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Accidental Deliberations: Grifts within grifts

Shorter Saskatchewan Party Ministry of P3 Giveaways: There’s always a risk that the corporate giants we’re paying to take over government operations might be more interested in making money than the public interest. We’re pretty sure the only answer is to pay off more corporate giants.

Accidental Deliberations: On institutional improvements

Shorter Carol Goar: When it comes to Canada Post, the only options are cuts, sell-offs or more cuts. Because who could possibly want better service which also increases public revenue?

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alan Freeman discusses the need for an adult conversation about taxes to replace the Cons’ oft-repeated policy of ignorance: Focusing on low taxes is great politics. It’s also a really dumb way to run the economy of an advanced industrialized country. Getting taxes right is a complex balance. Raise them too high — particularly taxes on income — and you risk creating disincentives for productive work, which can make your economy uncompetitive. Set them too low and you threaten the social programs and public goods that are fundamental to our values as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Peter Schroeder reports on a galling lobbying effort to keep the U.S.’ government paying free money to banks. And Jeremy Smith discusses how corporate groups have pushed to treat any form of public-interest regulation or fair taxation as an imposition on financial-sector profiteering: Mr Das outflanks even Ms Reinhart in the scope of what he includes (as it appears) within the scope of “financial repression”.  It also covers – according to his article – higher taxes, co-paying for government services, cuts in benefits, raising pensionable retirement dates, currency devaluations, as well as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Greg Keenan exposes how corporations are demanding perpetually more from municipalities while refusing to contribute their fair share of taxes to fund the services needed by any community. And Sean McElwee points out how big-money donations are translating into a warped U.S. political system: Available data reveals that donors not only have disproportionate influence over politics, but that influence is wielded largely to keep issues that would benefit the working and middle classes off of the table.

Do donors really rule the world? Recent research suggests that indeed they do. Three (Read more…)

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 vulnerable when it comes to the kind of security that actually affects millions of Canadians. When it comes to economic and social security, the vast majority of Canadians haven’t been this insecure since the Great Depression.

It’s not as if we don’t know the numbers (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Christopher Majka reviews Henry Mintzberg’s Rebalancing Society as a noteworthy discussion of the need for balance between the public, private and “plural” sectors. And David Madland is pleased to see the U.S.’ Democrats finally fighting back against the view that the corporate sector is the only one worth favouring through government.

- But there’s far more to be done in putting the public back in public policy – particularly when, as Bill Tieleman points out, we’re being asked to accept more and more strict “trade” agreements designed to ensure (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On governing alternatives

As David Climenhaga points out, Brad Wall has positioned himself as the heir to Stephen Harper’s throne as the voice of the anti-democratic corporate elite. But let’s note that Wall and his mindset aren’t without some jarring approval within the media.

For example, I’ve already highlighted John Ibbitson’s argument that the federal NDP should be concealing the fact that it’s talking to people who can help with preparations in the event that voters choose to elect it. (As an aside, that theory is as politically inexplicable for a party focused on being “ready” for government as it is offensive (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Barbara Tasch writes about the IMF’s latest research on growing inequality in developing and developed countries alike. And Michael Krassa and Benjamin Radcliff study the impact an improved minimum wage can have on economic well-being: Simply stated, as the minimum wage increases, the economic wellbeing of the national population rises. Statistically speaking this relationship is a strong one, significant at the .001 level.… Here’s the bottom line: Regardless of the size of a country’s economy, its current economic situation, or the time frame chosen, people lead better lives as the minimum wage increases.

(Read more…)

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 on employment relationships to fully address poverty and inequality given the number of current jobs that will be mechanized out of existence before long. But on the bright side, Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on Unifor’s success in achieving significant improvements in wages and schedule predictability for retail (Read more…)

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 underemployment equilibrium puts a lot pressure on household revenues just as those same households are getting into debt. We are thus faced with a second paradox: in a stagnating economy, trying to use austerity to reduce public debt also translates into an increased burden of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Adrian Morrow reports on Al Gore’s explanation as to how the fight against climate change can be economically as well as environmentally beneficial, while CTV points out a new Nanos poll showing that Canadians largely agree with the view that cleaner technology can and should replace dirty fossil fuels. And Gary Mason argues that a summer of drought and wildfires should lead us to pay particularly close attention to climate change in this fall’s election.

- But as per usual, the people making obscene amounts of money from environmental degradation aren’t going (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Aditya Chakrabortty exposes the massive amounts of money gifted from the UK’s public purse to its corporate elite. And Paul Weinberg writes that the Cons are only exacerbating Canada’s practice of encouraging revenue leakage into tax havens: The United States, European Union and several other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations are grappling with the contagion of tax avoidance by global companies, with its potential to hurt government finances. But, as Deneault discovered in researching his book, Canada is marching to a different beat.

