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Quack remedies, economic blood letting & smears from Manitoba Forward director

Top: 2.6 million more Greek children entered
poverty following the recession, according
to 2014 Unicef report. 

Bottom: Dave Shorr full of suggestions
for helping Greek kids.

Image Source: (top)

Image Source: Dave Shorr (bottom)

Dave Shorr is best known for his stint as communications assistant to the Manitoba Liberals' ex-leader Jon Gerrard. In that role Shorr honorably served, taking a clearly anti-smoking line from Manitoba NDP MLA Jennifer Howard and twisting it into "seemingly endorsing smoking as a family tradition".
Here’s what Shorr wrote to me, with selected — and selective — quotes from Hansard:
 Shorr: A day after Nancy Allan sent her deputy minister to a high school in Steinbach, to close a shack for teenaged smokers,  Jennifer Howard is reminded of her comments from a house debate in 2008 seemingly endorsing smoking as a family tradition.


 Shorr again: Howard’s views are at odds with Allan’s efforts (to) reduce teen smoking in Manitoba high schools. Since the NDP have taken power, Manitoba has the highest rates in Canada for teen smoking.

 Shorr: Perhaps most shocking of all is that she seems to be remiss that young adults will never get to  experience smoking in bars.


 Mr. Shorr, do you think me such an idiot that I would print this without reading Hansard and putting this in context? [emphasis added]


Let’s see what else Howard had to say in that debate, this time after reading her entire speech. I haven’t quoted it all here, I’ve been selective too. You can read the whole thing here.
 Howard, on May 13, 2008: "I would like to talk for a moment about some of the things that we have done and how I think those things have been successful. Certainly, one of those is the ban on smoking in public places. I think it’s hard to overestimate what a tremendous change in culture that has been.
 "When I speak now to friends of mine who have kids who are turning 18 and starting to go out to bars for the first time, it strikes me that this generation will never know a smoke-filled bar; that will never be part of their experience. I think that is a tremendously positive change in the culture."
 Oh, that’s a little different, isn’t it?
"Gerrard's spin doctor blows smoke" Nick Martin, Winnipeg Free Press (January 20, 2011)

 The former Liberal staffer went on to greater things, such as executive directorship of the rightwing lobby group Manitoba Forward. As director Shorr stated Manitoba Forward would bring forth "smart policy solutions". A big part of "smart policy solutions" for the lobby group is enacting stark, hard right economic reforms. So the gentleman and scholar that is Mr. Shorr must have much to say about one of the most high stakes economic case studies in the news: the Greek Crisis.

What learned opinions does economic sage Dave Shorr have? Does he have a solution to the intractable political stalemate or an innovative package of economic reforms to end human misery in Greece.

Well, not really.

Dave Shorr attacks Greek speaking MLA Steve Ashton for daring to side with the Greek
people in their vote choice to reject austerity measures (left), while IMF notes that
austerity won't solve the Greek debt crisis (right). 

Image Sources: Twitter/Dave Shorr (left) and Twitter (right)

It looks like his main takeaway from the economic crisis in Greece was that it represented an opportunity to smear a Manitoba NDP politician ... which Shorr has an impressive track record of. As a matter of fact, smearing the Manitoba NDP seems to be a major reason for Manitoba Forward's existence.

But let's take a step back and look at just what Dave is saying. Celebrating the no victory in the Greek referendum, the rejection of a particular set of austerity policies, is celebrating Greece defaulting on it's debts?! That is a weird reading of the situation, especially since several or so days after these tweets it became apparent that a different (and harsher) austerity package was in store following Greek-EU renegotiations.

Furthermore, what Dave Shorr's bizarre trolling seems to imply is that Nobel Prize winning economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, who also opposed the austerity package, are "proud of Greeks for defaulting on debt".

Dave Shorr, incidentally, had harsh words for Nobel Laurette Krugman and his "anti-austerity absolutism"

Dave Shorr discussion his disregard for Nobel Prize winning economist
Paul Krugman's thoughts on crisis in Greece.

Image Source: Twitter/Dave Shorr/Stephen Gordon

Now, it should be clear that Paul Krugman knows there's a time and place for austerity and that that time and place is not during severe downturns.

“The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury.” So declared John Maynard Keynes in 1937, even as F.D.R. was about to prove him right by trying to balance the budget too soon, sending the United States economy — which had been steadily recovering up to that point — into a severe recession. Slashing government spending in a depressed economy depresses the economy further; austerity should wait until a strong recovery is well under way.

"Keynes Was Right". Paul Krugman. New York Times (December 29, 2011)
 And ...
Some readers ask whether Keynes believed that the government should always run deficits — and whether I believe that too. The answer is no on both counts.


 If you go back to the debate over the Bush tax cuts back in 2001, Bush and Greenspan were saying that we needed to reduce revenue to get rid of the surplus; I was furiously opposed to that view, and wanted to maintain a surplus as long as times were good.


So if you’re a serious Keynesian, you’re for maintaining and even increasing spending when the economy is depressed, even though revenue has plunged; but you’re for fiscal restraint when the economy is booming, even though revenue has increased.  

(Hard Keynesianism. Paul Krugman. New York Times: The Conscience of a Liberal (May 2, 2011)

So Dave Shorr is clueless on the views of a major economist and yet feels entitled to spew out his opinion on the matter. I wonder what other matters Shorr will give ill informed opinions on. Perhaps Manitoba economic policy? 

It cannot be understated how resoundingly expert consensus is against the sham remedy of austerity for Greece. The International Monetary Fund's own research division notes how fool-hearty, counterproductive, job killing and growth destroying austerity against Greece is. Major economists predict austerity will shrink the Greek economy and increase its debt burden. The main folks who seem to actually think austerity policies will do any good is an out to lunch, ordo-monetarist intellectual cult in Germany.

So Dave Shorr has waded into the Greek crisis and seems partial to insane, growth killing and job killing policies. He's also clueless about a major economists view and seems partial to the hard right, economic blood letting that is spending cuts in a deep recession.

One wonders if the brain trust of Manitoba Forward will conclude that cutting and cutting and cutting, even in deeply recessionary periods and even to highly stimulative spending, is an effective way to reduce debt burdens. If the brain trust shares what appear to be the esteemed Mr. Shorr's views, provincial policymakers pay heed to these views and a deep recession hits Canada, Manitoba workers are in for a world of hurt.

Listening to these economic quacks is not worth the risk.
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This post first appeared on The Winnipeg RAG Review, please read the originial post: here

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Quack remedies, economic blood letting & smears from Manitoba Forward director


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