David Frum violates Canada’s “Professional Political Punditry” Standards

Canada is having an election this week and Ira Basen is demanding better campaigns and commenting on “The Spin Cycle”. This piece is directed at former Bush speechwriter David Frum as he opines on the Canadian political scene. Rules #3 and #4 are speak simply to “staying within yourself”and speaking to issues of competence. Basen wrote this nine days before this Frum piece at NRO.

Frum notes that Federal revenues have risen by 45% over the past decade as GDP rose by 67% and then writes “the lion’s share of Canadian economic growth in the 1990s was pocketed by government”. Taxes rose by a lower percentage than GDP and he suggests the government is taking the lion’s share of growth? See Brad DeLong and Sadly No correct this silly error.

DeLong notes that the share of GDP taken by Federal revenues fell from 18% to less than 16%, which means the share not taken rose by almost 72% in nominal terms. Frum also talks about the more modest rise in after-tax income per capita, but never applies this same metric to GDP or Federal revenues. But why not factor in the increase in prices, which was just over 20% along with the approximately 10% increase in population to look at these growth rates in real per capita terms. Of course when one does this, we see real GDP per person rose by about 25% while real Federal revenues per capita rose by less than 10%.

Yes, Isa Basen standards make a lot of sense to me but then I don’t write for the National Review.