The federal government’s continued obsession with austerity and balancing the budget comes at the cost of higher household debt, fewer services, and weakened job growth. Canadians have better options that could lift many out of poverty and reduce inequality.
That’s the message in the 2015 Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
The proposed budget would lift 893,000 Canadians out of poverty, reduce income inequality, boost economic growth, and create or sustain 300,000 jobs a year, bringing Canada’s employment rate back to its pre-recession level.
CUPE researchers have reviewed and contributed to the AFB. Now in its 20th year, the proposed budget brings together expert opinions from leading Canadian economists and sector experts across the country. It provides a clear demonstration of what can be accomplished in a federal budget as we head into a federal election.
No federal or provincial government has ever measured the distributional impact of its fiscal and tax policies. This year, the Alternative Federal Budget does precisely that—demonstrating the aggregate impact of its proposed taxation, transfers and program spending changes.
“The Alternative Federal Budget demonstrates that we can afford to make different choices,” says CCPA Senior Researcher Kate McInturff. “The AFB would ensure that every community has safe drinking water, affordable housing, and effective infrastructure. Our budget would provide affordable childcare for working parents, and access to necessary prescription drugs and dental care for those who can’t afford it.”
Under the AFB:
- The poverty rate for seniors would drop by 43 per cent and child poverty would be reduced by 25 per cent.
- The bottom 70 per cent of Canadian families would see a net benefit from the AFB’s program spending, tax and transfer measures.
- Canada’s personal and corporate tax system would be reformed to restore fairness and progressivity.
Small federal deficits would be created as a necessary means for achieving sustained economic growth, particularly next year, without affecting the federal debt-to-GDP ratio.