Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jack Peat argues for trickle-up economics to ensure that everybody shares in our common resources (while also encouraging economic development): Good capitalism is the ability to promote incentives and opportunity in equal measure. Sway too far one way and the potential of human capital is stifled, sway too far in the other direction and the willingness to realise this potential also goes amiss. Of late, bad capitalism has manifested itself in incentives over opportunities, and has become a parasitic drag on our economic growth as a result.

A recent IMF study has (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Scott Sinclair discusses how CETA could create extreme and unnecessary risk in Canada’s banking and financial system: The failure of a single company (such as Lehman Brothers in October 2008) or unchecked growth in markets for high-risk financial products (such as sub-prime mortgages) can quickly cascade out of control, threatening the integrity of the entire system. Especially during a crisis, financial regulators need to act decisively, without worrying about expensive lawsuits from disgruntled foreign investors. But that’s precisely the toxic ingredient the CETA negotiations have introduced into the mix.

The EU insists (Read more…)

A Different Point of View....: Business journalists go on the attack; demonize Atlantic seasonal workers

National business journalists and columnists have bought into Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s demeaning view that folks in the Atlantic region are backward and have a defeatist attitude. Framed in disrespectful language, they’re promoting untested economic ideas that, if adopted, would seriously damage the economy – and the people – of the region.

Apparently it wasn’t enough for elite business journalists to applaud how Harper has made life far more difficult for many already struggling seasonal workers by cracking down on employment Insurance (EI). They are advocating the elimination of EI for all 102,000 seasonal workers, people who are employed (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Linda McQuaig tears into the Cons for exacerbating the gap between the too-rich-to-pay-taxes class and the rest of us: Ordinary citizens diligently spend hours calculating their income and deductions and meticulously filling out forms, fearful of the probing eye and relentless reach of the tax man. At the same time, some of our richest citizens quietly park billions of dollars on faraway islands where the sun delightfully reaches but the tax man delightfully doesn’t.

The enormity of the scam that tax havens offer the tax-evading rich — and the horrendous hole they

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

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ruy Teixeira discusses Branko Milanovic’s finding that on a global scale, income inequality is almost entirely locked in based on an individual’s place of birth and parents’ income: Milanovic asks “How much of your income is determined at birth?”  The answer: 80 percent of your income can be accounted for by the country of your birth and the income level of your parents.  That leaves just 20 percent for age, sex, race, luck and, of course, hard work.  Wow.

In the final section of his book, Milanovic looks at

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

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

This and that to end your week.

- Bruce Campbell argues that Alberta should take a lesson from Norway on how to manage natural resources – and plenty of other provinces could stand to take notes as well: The Norwegian government owns 80 per cent of petroleum production, and retains roughly 85 per cent of the net petroleum revenues mainly through a 78-per-cent company tax and through direct access mechanisms.

In Alberta and Canada, ownership and control have been controversial issues. At present, virtually the entire industry is owned by foreign and domestic private interests, which have taken the lion’s

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

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday 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

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Pat Atkinson discusses the need to make sure that Saskatchewan’s boom-time spending actually sets us up for long-term prosperity, rather than fiscal disaster: Even though the OECD report, the burgeoning federal government deficit, China’s economic slowdown and America’s political deadlock all advise us that now is the time for caution, the Wall government is trapped. Its political image is completely dependent upon constant economic growth or the appearance of it.

It is so cemented in its own message of a New Saskatchewan, that any deviation from it is unlikely.

From its first

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.- Naomi Klein comments on how disaster capitalists have tried to turn Hurricane Sandy into a quick buck, while pointing out that there’s a far more rational public policy response available:The prize for s… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Barbara Yaffe writes about the continual rise in food bank use and the underlying political choices which have brought it about:(I)n the last decade food banks have been helping Canadians through both good time… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Yes, it’s alarming that the Cons are eliminating environmental assessments on a huge number of projects. But even more worrisome is the complete lack of a connection between the basis for the exclusion and the possible environmental impacts: Ottawa is also walking away from conducting assessments on various agricultural and municipal drainage works, log-handling facilities, small-craft harbour and marina development and expansion, the sinking of ex-warships as artificial reefs, the disposal of dredged material, and a 73-hectare mixed-use development on Tsawwassen First Nation lands.

Under the new legislation, BC Hydro also no longer

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

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Robyn Allan notes that there’s plenty of weakness in Christy Clark’s position on the Gateway pipeline. But Barbara Yaffe writes that Clark has little choice but to stick to at least the requests she’s made so far – and Vaughn Palmer points out that those alone may be enough to derail the project. And there figures to be little that shadowy committees of oil barons and Alberta and federal politicians can do to change that political reality in British Columbia.

- John Ibbitson and Janyce McGregor both discussed some fascinating Nanos polling

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Will Hutton discusses how the increasing gaps in economic equality are leading to radical differences in opportunity – with the U.S./U.K. push toward private schooling serving as a particular source of exclusion: (T)he middle class of whatever ethnic background is spending more on what Putnam calls its children’s “enrichment activities” so important for psychological wellbeing and character building; in fact they are spending 11 times more than those at the bottom. In 1972, working-class children from the bottom quartile of earners were just as likely to participate in a wide

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Barbara Yaffe discusses Thomas Mulcair’s strong start in winning over B.C. voters. And Martin Regg Cohn notes that Stephen Harper is starting to face some real (and needed) pressure from Darrell Dexter and other premiers to start actually talking to the provinces, rather than retreating from shared responsibilities.

