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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jeffrey Simpson lambastes the Cons’ determination to slash taxes and hand out baubles to the rich for the sole purpose of undermining the fiscal capacity of government to help Canadians. And Jeremy Nuttall highlights how a cuts to the CRA are allowing tax cheats to escape paying their fair share with little prospect of detection.

- Jacquie Maund makes the case to include dental care as part of a full public health system. And Carolyn Shimmin discusses the connection between childhood poverty and poor health which can impose burdens lasting a lifetime: 2. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Henry Mintzberg rightly challenges the myth of a “level playing field” when it comes to our economic opportunities: Let’s level with each other. What we call a “level playing field” for economic development is played with Western rules on Southern turf, so that the New York Giants can take on some high school team from Timbuktu. The International Monetary Fund prepares the terrain and the World Trade Organization referees the game. Guess who wins.

The rules of this game have been written by people educated in the economic canon of the already (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eric Morath points out that a job (or even multiple jobs) can’t be taken as an assurance that a person can avoid relying on income supports and other social programs. PressProgress offers some important takeaways from the Canadian Labour Congress’ study of the low-wage workers. Angella MacEwen writes about the spread of the $15 minimum wage movement in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Carol Goar writes that while we should be looking to improve our social safety net, we need to do so while taking into account the real experience of the people relying upon (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Lonnie Golden studies the harm done to workers by irregular schedules. And Matt Bruening comments on how Missouri, Kansas and other states are passing draconian restrictions on benefits by trying to get the middle class to envy the poor.

- Meanwhile, Scott Santens expands on the connection between increasing automation and a basic income which could ensure that people displaced from jobs by technological advancement aren’t left without a livelihood. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh talks to Guy Standing about a basic income as a means of relieving against reliance on precarious work: What is (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On projection

Shorter Leona Aglukkaq to Canada’s provinces: I’m very disappointed in all of you for my government’s longstanding failings, and demand that you take responsibility immediately.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Jackson argues that contrary to the attempt of the Ecofiscal Commission to impose right-wing values like tax slashing and devolution on any action to deal with climate change, we in fact need the federal government to take a lead role: While it is sensible in the current political context that provinces not wait for federal leadership, this does not mean those pushing for climate action should lessen our pressure on the federal government to lead. At a minimum, the federal government should be requiring all of the provinces to take some modest (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On foundational assumptions

Shorter John Geddes: Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed. And so the miserable results of Stephen Harper’s consistent privatization, free trade obsession and corporate tax slashing don’t count as a conservative record.

Accidental Deliberations: The definition of privilege

Connor Kilpatrick is right to observe that while we should be willing to take note of privilege in many forms, we should be especially concerned with organizing to counter the grossly outsized influence of the very few at the top whose whims are typically allowed to override the common good.

But there’s a handy dividing line available to assess the difference. After all, there’s already been plenty of work done in sorting out who has the most influence on the U.S. political system.

On the best evidence available, any privilege associated with middle-class status or involvement in mass movement (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress exposes the Cons’ utter detachment from the realities facing Canadian workers. And Kevin Page, Stephen Tapp and Gary Mason all expose their balanced-budget legislation as being at best a distraction tactic, and at worst an incentive for governments to do exactly what they shouldn’t when the economy needs a boost from fiscal policy.

- Lu Wang reports on the ever-increasing gap between salaries and stock returns. Kaylie Tiessen points out the gap between the actual wages paid to far too many low-income workers, and the living wage required to get by (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On trial and error

It may be true – as argued by Lawrence Martin – that Mike Duffy’s expense fraud trial will serve as the most prominent point of discussion about the Harper Cons’ stay in power. But we should be careful not to rely on it too much as a counterweight to the Cons’ self-promotion – nor to allow broader concerns about the Cons to be drowned out by the minutiae of Duffy’s actions.

The need for caution arises out of the nature of the trial. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise that the main points to be aired and decided involve (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Surely, Kinder Morgan is celebrating the increased economic activity in English Bay

Just think how many cleanup- and remediation-related profits might be lost if we’d retained the capacity to contain a fuel spill before it spreads.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alison picks up on Armine Yalnizyan’s important question as to whether the Cons have a Plan B other than hoping for factors beyond our control to boost oil prices. And Brad Delong argues that based on the foreseeable direction of our economy, we need a stronger public sector now than we’ve ever had before: (A)s we move into the twenty-first century, the commodities we will be producing are becoming less rival, less excludible, more subject to adverse selection and moral hazard, and more subject to myopia and other behavioral-psychological market failures.

The (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lawrence Ezrow writes that the disconnect between the public and policymaking that’s done so much harm to the U.S. isn’t quite as severe in more equal countries. And the Equality Trust is looking to ensure that the UK’s political parties make the reduction of inequality into a core policy objective.

- Jordon Cooper comments on Saskatchewan’s desperate need for a seniors’ care plan – rather than the current practice of matching photo ops with selloffs and failing services. And Robert McMurtry reminds us of the dire need for a strong federal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On conventional choices

Following up on this post, other commentators are starting to raise questions about what will happen after the impending federal election.

Based on the Harper Cons’ track record, the default assumption has to be that they aren’t about to consider themselves bound by mere conventions or if there’s a chance to cling to power by using thir incumbency to their advantage.

