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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato writes about the need for governments to shape markets through their own investments, rather than acting only to serve existing business interests: The idea that at best the public sector can fix “market failures” and “de-risk” business, means that when the banks become too active in an area, they are accused of “crowding out” the private sector. That is, of taking up too big of a share of total investments (all of which in the end must be financed from savings). While some Keynesians defend such investments by arguing they actually (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Atkins highlights how public policy and corporate strategy have both instead been directed toward squeezing every possible dime out of the public: The less noticed but potentially more consequential way that policymakers across the industrialized world set about accomplishing this goal was to push their middle classes to invest their wealth into assets, especially stocks and real estate, then use the levers of public policy to inflate the values of those assets in order to disguise the inevitable declines in wages. There was also a concerted effort to hide wage losses by (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: While Horwath is silent, labour and progressive speak: The Ontario Budget deserves support

While Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath was silent on Ontario’s Budget today, continuing her approach that saw her take no position on the minimum wage and pensions, labour and other progressive are speaking loud and clear that Ontario’s 2014 Budget deserves support for the people of Ontario.

JERRY DIAS, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, UNIFOR “Things like pensions, things like infrastructure spending, taking care of child care, seniors, those are all things that have been, you know, the backbone of the NDP’s policies for years. I would expect that [the NDP] would support [the budget].“Today’s budget will make a positive difference in (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: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Hennessy’s latest numbers focus on the skills gap myth in Canada. And PressProgress documents a few of the Cons’ damaging public service cuts which kicked in yesterday, while Theresa Boyle reports on the end of Canada’s health care accords (featuring the observations of Roy Romanow on the end of meaningful federal participation in our health care system).

- Scott Stelmaschuk’s latest post fits nicely with the theme of yesterday’s comment on the importance of seeing politics first and foremost as a means of improving the world around us – rather than a (Read more…)

The Right-Wing Observer: Is Omnibus legislation a Conservative Disease?

The following data visualization shows the total number of pages of legislation drafted to implement budgets tabled from 1994 to 2014. It also shows the average per year for the Liberal regime versus the Conservative regime. It illustrates the Conservatives’ significant tendency towards bloated budget implementation bills. I would like to take this to another level and indicate the percentage of each bill actually dedicated to budget implementation, but I shudder to think how much time that would actually take. I’m confident doing so would prove that omnibus legislation in Canada is a Conservative disease.

Learn About Tableau

 

The (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Right-Wing Observer: Is Omnibus legislation a Conservative Disease?

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tim Harford proposes four first steps to start combatting income inequality. And the Star’s editorial board makes clear that there’s tax room available for Ontario (among other jurisdictions) to pursue in order to serve the public good: Sousa promises to protect the “middle class” — whatever that is. But he need not fear a backlash if his spring budget increases the burden on those making substantially more than the average, whether that starts at $150,000 or some higher level. Four other provinces — including B.C., whose government leans right — have (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mitchell Anderson compares the results of corporate-friendly Thatcherism to the alternative of public resource ownership and development in the interest of citizens – and finds far better results arising from the latter: Thirty-five years after she swept to power as British prime minister, it is ironic that socialist Norway now has $830 billion in the bank and enjoys fully funded social programs that most of us can only dream of. Meanwhile the U.K. is enduring another round of wrenching austerity and owes over £1.3 trillion — about US$2.2 trillion. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Nick Kristof writes that the growing gap in income reflects a similarly growing gap in social perception – and that there’s plenty of need to reduce both: There is an income gap in America, but just as important is a compassion gap. Plenty of successful people see a picture of a needy child and their first impulse is not to help but to reproach. … There may be neurological biases at work. A professor at Princeton found that our brains sometimes process images of people who are poor or homeless as if they were (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Stephen Hume writes about the importance of tax revenue in building a functional and compassionate Canada: My taxes provide our mostly peaceful, prosperous and safe society; a health care system that for all its flaws and glitches is pretty darn good compared to the alternatives; a policing and justice system that despite occasional hiccups is fair, merciful and trustworthy; a brave and honourable military.

My taxes provide income support for the unemployed, the indigent, the impaired and the unlucky. My taxes helped create educational facilities of exceptional quality and performance; public infrastructure that (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Selling prosperity in a time of austerity: Budget days in BC and Quebec

Two very different provincial governments tabled their budgets this week. The freshly-elected BC Liberals and the seemingly election-ready Parti Quebecois both delivered what they termed “responsible” budgets. While the two governments identify with opposing ends of the political spectrum and face distinct political climates, these differences did not prevent their budgets from displaying some eerie similarities. Since these budgets tell the same stories, they are laying the ground for a common response.

Although the BC and Quebec economies are often regarded as moving in opposite directions, their economic performance in the five years since the financial crisis has been quite (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

This and that for your mid-week reading.

- Erin Weir posts the statement of a 70-strong (and growing) list of Canadian economists opposed to austerity. Heather Mallick frames the latest Con budget as yet another example of their using personal cruelty as a governing philosophy, while the Star’s editorial board goes into detail about the dangers of yet another round of politically-motivated attacks on environmental and public interest charities.

- Meanwhile, Frances Russell slams the Cons’ efforts to rig the 2015 election. And Jordon Cooper discusses how voting is already too difficult for marginalized people without the Cons going out (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Donovan Vincent reports on the Institute for Social Research’s study showing Canadians are highly concerned about income inequality: “People think the income gap has gotten worse. What was surprising to me was the universality of this belief. Younger people, older, higher levels of education, lower, men and women. The fact is, a wide cross-section of Canadian society believes that the income gap has gotten bigger, or much bigger in the last five years,” survey author David Northrup said in an interview.

