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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Paul Krugman writes that the ultra-wealthy’s contempt for anybody short of their own class is becoming more and more explicit around the globe – even when it comes to basic rights like the ability to vote: It’s always good when leaders tell the truth, especially if that wasn’t their intention. So we should be grateful to Leung Chun-ying, the Beijing-backed leader of Hong Kong, for blurting out the real reason pro-democracy demonstrators can’t get what they want: With open voting, “You would be talking to half of the people in Hong Kong who (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

 - Joseph Heath responds to Andrew Coyne in noting that an while there’s plenty of room (and need) to better tax high personal incomes, there’s also a need to complement that with meaningful corporate taxes: (A) crucial part of the Boadway and Tremblay proposal is to increase the personal income tax rate on dividends and capital gains. That’s where the “soak the rich” part comes in. The argument — and it is an interesting argument — is that dividends are currently taxed at a lower rate in the hands of individuals, in order (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Things We Learned During Ontario Election 2014: Conservative Ideologues Should Be Convulsed With Doubt And Self-Loathing

Take Andrew Coyne, for example. This guy is known among Canada’s literati as “the journalist who knows math”.  He’s always saying “Well, the iron laws of Economics will prevent that!” and so forth.  And when he says it what he means is that your figgers don’t add up.  So what happened when he realized that Tim Hudak’s 1,000,000 jobs plan made no sense unless you divided all his numbers by 8?  He endorsed the guy anyway!  He essentially abandoned mathematical Platonism, implicitly denied the reality of the number line, turned all Constructivist or, god help us,  into (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Richard Shillington studies the Cons’ income-splitting scheme for the Broadbent Institute, and finds that it’s even more biased toward the wealthy than previously advertised: • The average benefit of income splitting across all households is only $185, though nine out of 10 households will receive nothing. When one factors in the $3 billion cost in lost federal revenues that will result from this tax policy, income splitting stands to impose net costs on many Canadian households.

• To gain from income splitting, a family with children under 18 must have two parents in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Robert Reich proposes that the best way to address corporate criminality is to make sure that those responsible go to jail – rather than simply being able to pay a fine out of corporate coffers and pretend nothing ever happened.

- And Shawn Fraser suggests that Regina developers should pick up the tab for the costs they impose on the city – even as the city itself has opportunities to both better shape residential growth, and turn a profit through its own own development corporation.

- Meanwhile, the CP reports on the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Ric McIver Progressive Conservative leadership campaign lurches to life as Hancock Government sends mixed signals

Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver, shown on his extremely uninformative campaign website. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson and newly appointed Jobs, Skills, Etc. Minister Kyle Fawcett.

Ho-hum. After days of virtual silence, former infrastructure minister Ric McIver made the first official appearance of his campaign for the leadership of Alberta’s geriatric Tory dynasty at an Edmonton old-folks’ home yesterday morning.

Judging from the poor-quality CBC live-feed of the event, Mr. McIver’s heart wasn’t quite in it. But maybe I’m projecting – people keep telling me not to under-estimate Mr. McIver, so I won’t – but he sure looked like (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Andrew Coyne assures us "Hudak’s bogus plan is no reason not to vote for him"

The media reaction to Hudak’s 8 fold screwup in his Million 75,000 Jobs Plan has been almost as ridiculous as the mistake in the plan itself. I already wrote about what the CBC’s frontpage was doing in the interest of “balance” and “nonpartisanship”. But what about the media op-eds?

The latest from Andrew Coyne at the National Post exemplifies much of what is wrong with politics. We are assured in the title that “Tim Hudak’s bogus Million Jobs plan is no reason not to vote for him”.

The article lists several points why we already knew the Million Jobs Plan (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- George Monbiot writes that contrary to the theory that wealth is a precondition to environmental standards, increased consumption tends to correlate to disregard for the our impact on the environment: For years we’ve been told that people cannot afford to care about the natural world until they become rich; that only economic growth can save the biosphere, that civilisation marches towards enlightenment about our impacts on the living planet. The results suggest the opposite.

