- Carter Price offers another look at how inequality damages economic development. And the Broadbent Institute examines the wealth gap in Canada – which is already recognized as a serious problem, but also far larger than most people realize:
- Paul Buchheit discusses how the U.S. is turning poor people into commodities or criminals. Chuk Plante reviews some facts about child poverty in Saskatchewan – with a particular focus on the need to measure and reduce the alarmingly high rates of child poverty among First Nations children. Suzanne Moore points out how (Read more…)
- Reviewing Darrell West’s Billionaires, Michael Lewis discusses how extreme wealth doesn’t make anybody better off – including the people fighting for position at the top of the wealth spectrum:
A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below twenty-five grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those (Read more…)
- Murray Dobbin writes about the damage caused after decades of allowing the corporate elite to dictate economic policy – and notes that the Cons are determined to make matters all the worse:
However you see it — as separate from society or integral to it – Canada’s “economy” is increasingly at the mercy of a risk-averse, inept corporate elite addicted to government tax breaks and an ideologically addled government which more than anything else is simply incompetent. It is a deadly combination — a sort of dumb and dumber team slowly dragging us backwards (Read more…)
- Mark Gongloff takes a look at social mobility research from multiple countries, and finds that there’s every reason for concern that inheritance is far outweighing individual attributes in determining social status. And Left Futures notes that the problem may only get worse as our corporate overlords become more and more sophisticated at cannibalizing our commonwealth for profit.
- Speaking of which, Jake MacDonald offers an insightful (if maddening) review of how farmers are suffering from the demolition of the single-desk Canadian Wheat Board.
- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood discusses the close connection between the energy sector and inequality in Canada – with the obvious implication that policies dedicated to unduly favouring the former will inevitably produce the latter:
(T)he real story from last week’s Stats Can report isn’t that Canada is turning the tide on inequality, but that the energy sector is a key driver of income inequality in Canada. Massive investment in the oil sands has benefited the wealthiest earners to the exclusion of most other Canadians, and those immense gains have simply been slightly reduced from their (Read more…)
- Daniel Tencer reports on a couple of important recent warnings that Canada is in danger of following the U.S. down the path of extreme corporatism and inequality:
Speaking at a fundraiser for the left-leaning Broadbent Institute, Reich said Canada is facing the same inequality-growing “structural problems” that the rest of the developed world is facing. Those two structural problems are globalization and automation, he said.
He noted that businesses in the digital era require far fewer employees, citing the example of WhatsApp, the messaging app bought by Facebook. At the time (Read more…)
- Ed Broadbent laments Canada’s failure to meet its commitment to end child poverty – and notes that the Harper Cons in particular are headed in exactly the wrong direction:
This child poverty rate is a national disgrace. It jumped from 15.8 per cent in 1989 to 19.2 per cent in 2012, according to a Statistics Canada custom tabulation for Campaign 2000.
The Harper Conservatives have continued to let down the country’s poor children and their parents. They have not increased targeted income supports for low-income families. Instead, they are expanding flat (Read more…)
- The 25th anniversary of Parliament’s unanimous – if failed – commitment to eliminate child poverty has given rise to plenty of worthwhile commentary. Marco Chown Oved talks to Ed Broadbent about what the resolution meant at the time (as well as how it came to be ignored), while also interviewing social justice advocates about the need to effective start from scratch now. And Olivia Carville explores one life which could have been changed for the better if Canada had made good on its promise.
- Sarah Lazare reports on UNICEF’s research showing an appalling increase in child poverty in many of the world’s richest countries:
“Many affluent countries have suffered a ‘great leap backwards’ in terms of household income, and the impact on children will have long-lasting repercussions for them and their communities,” said Jeffrey O’Malley, UNICEF’s Head of Global Policy and Strategy.
In 23 of the 41 wealthy countries examined, the rate of child poverty has increased since 2008. In some countries, this rise was drastic: Ireland, Croatia, Latvia, Greece, and Iceland saw child poverty climb by (Read more…)
- In the context of Scotland’s referendum on independence, Polly Toynbee reminds us why fragmentation can only serve to exacerbate inequality – a lesson worth keeping in mind as the Cons look to devolve responsibility for taxation and public services in Canada:
What’s to be done? The answer from all sides is “localism”. Westminster’s monstrous hegemony must be broken up with devolution. If Scotland goes, rump UK will be bereft and depleted. But if Scotland stays, monumental home-rule promises made in the last week’s panic will offer Scotland immense tax, spending and borrowing (Read more…)
- Paul Buchheit highlights how inequality continues to explode in the U.S. by comparing the relatively small amounts of money spent on even universal federal programs to the massive gifts handed to the wealthy. Christian Weller and Jackie Odum offer a U.S. economic snapshot which shows exactly the same widening gap between the privileged few and everybody else. And Matt Cowgill examines the policies which tend to exacerbate inquality.