- Sure, we should pay attention when public resources are used to make sales pitches for corporate interests. But what’s most noteworthy about Jason Fekete’s report on the Cons’ CETA PR push is the point they didn’t even both to answer: Parliamentarians have

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

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Roy Romanow comments on Medicare as a major part of Canada’s identity: The achievement of universal health care took a long, acrimonious and protracted road. It is no surprise to me that Saskatchewan was at the forefront of this journey. The province’s citizens learned many hard lessons during the desperation of the Great Depression and the sacrifices of the Second World War. They learned about generosity, about hardship and fairness, about boom and bust. They learned about the imperative for co-operative action. They came to understand that the notion of shared destiny

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

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Miles Corak comments on how inequality undercuts social mobility. And Joseph Stiglitz highlights the fact that the vast majority of people hold a strong interest in not having their path to a secure and successful life blocked by a wall of upper-class money.

- If there’s anything the Wall government can’t stand, it’s collective action. And following up on Murray Mandryk’s column, Erin points out that the Sask Party’s eagerness to set up an opt-out union dues system is a textbook example of how to make collective systems fail by encouraging free

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

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tim Harper gets somewhat closer to the mark than most pundits in recognizing that any talk an NDP/Lib merger is neither timely nor particularly well-placed. But the “one more time” message is a little bit off: again, we’ve still run precisely zero election campaigns in which the NDP was treated as anything but a novelty party at the outset, which means that we should see 2015 as the start of a new opportunity rather than a continuation of previous trends. And both Barbara Yaffe and Lawrence Martin point out some of the reasons

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

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- In the last couple of days’ worth of developments on Robocon, the Cons defaulted to their standard setting of admitting nothing and misleading about everything – though it’s hard to see that strategy working out well given the amount of information that’s already coming to light. Dan Arnold and Michael Harris considered the necessary ingredients to make the electoral fraud into a lasting scandal. Trish Hennessy ran some numbers on vote suppression. Andrew Coyne lamented the state of Canada’s institutional accountability, while Chantal Hebert hopes Elections Canada can get to the bottom

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom highlights the lesson we should draw from the economic devastation caused by the shutdown of an Electro-Motive plant which was supposed to serve as a poster child for corporate giveaways: Using tax breaks to encourage domestic production is a standard prescription. Yet, ironically, that’s exactly what the Harper government did.

In 2008, it offered tax write-offs worth an estimated $5 million annually — not to Electro-Motive (which, at the time, was owned by two hedge funds) but to Canadian railway firms that used locomotives.

The idea was to encourage companies like

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

The NDP’s leadership campaign has been relatively quiet in the day-plus since Sunday’s debate as the resumption of Parliament offered other fodder for political discussion. But let’s follow up on the debate and what has happened since then.

- Aaron Wherry live-blogged the debate, then rounded up debate reactions so the rest of us don’t have to. [Update: And as a bonus, Aaron also profiles Brian Topp.]

- Barbara Yaffe suspects that the Cons’ attacks on pensions will offer an ideal opportunity for the leadership candidates to start building awareness past the NDP’s traditional membership. And Thomas Mulcair

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Yes, we’re at the point in the campaign where we can’t go a couple of days without plenty of developments – even in the absence of formal debates or other major events. So let’s take a look at how the week ended on the campaign trail.

- Niki Ashton received a glowing review (if not quite an endorsement) from Joe Comartin in the course of a visit to Windsor – while also drawing what may be a noteworthy contrast to Thomas Mulcair as to her choices about citizenship.

- Nathan Cullen is fitting a request for online pledges of support

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2012 Roundup

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Stephen Maher and Barbara Yaffe have learned to be duly skeptical of the Cons’ motives when it comes to Senate patronage. But John Ibbitson still has a ways to go – as he’s apparently still buying Con spin about new provinces holding Senate elections which has long since been overtaken by events.

- Meanwhile, Yaffe notes that the Cons’ direct attacks on anybody who doesn’t want to make oil industry profits the chief goal of public policy will only call into question the validity of their own public assessment processes. And Dr.

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

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The Star makes the case for Canada’s wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share: Apart from their hefty pay packets, the top-earning CEOs are sitting on $2 billion in stock options that are treated as dividend income, and taxed at half the value. That’s a tax break worth $475 million, the centre calculates. Arguably, for those who need it least.

These numbers aren’t just about whipping up raw envy. They reflect public policy choices at a time when Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is looking to chop federal spending to erase Ottawa’s $31-billion

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

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Yes, it’s absolutely asinine that the Cons’ attacks on Muslim women have been extended to denying citizenship based on a particular type of clothing. But after the Cons’ repeated efforts to suppress veiled voting, we shouldn’t expect anything less from them. And indeed the goal looks to be the same: having been rebuffed in their attemps to prevent citizens from voting while wearing burqas, the Cons have apparently decided instead to deny suffrage to a substantial group of immigrant women by decreeing that they’re not allowed to become citizens in the first

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

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Evening Links

Assorted content for your evening reading.- Murray Dobbin nicely summarizes what the Cons are hoping to do in prioritizing big-money “philanthropy” over a functional state and civil society:Ideology is meaning in the service of power, and the Conservat… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Evening Links