Voodoo economics is what George H. W. Bush called the approach that was later called “Reaganomics.” According to voodoo economists, you cut taxes to create growth and reduce the deficit. It didn’t work for Reagan, of course – lower taxes combined with a massive spending program did stimulate the economy, but the tax cuts tripled the US Gross Federal Debt, from $900 billion to $2.7 trillion. Presidents Ford and Carter together only doubled the debt. After WWII it took the USA 31 years to accomplish the first postwar debt tripling, yet Reagan did it in eight.
By way of comparison, Canada’s Voodoo Economist, Steven Harper, is a bit of a piker – he has only increased the nation’s debt by about one third. Mind you, the debt was falling sharply under the previous government. It took him a whole year to generate his first huge deficit, but since then then he has stayed firmly in the negative numbers. That is despite his amazing but short-lived discovery that Canada is an “energy superpower.” There is a small chance he will just barely poke into surplus in 2016.
Overall, he has added about $160 billion to Canada’s debt, much to the dismay of his one-time supporters at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
One tragedy of the Harper years is that this debt was unnecessary. Canadians were paying for what they got and were paying down the national debt when he came to power. Mr Harper chose to cut taxes and start borrowing.
This is obviously not traditional “conservative” economics. It isn’t “Canadian Conservative” economics, either, since it was Conservative Brian Mulroney that brought in the GST that Harper so rashly cut. Mr Mulroney deserves some of the credit for Paul Martin’s success in taming the deficits that began in the 1980s.
Harper’s economics isn’t “Liberal” economics either, since the Liberals ran surpluses.
What we have here is Mr Harper’s own unique Canadian version of Voodoo Economics. And Voodoo economics isn’t real economics: it is basically a religion. Don’t expect Mr Harper to change his mind just because history has proven him wrong.