Once we have immunity to the virus, there is going to be so much pent-up demand for these currently devastated sectors that fiscal stimulus won’t be our problem, writes William Watson in the Financial Post. Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be read in full here

By William Watson, December 2, 2020 

On page v of the “Fall Economic Statement” we read: “Fiscal guardrails will help establish when the stimulus will be wound down.”

On page 72 of the “Fall Economic Statement” we read: “Fiscal guardrails will help establish when the stimulus will be wound down.”

On page 110 of the “Fall Economic Statement” we read: “Fiscal guardrails will help establish when the stimulus will be wound down.”

Do you get the impression that fiscal guardrails will have something to do with when the stimulus gets wound down? Give Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland credit for consistency, at least. She sticks to her talking points even when she isn’t talking, but writing. Or at least when her people are writing for her. Some say the government’s emergency fiscal assistance has been characterized by excessive redundancy. Its own writing about it certainly is.

In fact, the fiscal guidelines referred to aren’t really fiscal. They’re economic: “These indicators include the employment rate, total hours worked and the level of unemployment in the economy,” which you can read on both pages 7 and 72, though on p. 110 the indicators are slightly different: “the overall employment rate, level of unemployment and the total hours worked in the economy” — though there is no substantive difference between the overall employment rate and the employment rate. What is conspicuous by its absence is the unemployment rate, which is because it is notorious, at a time like this, for not counting people who have left the labour force.

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