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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Joel Wood highlights the social cost of carbon as a crucial reason to work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions rather than insisting on doing the absolute least the rest of the world will tolerate. And needless to say, Brad Wall’s idea of an argument for the position that . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Christopher Ingraham points out that while many luxuries are getting cheaper with time, the necessities of life are becoming much more difficult to afford:

Many manufactured goods — like TVs and appliances — come from overseas, where labor costs are cheaper. “International, global competition lowers prices directly from lower-cost imported goods, and indirectly by forcing U.S. manufacturers to behave more competitively, with lower prices, higher quality, better service, et cetera,” Perry said.

On the flip side, things like education and medical care can’t be produced in a factory, so those pressures do not apply. Compounding it, many Americans are insulated from the full costs of these services. Private and public insurance companies pay most medical costs, so there tends to be little incentive for individuals to shop around for cheaper medical care.

In the case of higher education, the nation’s massive student loan industry bears much of the upfront burden of rising prices. To the typical 18-year-old, a $120,000 tuition bill may seem like an abstraction when you don’t have to start paying it off until your mid-20s or later. As a result, the nation’s college students and graduates now collectively owe upward of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.
“Prices rise when [health care and college] markets are not competitive and not exposed to global competition,” Perry said, “and prices rise when easy credit is available.”

Hence, our current predicament. We can afford the things we don’t need, but we need the things we can’t afford.

– Alex Usher notes how one of the same cost pressures applies in Canada, as universities losing public funding are squeezing students for massive tuition increases. And Lindsay Kines reports that the Clark government’s decision to make life less affordable for people with disabilities in British Columbia has led to 3,500 people giving up their transit passes.

– Natalia Khosla and Sean McElwee discuss the difficulty in addressing racism when many people live in denial of their continued privilege.

– Paul Wells comments on SNC Lavalin’s long track record of illegal corporate donations to the Libs and the Cons.

– Finally, Gerry Caplan points out how Justin Trudeau is dodging key human rights questions. And Mike Blanchfield reports that the Libs’ willingness to undermine a treaty prohibiting the use of cluster bombs represents just another area where they’re leaving the Cons’ most harmful policies untouched. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:

Eliminating tax haven use could save Canada almost $8 billion a year. That’s enough to cover universal public prescription coverage almost eight times over.

Time after time, budget after budget, poll after poll, those in charge make it sound as if we’re too poor as a country to afford the programs that would really improve Canadians’ lives. The fact that revenues are lost to poor policy on tax havens and loopholes is often conveniently ignored.

At this stage of the game, the federal finance minister doesn’t need to raise taxes to pay for pharmacare. Bill Morneau just has to make sure that Canadian multinationals and wealthy individuals pay the tax rate we already have. That isn’t happening right now.

It’s simple. Canadians can continue to support a tax system that lets the richest avoid paying $8 billion in taxes annually — or we can tell them that the party’s over. Instead of ignoring what is happening in the Cayman Islands, Panama and other tax havens, we can urge our politicians to invest the taxes owing on those billions into services that benefit individuals, families, communities and the country as a whole.

There is solid data supporting raising taxes in some areas. But that’s an argument for another day. The issue at hand right now is that we do have enough money for pharmacare — likely enough for public dental care as well. Through a series of misguided and outdated decisions driven by the tax dodge lobby, we are needlessly and destructively giving up that revenue.

It’s time to fix those old mistakes and use the tax system to help this country live up to its potential.

– Meanwhile, Owen Jones discusses a European Commission ruling finding that Apple can’t validly avoid paying tax through a special arrangement with Ireland. And the Star rightly slams the Fraser Institute for presenting a misleading picture of where public revenue comes from and what it can accomplish.

– The CP reports on the Libs’ plans to facilitate the use of temporary foreign workers for liquid natural gas projects in British Columbia – meaning that the last supposed benefit for the province of engaging in a dangerous industry seems to be as illusory as all the others. And Jeremy Nuttall notes that Justin Trudeau seems set to open the door even wider to entrench the use of exploitable foreign labour by multinational corporations. 

– Finally, Catherine Cullen reports on the effects of privatized health care insurance which are being presented in an effort to defend Canada’s medicare system from would-be profiteers:

John Frank, a Canadian physician who is now chairman of public health research and policy at the University of Edinburgh, argues in his report that more private health care “would be expected to adversely affect Canadian society as a whole.”

He cites research that suggests public resources, including highly trained nurses and doctors, would be siphoned off by the private system.

More Canadians would face financial hardship or even — in extreme cases — “medical bankruptcy” from paying for private care, he writes.

Frank even suggests there could be deadly consequences. He says complications from privately funded surgeries often need to be dealt with in the public system because private facilities are generally less equipped to handle complex cases.

