Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Miles Corak reviews Branko Milanovic’s new book on the complicated relationship between globalization and income inequality. Dougald Lamont examines the current state of inequality in Canada. And Matth… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links
Here, on how Justin Trudeau’s control over the federal electoral reform committee looks to extend a familiar pattern of top-down government into the design of our electoral system. (And I’ll add one point here which didn’t make it into the column: the … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day
Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Carolyn Shimmin discusses the connection between inequality and social ills, while Sarah Khapton reports on new research showing part of the biological explanation.- Rachelle Younglai documents the growing nu… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
Canadians, along with the West in general, have been fed a neoliberal diet of propaganda and policy for so long that far too many have succumbed to magical thinking, the belief that we can have it all with only minimal pain, the later in the form of lo… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Time To Reject Magical Thinking
Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.
- Alex Himelfarb highlights the vicious circle the Harper Cons have created and driven when it comes to public services: Today’s austerity is not a response to fiscal crisis. The 2012 budget demonstrated that it’s about redefining the purpose of government, about dismantling, brick by brick, the progressive state built by governments of quite different stripes in the decades following the Second World War. Implied is a very different notion of our shared citizenship, of what binds us together across language, region and community. The message was clear: government will ask less of Canadians (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Alex Himelfarb writes about the corporate push to treat taxes as a burden rather than a beneficial contribution to a functional society – and why we should resist the demand to slash taxes and services alike: How is it that we don’t now ask of these tax cuts upon tax cuts: What will be the consequences for these public goods, goods that most of us continue to value, that demonstrably contribute to the general welfare? In part the answer may be that we devalue public goods because they are not priced and (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Alex Himelfarb and Jordan Himelfarb write about the growing appetite for stronger public services and the taxes needed to fund them in 2014 – even if we’re a long way from having that translated into real policy changes: Certainly tax phobia has framed our politics and shaped our governments. Our politicians of every stripe seem to believe that Canadians want tax cuts, whatever the costs, and won’t accept tax increases, whatever the benefits. This austerity mindset stunts the political imagination, making us doubt that we can do great things or much of anything (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Ryan Meili examines why Craig Alexander of the TD Bank is calling for a move toward greater income equality in Canada: The OECD reports that income inequality is at the highest level in 30 years, and that economic growth has been slowed by as much as 10 per cent in some countries as a result. A 2014 IMF study showed that redistributive policies through tax and transfers not only do no harm to the economy, but can improve performance in the long-term. In fact, it appears that public investments in child care and (Read more…)
It wasn’t one of her three big ideas to improve health care, but it was a brief moment of brilliance. During Monday’s RamsayTalks at the University of Toronto, Dr. Danielle Martin had just been asked by the Rotman School’s Mark Stabile how she … Continue reading →
The contrast couldn’t be more striking. As announced by federal Fiance Minister Joe Oliver the other day, Ottawa is well on its way to posting a $9 billion surplus, but Canadians shouldn’t expect any massive new spending programs. Instead, he plans to reduce taxes once the deficit is eliminated in the 2015-16 budget, likely next winter.
On the other hand, the Ontario government, under Premier Wynne, proposes a host of new spending and moderate tax increases under the budget it brought down yesterday.
Progressive measures include raising the wages of home care workers, more money for infrastructure, welfare hikes, new (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Alex Himelfarb and Jordan Himelfarb comment on the dangers of failing to talk about taxes: The tax debate is often muddied by disagreement about whether taxes have actually gone up or down. As the economy grows, so too do tax revenues and spending, which is why many (though not all) prefer to measure tax as a percentage of the economy (GDP). The only good data on this come from StatsCan in a survey discontinued in 2008. These numbers show a decline in the scale of tax and spending over the last several decades, (Read more…)
I have a deep respect for Alex Himelfarb, the director of the Glendon School of International and Public Affairs and tireless proponent of responsible, progressive taxation. The latter, as one can well-imagine, likely makes him persona non grata in many circles, but those are likely the same circles that close out responsible thought or discussion on any topics that might threaten to puncture the artificial and insular world they encase themselves in.
It is, of course, easy to take the expedient route, as have politicians like Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and Thomas Mulcair at the federal level, and, here (Read more…)
Alex Himelfarb understands the 2004 10-year health accord better than most. At the time it was negotiated, he was the highest ranking civil servant in Ottawa. The $41.3 billion Accord was supposed to fix health care for a generation. It would … Continue reading →
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Scott Doherty recognizes that Saskatchewan’s failure to collect a reasonable royalty rate for potash and other natural resources is directly responsible for the province crying poor when workers are laid off. And Alex Himelfarb points out that the magical theory behind perpetual tax cuts is purely a matter of illusion rather than reality. We are more than just consumers and taxpayers. We are citizens with responsibilities for one another; we undertake to do some things together, things that we could never do alone or that we can do much better collectively. Taxes are (Read more…)
There are many ways to tell a story. For Trish Hennessy, Ontario director at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, one way is to look at the most searched word annually for the on-line Mirriam-Webster dictionary. Speaking last night at the … Continue reading →
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Jillian Berman reports on research showing that the predictable effect of decreased unionization is a transfer of wealth from workers to shareholders: The jump in corporate profit over the past few decades can be explained largely by a decline in union membership over the same period, according to a study by Tali Kristal, a sociologist at the University of Haifa in Israel. The boost in companies’ bottom line comes at workers’ expense, Kristal wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.
“It’s a zero sum game: whatever is not going to workers, (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Michael Harris rightly points out that a steady stream of scandals and incompetence from the Cons says plenty about Stephen Harper’s own judgment (or lack thereof): Sooner or later, the country is going to realize that there is something terribly wrong with Stephen Harper’s judgment.
And sooner or later, the Conservative party is going to realize one-man bands are great until the tuba player runs out of breath.
At the moment, judged only by his record in Senate appointments, Harper’s eye for talent appears to be made of glass.
Patrick Brazeau and
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
That and that for your Sunday reading.
- Alex Himelfarb weighs in against gratuitous austerity by pointing out the dishonest cycle of excuses used to push destructive policy: (T)he consequences of cuts are increasingly visible, first for the most vulnerable: aboriginal communities struggling to meet basic needs, higher tuitions and student debt, refugees who cannot get needed medicine, more unemployed Canadians thrown onto inadequate welfare because they cannot access insurance. Some consequences will play out more slowly: weaker environmental regulations, cuts to education and science, neglect of crumbling infrastructure, eroding public services will all make our economy less competitive, less
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Assorted content for your Friday reading.
- In addition to providing my latest tagline, Alex Himelfarb takes aim at the austerians who seem happy to attack social well-being and economic development alike in the name of government-slashing: (A)usterity had never been driven by fiscal policy or economics or evidence. It was driven by ideology. Market fundamentalism. A desire to make government much smaller, eliminate or reduce, as much as politics allowed, so-called entitlements, create a “pro-business” climate of less regulation, less government, and, above all, lower taxes.
Think about the irony of this: that the huge recession-induced deficits
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Barbara Yaffe lets Hugh Segal make the case for a guaranteed annual income to end poverty in Canada: (Hugh Segal) says it could be arranged by way of a tax credit through the income tax system, to top up income of anyone falling below Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cutoff (LICO).
LICO for a single person is about $22,200; for a family with three children, roughly $47,000.
“In other words,” writes Segal, “being poor would become a problem we all buffered in the same way as we buffer all Canadians relative to health
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links