“Officially, Canada shows solidarity with other western countries (Read more…)

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 the growth in top incomes. Unlike in the United States, however, the oil and gas sector has also played an important role in income growth at the top, especially in more recent years, and holders of medical degrees have lost ground. Their results for engineers (Read more…)

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 estimates as to the effects of climate change may underestimate the damage done as land-based carbon sinks turn into carbon producers. And Charles Mandel reports that this summer’s spate of wildfires across Western Canada may become the new normal as droughts become more common.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jeffrey Sachs writes about the need to shape a more moral, less exploitative economy. So needless to say, the Cons are instead working on promoting corruption.

- Mark Weisbrot discusses how the Troika’s attempt to impose continued austerity on Greece in the face of public resistance can’t be seen as much more than an attempt at coercive regime change. And John Nichols reports on just a few of the voices rightly lauding the refusal of Greece’s electorate to go along with that plan.

- Scott Eric Kaufman talks to Erik Loomis about (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Dayen explains how fiscal policy intended to ensure growth for everybody is instead sending all of its benefits to the top end of the income scale – and thus failing to ensure any growth at all: (L)et’s examine how central banks try to revive economies. They mainly try to lower interest rates in a variety of ways. This entices consumers to borrow cheaply, spurring more economic activity. Plus, consumers can refinance into lower interest rates on their current loans, saving them money that they could choose to spend. Without high returns from (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Marans reports on Bernie Sanders’ push for international action against austerity in Greece and elsewhere. And Binoy Kampmark documents the anti-democratic and antisocial ideology on the other side of the austerity debate.

- Noah Smith writes that while there’s no discernible connection between massive pay for CEOs and actual corporate performance, there’s a strong link between who an executive knows and how much the executive can extract.

- The CP reports on UNESCO’s push to study the impact of the tar sands on Wood Buffalo National Park. And Tavia Grant breaks (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Carol Goar discusses the contrasting messages being sent to Canada’s middle class in the lead up to Canada’s federal election campaign – and notes that the real decision for voters to make is whether they’re happy with marginally higher nominal incomes at the expense of greater inequality and more precarious lives. Mark Goldring makes the case for an economy oriented toward what’s best for people rather than short-term profits: Tackling inequality requires that people, not profit constitute the bottom line. We need everyone who is in a position of influence – business (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jim Stanford discusses the need to inoculate citizens against shock doctrine politics, as well as the contribution he’s hoping to make as the second edition of Economics for Everyone is released: I suppose it is fitting (if tragic) that this new edition is being released into an economic environment that is still marked by fear, fragility and hardship. And this highlights a key theme of Economics for Everyone – and one of my key personal motivations as an economist whose career has been rooted in trade union and social justice settings (rather than (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Sam Becker discusses the economic harm done by growing inequality, while Alexandra Zeevalkink previews Katharine Round’s upcoming documentary on the issue. And Carol Goar argues that Canadians are eager for leadership to ensure that everybody shares in our country’s wealth.

- Meanwhile, Laura Cattari points out the importance of giving people living in poverty a voice in policy decisions. And Erik Loomis highlights the consequences of failing to do so, as an imbalance in political influence has resulted in U.S. corporations being able to use poor areas both domestic and foreign as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Tencer discusses the latest evidence that trickle-down economics are a fraud, while David Roberts and Javier Zarracina write about how the elite seems to get its own way even when the results are worse for everybody. And Heather Stewart reports on the IMF’s findings as to the connection between financialization, inequality and stagnation as the extraction of wealth comes to be valued more than the production of anything useful.

- Meanwhile, Simon Enoch and Cheryl Stadnichuk observe that Saskatchewan is headed down a well-worn path to ruin based on the Wall (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- PressProgress points out that neither the public nor a group of the world’s leading economists sees the slightest value in balanced-budget gimmicks which override sound public decision-making. And Paul Krugman observes that the entire conservative economic strategy is based on overinflating bubbles, then letting somebody else clean up the resulting mess.

- Matthew Weaver highlights the use of “poshness tests” to screen out working-class applicants seeking work with key UK employers as a particularly stark example of how prestige and wealth have less and less to do with individual achievement. And Anna (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Hiltzig examines the evidence showing that austerity serves as a major obstacle to economic growth. And Ian Hussey argues that Alberta (like other jurisdictions) is out of budgetary balance due to a lack of income rather than any need to cut social supports.

- Branko Milanovic studies (PDF) the historical relationship between inequality and long-term economic growth and finds no reason to think the former does anything but impede the latter: More political power and patronage implies more inequality. The frequent claim that inequality promotes accumulation and growth does not get (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Daria Ukhova summarizes the OECD’s findings on the links between inequality, poverty and the economy: Inequality, economic growth, and poverty. In the new report, the OECD has tried to establish the links between these three phenomena, which so far have been mostly explored in pairs, as the relationship between inequality and growth and the relationship between inequality and poverty. While confirming previous arguments about the negative impact of inequality on growth and on poverty, the OECD has gone a step further, arguing that the mechanism through which inequality actually undermines growth is (Read more…)