“Usually we see a lot more variation in opinion in social (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, taking a closer look at the City of Regina’s 2014 budget – which offers a clear demonstration that the perpetual promise of growth doesn’t do anything to fund the municipal services citizens count on, resulting in current residents paying for the poor decisions of the city administration.

For further reading…- The City’s budget documents can be found here.  – Both CBC’s initial report and the Leader-Post’s editorial focus on the mill rate increase (which seems to me to hide more than it reveals). And Paul Dechene starts the Prairie Dog’s work in digging somewhat deeper.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- The Star’s editorial board sees Canada’s woeful job numbers as a signal that it’s time for some economic management in the interests of people (rather than artificial manipulation of numbers): Economists used words like “dismal” and “ugly” for these results, and no wonder. Last year turned out to be the worst year for job growth in Canada since the recession of 2008-2009. And this was just the latest evidence that Canada’s recovery has stalled. The experts are even starting to speculate about a possible cut in interest rates – not the eventual (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: Baby born into mom’s pAnt leg during roadside delivery

Inspired by these headlines: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/baby-born-into-mom-s-pant-leg-during-roadside-delivery-1.2465900   and  http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/chip-wilson-lululemon-founder-steps-down-1.2457958

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Hassan Arif theorizes that a failure to identify and address growing inequality may have played a significant role in the rise of Rob Ford’s destructive anti-socialism: The Toronto of towering new condos, of downtown coffee shops and trendy restaurants and stores, is far removed from the Toronto of these low-income, suburban, and largely visible minority residents. A “plain-talking” politician who rails against downtown elites, against “slick talking lawyers”, “consultants”, and recipients of “research grants” appeals to those who feel left behind.…These concerns, about suburban alienation, about inequality, are concerns that need to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Glen Pearson theorizes that inequality will be the defining theme of the current political era. Tavia Grant and Janet McFarland document the extreme (and continually-increasing) disparity between the top 1% and the rest of the world. And Eduardo Porter writes that education can only go so far in creating fair opportunities for everybody in the face of political and economic structures designed to leave most people behind.

- David MacDonald highlights the fact that the Cons’ needless program cuts and their brand-new fire sale of public assets both reflect utter mismanagement rather (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- John Ivison makes the case for more discussion of government spending rather than corruption and scandal. But it’s PressProgress leading the way in actually reporting on that front – featuring revelations that multiple resource-related ministers’ office have received massive spending boosts, while program spending for First Nations, the environment and foreign aid is getting slashed and/or going unused.

- Justin Ling reports that the NDP – pushed largely by Pierre Ducasse – is taking much-needed steps to set up a Quebec provincial wing. Meanwhile, Paul McLeod notes that Nova Scotia’s MPs – with (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Unifor opposes Bill C-4 attacks on workers’ health and safety

Unifor raises grave concerns about the sweeping changes to the Canada Labour Code proposed by the omnibus Federal Budget Implementation Bill C-4.

The post Unifor opposes Bill C-4 attacks on workers’ health and safety appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: By invitation only

There’s been plenty of outcry over the Cons’ latest omnibus budget bill. But I haven’t yet seen any discussion of the changes it makes to immigration – and I’d think it’s well worth looking in more detail at the additional steps the Cons are taking to slam the door in the face of would-be Canadians.

Now, the story is far from a new one. It was in 2008 that the Cons made changes which I discussed here and here – with the result that the immigration minister is effectively free to set whatever restrictions he or she wants in determining (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk writes that air quality in Alberta’s Upgrader Alley may be among the worst in North America, including dangerous concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals. And Danny Harvey points out that the planet as a whole stands to be damaged by excessive tar sands development which is utterly incompatible with meaningful action to combat climate change.

- Andrew Jackson discusses how preferential tax treatment of stock options both exacerbates inequality and warps incentives for big business: One objectionable aspect of paying already well-remunerated executives in the form of stock options on top of (Read more…)

Blevkog: On condoms and omnibus bills

Just like when using a condom, it’s good policy to check any omnibus bill for holes before using them. That is, unless you are our current government who expect Parliament to not fully examine the details of its vast omnibus budget bill until after it becomes law. That important undisclosed elements of the bill refer […]

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the tendency of both the Saskatchewan Party and the federal Cons to pretend a problem doesn’t exist for years on end, then suddenly proclaim there’s no time to do anything other than force through the most regressive “solution” possible.

In shorter terms, the Shock Doctrine has evolved into the Schmuck Doctrine. And we shouldn’t be accepting a government’s own incompetence as reason to accept its rushed decisions.

For further reading…- CBC reports on the Sask Party’s sudden hurry to lock the province into P3 school construction contracts. And the NDP caucus responds to the announcement.- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Pat Atkinson writes that governments at all levels should be setting up realistic fiscal plans to deal with a large group of retiring boomers – not artificially slashing revenues and increasing costs. And Rick Smith laments the fact that the Harper Cons are squandering an opportunity to address Canada’s existing problems due to their insistence on creating new ones: “Seizing” the moment would mean tackling the challenges that today’s Canada faces: stagnant or falling wages for middle- and lower-income Canadians; crises in Aboriginal education, food, housing, and missing and murdered women; high youth (Read more…)