Peasants & Emperors is a podcast presenting topics related to democracy, science, culture, women’s issues, current events and critical thinking. A new podcast is produced and available for listening/download approximately every two weeks.
In episode 12, the Hooligans discuss the recent federal budget passed by the Trudeau administration in Canada.
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Notes & Clarifications
1). President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made his famous “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” remarks during his Inaugural Address as president in 1932. Roosevelt was speaking in the context of the challenges confronting the United States during the Great Depression.
2). Jessica raised the question about whether or not the Liberal’s budget included some sort of jobs plan or funding for retraining oil patch workers. Aside from making some changes to unemployment insurance and some vague promises about money for infrastructure, there’s nothing in the budget for retraining people working in the energy sector.
3). During the podcast, the hooligans discussed reforms made to student bursaries as presented in the 2016 budget. Rick observed students from low income families would receive a greater degree of financial support than students coming from middle income families. Rick made the mistake of associating the “poverty line” (drawn at around the 15 to 17 thousand dollars a year range) with “low income,” i.e. a family of four making $41,500 dollars a year is by definition low income while a middle, or median, income for a family of four is $86,600 dollars.
4). In the podcast, Rick observed that the economic tactic of “pump priming” an economy recover has never worked in history. In reality pump priming did work once (sort of). In 1939 the Western democracies got out of the Great Depression by pouring billions of dollars in to defense spending. The defense spending dramatically reduced unemployment, encouraged industrialization and promoted mass consumption. However, there was some concern, following the end of World War II, that depression era conditions would return without all the government spending. The danger was averted by the promotion of mass consumption and the re-purposing of factories from producing tanks, bombs, guns and ships, etc. to making cars, dishwashers, homes, suburbs, and so on. For more on post-World War II economics please see Yanis Varoufakis’s The Global Minotaur.