As you can see from the following graph, the people consulted in poorer countries feel, on average, much (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Hiltzik points out new research showing that business-focused policies do nothing at all to encourage any positive economic outcomes: in fact, a higher rating from ALEC for low-tax, low-regulation government correlates to less economic growth. But Kevin Drum highlights what the corporate agenda is really intended to accomplish: (A)lthough a high ALEC-Laffer ranking may not stimulate any actual growth,…it does correspond to reduced taxes on the wealthy and slashed spending on state services that benefit the poor and working class. In other words, it may not affect growth, but it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Polly Toynbee writes about the continued spread of privatization based solely on corporatist dogma even in the face of obvious examples of its harm to the public: In the Royal Mail debacle, shares sold at £1.7bn rose to £2.7bn. The 16 investors chosen as “long-term” custodians included the most wolfish hedge funds, who sold the shares at once. Let’s hope that ends any pretence that shareholders look after companies. What’s more, the investment arm of Lazards, key adviser to Vince Cable, was also given “priority” status. But Lazard Asset Management (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Failed Puppet Master?

In a withering assessment of Stephen Harper, that is the conclusion Andrew Coyne seems to draw in his National Post column:

We are so heavily invested, we media types, in the notion of Harper as master strategist, able to see around corners and think seven moves ahead and what not, that we tend not to notice how many times he has been screwing up of late. The sudden and more or less complete rewriting, on the same day as the Supreme Court decision, of the colossally misjudged Fair Elections Act, after weeks of waving off any and all criticism (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Ezra Klein comments on the U.S.’ doom loop of oligarchy – as accumulated wealth is spent to buy policy intended to benefit nobody other than those who have already accumulated wealth: On Thursday, the House passed Paul Ryan’s 2015 budget. In order to get near balance, the budget contains $5.1 trillion in spending cuts — roughly two-thirds of which come from programs for poor Americans. Those cuts need to be so deep because Ryan has pledged not to raise even a dollar in taxes.

As a very simple rule, rich (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig responds to the CCCE’s tax spin by pointing out what’s likely motivating the false attempt to be seen to contribute to society at large: Seemingly out of the blue this week, the head honchos of Canada’s biggest companies, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, put out a media release insisting that their taxes are not too low.

This defensive posture — who mentioned murder? — reveals they fear others may be slowly catching on to the massive transfer of wealth to the richest Canadians that’s been going on for the past (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Laura Ryckewaert looks in more detail at the continued lack of any privacy protection in the Unfair Elections Act. And Murray Dobbin is hopeful that the Cons’ blatant attempt to suppress voting rights will instead lead to a backlash among those who are intended to be excluded: (W)hatever the outcome, perhaps the best possible response of democracy activists would be to treat this loathsome piece of legislation as a useful crisis. This is exactly what leaders of the African-American and Latino communities have done in their fight against the blatant voter suppression efforts (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Coyne sees the powerful impact of local forces on nomination contests as evidence that grassroots democracy is still alive and well in Canada – no matter how much the Cons and Libs may wish otherwise: What’s common to both of these stories is not only the willingness of local candidates and riding associations to defy the powers that be but their obstinate insistence that these races should be what party leaders claim they are: open nominations. With any luck, this obstreperousness will spread. Thanks to redistricting, there will be other ridings where (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robert Reich discusses the Koch brothers and their place in the U.S.’ new plutocracy: The Kochs exemplify a new reality that strikes at the heart of America. The vast wealth that has accumulated at the top of the American economy is not itself the problem. The problem is that political power tends to rise to where the money is. And this combination of great wealth with political power leads to greater and greater accumulations and concentrations of both — tilting the playing field in favor of the Kochs and their ilk, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jim Stanford writes that union-bashing has proven to be political poison for many of the parties who have tried to distract from increasing inequality with attacks on workers: (T)he biggest problem for Mr. Hudak’s crusade was a deeper sentiment in Canadian public opinion regarding unions and the role they play in society. No matter their warts, unions ultimately reflect their members: typical Canadians just trying to earn a decent income, support their families, and (hopefully) retire with some security, in an economy which rewards the rich and powerful more than ever before. Unions (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The "Fair" Elections Act isn’t just bad, its being implemented in a bad way

Changes to our electoral system – changes, that is, to the very core of our democracy – are not to be taken lightly. Regardless of where you lie on the political spectrum, we should be able agree on process. We should be able to agree that such changes must be taken with an open and transparent process that engages a genuine debate in Canada.

