the provincial level thanks to section 92 of the Constitution.

The link below shows federal program expenditures as a percentage of GDP.


While program expenditures under the government are a higher percentage of GDP than they were right after the Chretein-Martin austerity measures, they're still not as a high as they were in the mid-1990s or during earlier decades. The rise in government spending as a percentage of GDP is likely the product of slower private sector growth due to the global downturn and and the (small) stimulus response via Canada's Economic Action Plan.

The "big spending" Harper meme that Andrew Coyne and Calgary Grit perpetuate is unfounded. Not that conservatism every was about "small government" - it's more about "big plutocracy".

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