Canada's parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page has been exonerated by legitimate economists of accusations by pretend-economist Stephen Harper that Page's deficit warnings were "dumb."
The self-styled "Smartest Man in the Room" and part-time chair kicker had a sphincter malfunction when the budget officer said Canada was now running a structural deficit and would either have to raise taxes or cut spending before the budget would ever return to surplus.
"Not So" yelled the indignant man who has shown himself persistently inept and wrong-minded about this recession from well before it began. Furious that the budget officer should deign to tell Canadians the truth, Harper slammed Page, saying, "That’s a very dumb policy and, to the extent, frankly, that the parliamentary budget officer suggested it, it’s a dumb position.”
Of course Kevin Page's "dumb policy" was to presume he was able to speak candidly and honestly with the Canadian public and not first submit his remarks for "adjustment" by Harper's political commissars within the PMO. As the folks at DND and EnviroCan know, that sort of thing is a hanging offence in Harper's government.
Harper claims Canada's federal government will be rolling in a $700-million surplus by 2013-2014 (provided always that the Tories are not in power by then). Harper also claims the earth is 6,000 years old, global warming is a myth and tinfoil hats really do make watching television much more enjoyable. The insolent Page, however, foresees a deficit of $16.7 billion by then.
Harper's position is backed by, well, nobody except possibly his cherubic little finance minister with the impossibly red face. Page is backed by real economists:
“Kevin’s numbers are quite close to the numbers we put out,” said Toronto Dominion Bank’s chief economist Don Drummond. “It depends on whether you think we can grow our way out of this deficit and our view, and Kevin Page’s view, is that’s not the most likely outcome.”
Veteran Bay Street economist Dale Orr also reportedly backed up Page’s numbers in a statement his Toronto-based consultancy released yesterday. It predicted the budget deficit in 2013-14 at around $15 to $20 billion and suggested new taxes or cuts to spending would have to be considered.