I dislike many aspects of the proposed electoral reform bill. Pouring more money into elections – asymmetrically advantaging the Conservatives – is a terrible idea. Making it harder to vote – asymmetrically advantaging the Conservatives – (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the importance of letting voters decide among a full range of potential political candidates – rather than imposing rules or conventions which prohibit senior military leaders, public servants or others from participating in politics.

For further reading…- The column is largely a response to Andrew Coyne (who argues that personal decisions of military and civilian leaders should be evaluated differently based on their potential interest in politics) and Adam Chapnick (who argues for a five-year moratorium against political involvement which would exclude recently-retired military professionals from participation in the democracy they’ve fought to defend).- And (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The political aspects of the minimum wage

Discussion of the minimum wage can easily slide into a technocratic back-and-forth that ignores the vital political aspect at play. We can see this in much of the response to the report just released by the Ontario government’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel (MWAP). Andrew Coyne, for example, once again argues that a basic income is a better solution to poverty than increases in the minimum wage. The question, however, should not be one of which single tool is best for fighting poverty, but how we can build the most effective toolkit, one that also puts political power into the hands of the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jo Snyder discusses how poverty makes everybody less healthy, and recognizes the need for higher basic wages as a result. And Laurie Penny highlights the futility of trying to badger young adults into service jobs which offer no opportunity for personal, professional or financial progress: The British gov­ernment, like many others, is no longer even pretending to care about how or if the next generation gets to thrive. It is demonstrably content to sacrifice its young. That quality is not just spiteful; it is a recipe for social and cultural self-annihilation.

What (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robert Reich laments the indecency of gross inequality (and the economic policies designed to exacerbate it): (F)or more than three decades we’ve been going backwards. It’s far more difficult today for a child from a poor family to become a middle-class or wealthy adult. Or even for a middle-class child to become wealthy.

The major reason is widening inequality. The longer the ladder, the harder the climb. America is now more unequal that it’s been for eighty or more years, with the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of all developed nations. (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Andrew Coyne: The Case For Heartlessness

After coming to the aid of James Moore after the Industry Minister’s display of rabid child eating hate, Andrew is working up a new column in defense of Canada Post’s Deepak Chopra, another Harper appointee, who stated recently that that seniors would welcome the exercise brought about by the discontinuation of door-to-door mail service and the introduction of community mailboxes.

I have recieved a copy of the first draft of Andrew’s column, which I reproduce below without comment:

We can argue about the causes and about whether it is a worthy metric, but it is at least worth noting that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how James Moore’s disinclination to care about his neighbours is par for the course from the Harper Cons – and how we should learn the lesson about caring and compassion that Moore and his party are so studiously avoiding.

For further reading…- Again, Sara Norman’s original story is here, while PressProgress and Laura Payton both helped to put it in context. – My recap of Moore’s other events from the week is drawn from his activity in Monday’s Hansard, as well as his office’s most recent statements as of the time the column was (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Joan Walsh discusses how employers are exploiting the U.S.’ wage supplement policies by taking the opportunity to severely underpay their employees – resulting in both insecure income and employment, and significant public expense to reduce the poverty suffered by full-time workers. And Lana Payne comments that the Cons’ anti-worker policies figure to further exacerbate inequality in Canada as well.

- Meanwhile, lest anybody doubt the disproportionate effect of corporate power in politics, Juliet Eilperin writes that the Obama White House delayed the introduction of health, safety and environmental regulations until after (Read more…)