Friday, December 5, 2008

Comparative Economic Stimulus Outlooks

I want to write something comic but here I am in the realm of the somber again. World leaders announced plans in recent months to spend their way out of the global economic slowdown. Governments are scrambling to push their sluggish economies forward — almost always through more spending. At a meeting in Washington earlier in November, members of the Group of 20 nations agreed that they would individually draw up economic stimulus plans that would equal about two per cent of Gross Domestic Product in each of their countries.

Canada’s present status looks like this. Canada has not offered a spending package yet, hence the disgraceful bickering in Ottawa, but will in the next Conservative budget in January 2009 or in a Coalition Government’s budget should this partnership be sustained and be given the ooportunity to govern in the future. The Conservative Government’s position to date was that Canada had already introduced stimulus of 1.4% of Gross Domestic Product in 2008 and 2% next year and had taken measures to reduce GST. Finance Minister Flaherty contends that other countries have been trying to catch up to Canada contending that Canada acted in advance.

Here is a glimpse at how other countries are addressing this global downturn.
European Union has an Economic Recovery Plan containing the promise of stimulus representing 1.5 % of the EU Gross Domestic Product to the tune of 200 billion euros ($317 billion Cdn) over two years.
Brazil’s government is expected soon to announce its stimulus plans in view of its decreasing economic activity.
Mexico presented a $4.4 billion US ($5.4 billion Cdn) economic stimulus package in October designed to create jobs in light of its vulnerability to the U.S. slowdown.
Taiwan plans measures worth $482.9 billion ($18 billion Cdn), spread over four years, which includes $82.9 billion ($3 billion Cdn) in shopping vouchers to be used before Oct 1 2009.
Japan’s government pledged five trillion yen ($65 billion Cdn) in stimulus offerings to households and small businesses.
Australia will boost its economy 1 % of GDP with a $10.4 billion ($8.4 billion Cdn) strategy designed to support low and middle class families, help first time home buyers and training for jobs.
Italy plans a five billion euros (about $8 billion Cdn) package, or less than 0.5 per cent of the GDP to help banks, companies and families.
France will support its automobile and building industries with a 19 billion euro ($30 billion Cdn) package.
Germany over the next two years will effect a stimulus package worth 23 billion euros ($36 billion Cdn) and the package includes tax breaks on new cars and credit assistance to companies.
China will spend about four trillion yuan ($722 billion Cdn) over the next two years on infrastructure and social welfare, low cost hosing, transportation, health, education and technology and rebuilding disaster struck areas.
Britain announced an economic stimulus package worth 20 billion pounds ($37 billion Cdn). The amount is about 1 % of Britain's gross domestic product. The VAT or value-added tax is being reduced from 17.5%to 15%.
United States of America has already signed into law a $107-billion US economic stimulus package including help to low and middle income families, a $700-billion bailout of the financial services industry, and plans to finance another $800 million US (almost $1 billion Cdn), to make lower mortgage rates and other consumer loan rates possible.

Harper has his reprieve until January 26 2009. Our news until then will be full of nasty name calling and juvenile sniping from four quarters. It would be comic if this were not our national governing system! I'm doing my part. I am spending. I bought another Horton's coffee.

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