Saturday, January 24, 2009

With admirable low cunning the federal Conservative government has been leaking its budget plans in drubs and drabs, hoping to take the wind out of the opposition's sails. What has been released is seen as inadequate for the present situation by many economists. Another proposed budget has been released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Here are the highlights, courtesy of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Alternative Federal Budget released:
Will the feds go far enough? Economist Marc Lee, hopes so but fears not. Speaking on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Lee said the federal government's stimulus package - leaked yesterday - is only half as big as the IMF, OECD and others are recommending.

Worse still, it includes tax cuts which are used mainly to pay down household debt or are put into savings. Says Lee: "We will get better bang for the buck if we deliver money into the hands of those who will spend it right away, particularly those with lower incomes."

The CCPA's Alternative Federal Budget, released this week, details a stimulus package that would create jobs, invest in strategic long-term initiatives and help those who need it most.

The AFB also lists five things the actual federal budget should do:
***increase EI benefits from 55 per cent to 60 per cent of insured earnings and
extending the period for receiving those benefits to 50 weeks
***make a commitment to reduce poverty in Canada by 25 per cent in the next five years
***implement an ambitious social, physical and green public infrastructure
program to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs
***provides supports to corporations that keep the lights on in the short term but require them to become green and sustainable in the long term.
***emphasize spending over tax cuts.
The Alternative Federal Budget is coordinated by the CCPA and is the result of collaborative deliberations by representatives of a wide spectrum of civil society organizations.

CUPE is a member of the CCPA and actively participates in formulating the AFB.
Download the 2009 Alternative Federal Budget

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