“If such complications, arising from privately funded care, are not promptly referred to an appropriately equipped and staffed care facility, the patient is likely to experience death or long-term disability, potentially leading to reduced earnings and financial hardship.”

Overall, “in my expert opinion,” Frank writes, the change would reduce fairness and efficiency and “society as a whole would be worse off.”

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:Eliminating tax haven… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.- Martin Jacques writes about the inescapable failings of neoliberalism, along with the question of what alternative will come next: (B)y historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly goo… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- Larry Elliott discusses how the rise of Donald Trump and other exclusionary populists can be traced to the failed promises of neoliberal economics:The fact is that the US middle class, which in Britain we would c… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- J. David Hughes discusses the ultimate problem with new pipeline construction, as it’s incompatible with any reasonable effort to meet even Canada’s existing commitments to rein in greenhouse gas emissions:Under … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Paul Willcocks discusses British Columbia’s two-tiered education system and the role it plays in exacerbating inequality – which is well worth keeping in mind as Saskatchewan deals with the fallout f… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Phillipe Orliange discusses the significance of inequality in the developing world as a problem for both fairness and economic development:The question of inequality has become so important because societal … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Murray Dobbin is hopeful that we may be seeing corporate globalization based on unquestioned neoliberal ideology come to an end: There is no definitive way to identify when an ideology begins to lose its grip on the… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Andre Picard writes about the widespread poverty faced by indigenous children in Canada – and the obvious need for political action to set things right: The focus of the [CCPA’s] report, rightly, is on the chil… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Martin Regg Cohn exposes the Ontario Libs’ pay-to-play governing strategy, as cabinet ministers have been instructed to use their roles and access to meet fund-raising targets of up to half a million dollars per… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Thomas Piketty writes that regardless of the end result, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign may mark the start of a fundamental change in U.S. politics: Sanders’ success today shows that much of A… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Rachel Bryce, Cristina Blanco Iglesias, Ashley Pullman and Anastasia Rogova examine the effect of inequality on education in Canada. And John McMurtry comments on the increasing hoarding of wealth and the lack of any… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Duncan Cameron offers his take on the Paris climate change conference. Martin Lukacs notes that while the agreement reached there may not accomplish anywhere near what we need, the building climate movement sho… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– I’ll start in on my own review of the NDP’s election campaign over the next few days, focusing on what I see as being the crucial decisions as the campaign played out. But for those looking for some of what’s been written already, I’ll point out recaps and . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Murray Dobbin writes that Canadians should indeed see the federal election as a choice between security and risk – with the Cons’ failing economic policies representing a risk we can’t afford to keep taking: (N)ot only is Harper vulnerable on his own limited anti-terror grounds, he is extremely . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Friday reading.

– Matthew Melmed examines how poverty early in life is both disturbingly widespread, and likely to severely affect a child’s future prospects.

– Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis track the extreme gap in wage growth for CEOs as opposed to workers. Robert Skidelsky argues that we can’t rely . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– tcnorris highlights how the Cons’ gratuitous cuts are undermining their hopes of staying in power. And Eric Pineault discusses the costs of austerity for Quebec in particular and Canada as a whole: (C)utting into spending slows down growth and keeps the economy in a stagnation trap. The resulting . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

– Paul Rosenberg documents how Bernie Sanders is tapping into widespread public desire and support for more socially progressive policies: Sanders is right to think that Scandanavian socialism would be popular here in the U.S., if only people knew more about it. And he’s right to make spreading that . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Thomas Lemieux and W. Craig Riddell examine Canada’s income distribution and find that one’s place in the 1% is based primarily on rent-seeking rather than merit: (I)n Canada, as in the United States, executives and others working in the financial and business services sectors have been driving . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Armine Yalnizyan writes that reliance on temporary and disposable labour is utterly incompatible with long-term economic development. And Joey Hartman and Adrienne Montani comment on Vancouver’s efforts to support a living wage rather than grinding down employment standards.

– Andy Skuce points out that our already-worrisome best . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Jim Stanford highlights the fact that a deficit obsession may have little to do with economic development – and calls out the B.C. Libs for pretending that the former is the same as the latter: I found especially objectionable the article’s uncritical cheerleading for expenditure restraint, praising the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Stephanie Levitz reports on the Broadbent Institute’s study showing that Con-friendly charities haven’t been facing any of the strict scrutiny being used to silence anybody who dares to speak up for environmental or social causes. And Jeremy Nuttall notes that the problem is probably worse than it seems . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Michal Rozworski responds to idealized views of Canadian equality with the reality that we fall well short of the Scandinavian model: Canada appears on many accounts much closer to the US than Sweden, the stand-in for a more robust social democratic and redistributive state. Indeed, looking at . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links