Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Political Rhetoric Pierced

Hyperbole is, of course, a mainstay of political campaigns, as those vying for public office offer a blunt message to potential voters. Keep it simple and repetitive seems the overarching strategy, never more apparent than in young Tim Hudak's 1 million jobs plan. Will people be fooled by his claim that with the destruction of 100,000 good-paying jobs that provide much-needed services to Ontarians, Phoenix-like from their ashes will arise more jobs than there are people seeking them?

Judging by these recent letters from Star readers, I suspect he has his job cut out for him:

Re: Hudak’s popularity takes a hit over jobs plan, May 14

So on the one hand, Tim Hudak is going to create 1 million jobs in Ontario. On the other hand he is going to eliminate 100,000 jobs from the civil service. One can only wonder what kind of jobs he’s going to create. Minimum wage? Part time? No benefits? No pensions?

This is war on the working people of Ontario. We’ve seen this kind of politicking before under the inimitable Mike Harris, Hudak’s mentor and go-to boy. One can only hope that the electorate doesn’t buy into this kind of small mindedness.

Stephen Bloom, Toronto

Tim Hudak has revealed his platform, and his great plan for Ontario is to lay off 100,000 civil servants. It is hard to believe the audacity of this man. Not only has he decided to let these people go, he’s inferred that they are just rather worthless employees, living off the fat of the government, and of course, running up the poor taxpayer’s tab.

Mary Pucknell, Whitby

Hudak’s promise of a million jobs is like my 3-year-old telling me that one cookie is not enough, she wants a million. I for one am tired of politicians glibly using terms like unemployment without giving any thought to the underemployment of our precariat class. Let’s not oversimplify a complex and serious problem with meaningless talk and myopic platforms.

Matthew Ferguson, Oakville

Tim Hudak, a trained economist, would have us believe that supply-side economics works despite the evidence in recent years. That we are still in anemic economic growth six years after the Great Recession is sufficient evidence to prove that low corporate taxes in Ontario and Canada will not boost the economy.

Canadian businesses have tens of billions of cash to invest but they are not investing. Why? The opportunity to profit is not there because economic growth is driven by consumption and the ultimate consumer is us. Business investment depends on consumers buying.

Hudak repeats daily that he will create a million jobs by reducing corporate taxes further and eliminating 100,000 public sector jobs. He operates with a blind belief that this would increase profits for business and thus attract them to invest in Ontario.

Where Hudak fails is identifying who is going to buy the stuff and services that business is selling. As more wealth is shifted to the top 20 per cent, leaving 80 per cent of the population with less to spend, overall consumption is going to be stagnant at best if not decline. If consumers are not buying, there is no profit for business to make. Even if corporate tax is reduced to zero, when there is no demand, business will not invest.

Plants of U.S. companies are moving back to the U.S. It is not because we are not competitive. These plants were here because they cater to a sizable Canadian market then as well as the U.S. market. As consumption here decreases due to unemployment and lower incomes, there is no reason for those plants to be here.
Business need us to buy. If we don’t have the means to buy, business won’t have a reason to invest, or to exist. That’s basic economics which right-wing politicians don’t seem to get.

Salmon Lee, Mississauga

You can read more of these well-considered rebuttals to Hudak's fantasies here.

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