In the Long Run We're All Dead
The Canadian Turn to Fiscal Restraint
Canadian politics in the 1990s were characterized by an unwavering focus on the deficit. At the beginning of the decade, it seemed that fiscal deficits were intractable – a fait accompli of Canadian politics – yet by the end of the decade, Ottawa had taken remarkable actions to eliminate its budgetary shortfalls and had successfully eradicated its deficits. How such a radical change of political course came to pass is still not well understood.
In The Long Run We’re All Dead: The Canadian Turn to Fiscal Restraint offers the first comprehensive scholarly account of this vital public policy issue. Lewis deftly analyzes the history of deficit finance from before Confederation through Canada’s postwar Keynesianism to the retrenchment of the Mulroney and Chrétien years. In doing so, he illuminates how the political conditions for Ottawa’s deficit elimination in the 1990s materialized after over 20 consecutive years in the red, and how the decline of Canadian Keynesianism has made way for the emergence of politics organized around balanced budgets.
This important book provides scholars and students of Canadian politics with a new framework by which to understand the adoption of government policy, the economic and fiscal legacy of the Mulroney administrations, and the emergence of the new “politics of the surplus.” It will be of great interest to those engaged with Canadian politics, political economy, and public policy, as well as to participants in policy processes and the informed public.
Not long ago, deficits were seen as positive things in Canada. Now deficits are seen as evil. Timothy Lewis has just published a fascinating book which traces the transformations of Canadian attitudes. [It] is an illuminating account of the interaction between ideas and politics, between economic theories and political limitations, possibilities or necessities.
A thoughtful, detailed analysis of deficit politics and its relationship to the role of ideas in shaping both public policies and public perceptions of them ...[It is] an effective teaching and analytical tool for instructors and students of public policy.
This is the story of the passing of the Keynesian economic policy era in Canadian federal politics. Lewis pulls all the strands together in a theoretically-informed, historically rich, and engagingly written narrative. In doing so, he makes an important contribution to a field of study that is central to political science, public administration, and policy analysis.
The best examination of Canadian fiscal politics in ages, a long overdue and accessible analysis of how Keynesian deficit policy was transformed from an acceptable to an unacceptable notion over the second half of the twentieth century. This is a brilliantly sweeping historical, theoretical, and political study. In the long run, Canadian policy analysts and citizens will benefit from the insights and political options that it provides, including the promise of a possible political resurrection of Keynesian ideas.
1 Fiscal Politics
2 Deficit Finance in Historical Perspective
3 The Political Economy of Economic Decline
4 Persisting Keynesian Conceptualizations of Deficit Finance, 1975-84
5 Restructuring Power Relations
6 The Priority of Structural Reform, 1984-93
7 Economic Insecurity and the Political Conditions for Deficit Elimination
8 Only Nixon Can Go to China, 1993-8
9 Maynard Where Art Thou?
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