The final report of the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, which was chaired by former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins, recommends a universal pharmacare program with Ottawa covering all incremental costs. We offer a second opinion. There are better, cheaper ways to achieve the same goal. The council’s proposal would begin by covering 136 essential medicines as of 2022. As many observers have repeatedly warned, a one-size national program would not mesh well with existing provincial drug programs, nor with the provincially managed and funded doctor and hospital services that run alongside them. Because provincial tax-funded drug programs have varying levels of coverage and costs, the advisory...
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), once a relatively obscure branch of macroeconomics, has recently gained star status. It is riding high in the popular press in the U.S. and has been endorsed by many in the left wing of the Democratic party as a way of financing massive spending programs such as the “Green New Deal” and “Medicare for All.” MMT holds that a country with its own currency doesn’t have to worry about accumulating government debt: it can always print money to service the interest on its debt and pay down the principal. If this seems like magical thinking, it’s probably because it is. MMT’s basis is that fiscal policy is the key to achieving full employment, using the printing of money to finance government spending. (“Printing...
The idea of an annual wealth tax has taken on new prominence since French economist Thomas Piketty famously proposed a global wealth tax in 2013. Senator Elizabeth Warren has made a national wealth tax a plank in her campaign to become the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. And, the NDP recently announced that its election platform would include a one percent tax on the net worth of Canadians in excess of $20 million. The current interest in wealth taxation is a response to the increase in wealth concentration and income inequality that has occurred in most OECD countries. It has been well documented that both income and wealth inequality have risen significantly in recent decades. An annual wealth tax might seem like a...