Deficits & Debt

— May 17, 2022
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Do Budget Deficits Matter?

When is it Appropriate to Run Budget Deficits? and James M. Buchanan and the Political Economy of Debt Financing are two essays in a new series on government deficits that address the federal government’s habit of running deficits, and emphasize lessons pioneered by Nobel-laureate economist James Buchanan on government deficits and the burden on future generations.

— May 12, 2022
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What Changed in Alberta from the Fall 2021 Mid-year Update to Budget 2022

What Changed in Alberta from the Fall 2021 Mid-year Update to Budget 2022 is a new study that finds following a windfall in resource revenue, the recent Alberta budget increased program spending by $4 billion over the next three years. This increase in spending is above and beyond what would be required to keep pace with inflation and population growth.

— Mar 31, 2022
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Learning from Ontario’s Past

Learning from Ontario’s Past: How Ontario Can Avoid Another Post-Recession Debt Binge is a new study that focuses on how the provincial government could balance the budget by 2022/23, and what mistakes made by past governments should be avoided to ensure fiscal stability. Based on recent projections, the provincial government would need to reduce annual spending by $9.1 billion from its 2021/22 level to balance the budget in 2022/23—a 4.8 per cent decrease.

— Mar 1, 2022
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Ottawa’s Pattern of Excessive Spending and Persistent Deficits

Ottawa’s Pattern of Excessive Spending and Persistent Deficits is a new study that finds between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the federal government ran five consecutive deficits, causing the federal debt to rise by $112.2 billion—all prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, weakening federal finances as Canada headed into it.

— Jun 29, 2021
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Interest Cost Risks to Government Budgets

Interest Cost Risks to Government Budgets is a new study that examines what would happen to government interest costs (essentially the interest paid on outstanding debt) and government budgets if interest costs returned to the near-historically low levels of 2019-20. Crucially, government interest costs could increase to $35.2 billion in 2021-22, a rise of $13.1 billion from the current projection based on the latest government budgets.

— Jun 1, 2021
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Caution Required When Comparing Canada’s Debt to that of Other Countries

Caution Required When Comparing Canada’s Debt to that of Other Countries is a new study that finds Canada’s relative debt position is much worse than the federal government suggests when compared to a larger group of advanced countries. In fact, while Canada does have the lowest net debt to GDP in the G7, Canada’s position falls to 11th when the analysis is expanded to include 29 advanced countries, including many European countries and Australia. What’s more, when gross debt—and not net debt—are measured, Canada is the 25th most indebted country out of the 29 included in the study.