In a worst-case scenario, that could mean that regardless of how Canadians vote, the Cons could continue to exercise all manner of executive power (as bolstered by the ability to “disrupt” peaceful activity under C-51), while freezing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Saturday reading.

- Lana Payne writes that we’re seeing exactly the results we should expect from Stephen Harper’s foolish choice to push money upward: A recent Globe and Mail story, using data from Statistics Canada, pointed out just how poorly the job market is doing under Stephen Harper’s leadership.

“Employment growth has been below 1 per cent for 15 months in a row.  The longest stretch … outside of recessions in almost 40 years of record-keeping,” according to the article by economics reporter Tavia Grant.

At the same time, corporate Canada is flush with cash, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your long weekend reading.

- Jim Buchanan comments on the mountain of inequality looming over all of our political choices. Laurie Posner interviews Paul Gorski about the need for a vocabulary which accurately portrays inequality as the result of social conditions rather than merit or culture. And Robert Reich notes that if anybody can accurately be classified as having done nothing to earn a living, it’s the idle rich: In reality, a large and growing share of the nation’s poor work full time — sometimes sixty or more hours a week – yet still don’t earn enough (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Arthur Neslen reports on the Health and Environmental Alliance’s study of greenhouse gas emission reductions showing that we’d enjoy both improved health and economic benefits by pursuing ambitious targets to fight climate change. And David Roberts examines the massive cost and minimal benefit of carbon capture and storage schemes which serve mostly to increase how much oil we burn at public expense.

- Chris Simpson writes about the need for physicians to consider social determinants of health as part of patient care. And Carolyn Shimmin offers a primer for journalists (and others) to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On exclusivity

Shorter Harper Cons: We’ll consider allowing democratic oversight of CSIS just as soon as that know-nothing public stops electing MPs who aren’t us.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kevin Carson discusses David Graeber’s insight into how privatization and deregulation in their present form represent the ultimate use of state power to serve special interests at the expense of the public: What mainstream American political discourse calls “deregulation” is nothing of the sort. There is no major constituency for deregulation in the American political system — just competing (and in fact considerably overlapping) agendas on what regulatory mix to put in place. There is not, and could not, be such a thing as an “unregulated” bank, Graeber argues, because banks “are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On transition planning

I’ve previously highlighted the need for media and citizens alike to press our opposition parties on how they’re willing to cooperate to replace the Harper Cons after the next federal election. But let’s note that there’s a similar question which still needs to be directed at Stephen Harper at every available opportunity – even if we can’t expect much more than instructive non-answers.

As Andrew Coyne notes, it’s still an open question how far Harper would go in trying to cling to power under all kinds of circumstances: As prime minister, Mr. Harper would retain a number of prerogatives (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Simon Wren-Lewis connects the UK’s counterproductive austerity program to the lack of any wage growth. And Gary Lamphier observes that Alberta is serving as a case in point that jobs generated through public policy rigged in favour of the wealthy are no less precarious than any other type, while Erin Anderssen comments on the connection between public-sector work and greater wage equality.

- Adam Liptak writes that the First Amendment’s protection for speech – like so many other rights which have been redefined to suit the powerful – is now serving primarily (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On value assessments

The Great Budget Debate at the Progress Summit of course reflected a thorough clash in values. But there was one note of obvious agreement which makes the conservative position untenable once its implications are drawn out.

All four speakers spent plenty of time talking about the fact that some investments are worthwhile, and acknowledging that the role of government includes assessing which ones justify the use of public money. But Monte Solberg in particular neatly demonstrated how anti-government bias undermines any attempt to carry out that task.

Solberg spent plenty of time on the Cons’ usual jurisdictional dodges, arguing at (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On structures of convenience

The Progress Summit panel on accountability and transparency has covered the issued of power being consolidated in the hands of the executive, as well as the fact that Stephen Harper’s actions in that respect only reflect a wider pattern. But it’s worth reminding ourselves how that trend is best explained – and considering how to reverse or modify it.

To start with, the desire to avoid accountability has led to additional trends beyond the transfer of power upward. In addition, projects – and particularly the aspects thereof which might give rise to controversy – are increasingly handled by the private (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Identifying the adversary

Not surprisingly, Charles Taylor’s keynote address and discussion on political inclusion has neatly highlighted both the importance of finding commonalities at the personal level, and the dangers of government fomenting prejudice toward minority groups. But I’d think it’s worth drawing a distinction between the problems being addressed at the personal and the political levels.

At the personal level, it’s true prejudice which is best addressed through relationships and shared experience. And we should expect a concerted effort to connect to minority communities to put an end to the underlying fear of the other which politicians may seek to use to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dennis Howlett reminds us that we can raise enough money to strengthen our social safety net merely by ensuring that a relatively small group of privileged people pays its fair share. And Seth Stephens-Davidowitz examines the glaring nepotism which festers in the absence of some policy counterweights.

- But Robert Kuttner offers seven reasons why the 99% keeps losing on policy grounds despite having the obvious theoretical ability to ensure reasonable political outcomes. In a similar vein, Sean McElwee discusses the connection between racism and poverty politics in the U.S.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)