Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Doing Well Indeed

Here's a great letter to the editor written by Cheryl Stadnichuk, which appears in the August 20, 2008 issue of the Regina Leader-Post. Cheryl is research officer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees in Saskatchewan. The letter is reproduced in it's entirety below, and can be viewed in it's on-line version by clicking here.
Doing well indeed

The July issue of SaskTrends Monitor reveals interesting statistics about who is benefitting the most from the current economic boom in Saskatchewan.

It points out that average weekly earnings have grown by an average of 3.5 per cent per year from 2002 to 2007. Aggregate employment income has grown by six per cent per year in the same period. Average wage increases have been higher than the cost of living, but do not come close to the increases in corporate profits. From 2002 to 2007, corporate profits before taxes grew from $4.8 to $12.5 billion, or by an average of 21 per cent per year, the Monitor points out.

Data from the Saskatchewan Bureau of Statistics shows how the distribution of wealth is shifting in favour of corporations. From 2002 to 2007, the labour income share of gross domestic product (GDP) dropped from 42.2 per cent to 38.5 per cent of provincial GDP, while corporate profits jumped from 13.3 per cent to 24.5 per cent of GDP in the same period. It is mind-boggling to think that corporate profits represent one-quarter of the province's GDP.

Though the economy is booming and profits are exploding, government revenues from corporate capital tax have actually declined because of government tax cuts. In 2005-06, it received $513 million in revenues from corporate capital tax, which dropped to $431 million in 2007-08.

For years, we've heard the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce whine about how labour laws and taxes made life hard for business. It is obvious business was doing very well long before any labour law was reformed.

I wonder if they are willing to share the profits created by labour's productivity?

Cheryl Stadnichuk

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