Submission to the Government of Canada Proposing Economic Recovery through a Full Employment Program
Publisher: United Electical Radio and Machine Workers of America
Proposing Economic Recovery through a Full Employment Program
Year Published: 1977
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX334
An article discussing the possibility of a "great depression" occuring in the 1970s.
Abstract: A central position of this brief is that the people of Canada poised on the brink of the worst economic depression since the 1930's, a depression which promises to exceed the "Great Depression" in severity in terms of human suffering and loss and social disruption. It is due in the main to a fantastic expansion of consumer credit to a degree undreamed of four decades ago. (In Canada presently over $26 billion is owed by consumers, excluding residential mortgages). Working people do have a right to expect protection of the purchasing power of their of their earnings but now their expectations run counter to wishes and interests of the corporations, and so the damper on expectations of the working class is again a central feature of government approach to the economy.
Historically there has been unnecessary unemployment because the economy went unplanned. But this has been amplified by deliberate government policy to fight inflation with higher unemployment. Now we have both. Corporate profits have been protected at the expense of the mass of people.
The Conference Board now predicts 7.9% unemployment for 1977 and a 10% increase in corporate profits. While 889,000 Canadians were officially unemployed in January, the real figure is likely between half again and double that figure (perhaps 14 - 20%). Layoffs have become heavy as well. An estimated 16% cut-back in employment in companies directly involved in electrical manufacturing for the UE and about 7% for the IUE. Similar declines are taking place in other industries.
The largest increases for unemployment are in Ontario, the most industrially developed province.
The brief makes the following proposals:
1) Remove wage controls retroactively to October 14, 1976 and impose strict price controls. Price control is the main instrument for fighting inflation.
2)Start a government housing program to reduce prices.
3) Cut taxes by 15% on incomes under $20,000 and increase Social Security by 15%.
The estimated impact of these proposals would be to add $10 billion to Canada's GNP for 1977.