- Meanwhile, Thomas Edsall discusses how predatory businesses are turning others’ poverty into further opportunities to extract profits:
- Joseph Stiglitz offers his suggestions (PDF) for a tax system which would encourage both growth and equality:
Tax reform…offers a path toward both resolving budgetary impasses and making the kinds of public investments that will strengthen the fundamentals of the economy. The most obvious reform is an increase in the top marginal income tax rates – this would both raise needed revenues and soften America’s extreme and harmful inequality. But there are also a variety of other effective possible reforms related to corporate taxation, the estate and inheritance tax, environmental taxes, and (Read more…)
- Angella MacEwen takes a look at the large numbers of unemployed and underemployed Canadians chasing a tiny number of available jobs. And Carol Goar calls out the Cons and the CFIB alike for preferring disposable foreign workers to Canadians who aren’t being offered a living wage:
If employers want to talk about the government’s abrupt about-face, that is legitimate. If they want an “adult conversation” about work and remuneration, they should be ready to answer some key questions:
Why should they be exempt from market discipline? The law of supply and demand provides (Read more…)
- The American Prospect writes about Thomas Piketty’s work on inequality – and how we’re just scratching the surface of the policy implications of a new gilded age:
Piketty is rightly pessimistic about an immediate response. The influence of the wealthy on democratic politics and on how we think about merit and reward presents formidable obstacles. Fierce international competition for the rich and their dollars leads Piketty to believe that without a serious countermovement, capital taxation will trend toward zero. Inequality is becoming a “wicked” problem like climate change—one in which a solution must (Read more…)
Pearl Stoker has stepped up along with support from community churches and that is a good thing but it is only a band-aid solution to address the problems caused to a large degree by cuts to programs for people in need.
Thankfully the ‘Pearls’ out there do much good but it is barely a stop-gap to meet a growing need that is the responsibility (Read more…)
- Bill Tieleman tears into James Moore for his callous disregard for child hunger, while PressProgress reminds us that plenty of the Cons’ policy choices reflect Moore’s complete lack of concern for his neighbours’ children. And Polly Toynbee looks in detail at the UK Cons’ attempts to turn support for needy children into a perceived political weakness rather than a matter of basic empathy and compassion:
The dirty war has begun; the early signs are that this will be the most poisonous, socially damaging election campaign for many a long year. Corrosive malice (Read more…)
- Heather Mallick discusses what Canada stands to lose as Canada Post is made both more expensive and less functional. Ethan Cox suggests that what’s missing from Canada Post is a postal bank – which makes postal services elsewhere both more profitable, and more valuable for citizens. And the Star points out that the Cons have stood idly by while allowing the institution to fall apart.
- But then, post offices are the least of what the Cons have gone out of their way to portray as beneath them – as made clear by (Read more…)
Damn. I'm always making the same mistake. Because I can't help looking for the good in everyone most people, I keep thinking that some Cons are better than others. So when some of my friends in Ottawa told me that James Moore was slightly more human than most members of the Harperite cult, I believed them. But was that ever a mistake eh? And were they ever wrong. Because it turns out Moore is just another miserable Con ideologue, as heartless and cruel as his morally depraved leader. And this is outrageous. Read more »
Federal Industry Minister James Moore on the federal government’s role (or lack thereof) in reducing child poverty in Canada is basically: let others worry about it:
“Federal minister says child poverty not Ottawa’s problem:
“Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.” That from Federal Minister of Industry James Moore… He says it’s the responsibility of the provinces to deal with child poverty, and Ottawa has no plans to step in.
In honour of James Moore attitude (and apparently the Conservative Government’s), I present you with this equivalent attitude:
The senators in question have done exactly what Harper appointed them to do – trumpet the Conservative brand at tax payers expense. Harper and the PMO seem to have OKed, their shenanigans.
Only now he mounts his moral podium to denounce and eject them. Fun and games if it didn’t mean a hi-jacked Parliament ignoring the real issues:
-the use and misuse of our oil and LNG reserves,
-the disaster they pose to our land and water,
-the reality of climate change, broken relations with First Nations, child poverty,
-the stifling of public debate, and the (Read more…)
Sure, some are responding to the Fraser Institute’s “study” on the costs of child-rearing with mockery and/or outrage. But in fairness, let’s acknowledge that the study’s validity simply depends on the accuracy of its assumptions, which may well vary from parent to parent.
And given Christopher Sarlo’s reliance on children costing precisely zero in housing, furniture and care expenses, it could be that he’s found a highly profitable enterprise for anybody who sees this as a model for a happy and healthy family: