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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Wolfgang Munchau writes that the rise of right-wing insurrectionism can be traced largely to “centre-left” parties who have focused most of their attention on imposing austerity and catering to the corporate sector while offering little to citizens, while Naomi Klein comments on the role of neoliberal politics . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Thomas Walkom writes that the federal Libs’ idea of “real change” for the economy reflects nothing more than the same old stale neoliberal playbook: At its core, the federal government’s “bold” new plan for economic growth is strikingly familiar.

The scheme, worked out by Finance Minister Bill . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Baratunde Thurston makes the point that even beyond income and wealth inequality, there’s an obviously unfair distribution of second chances in the U.S. depending on one’s race and class. Denis Campbell reports on the link between poverty and childhood obesity, while Jen St. Denis highlights how poverty . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Jim Stanford writes about the obvious problems with globalization as it’s currently structured – and the need to meaningfully take into account the public interest before anybody other than the investor class can be expected to participate in the process: The reality is that hundreds of millions of . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Dani Rodrik suggests that instead of engaging in extended hand-wringing over the collapse of public interest in corporate trade deals, we should instead be working on strengthening domestic social contracts: The frustrations of the middle and lower classes today are rooted in the perception that political elites have . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Lawrence Summers discusses the economic damage being done by a top-heavy income spectrum – as the effect of major stimulus programs may have been wholly outweighed by the decline in middle-class incomes.

– Meanwhile, Canadians for Tax Fairness points out the impending tax court case which will . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Don Pittis writes that it will take far more than words and sentiments to reverse the trend of growing income inequality. Elaine Power points out that Ontario’s social assistance programs – like those elsewhere – far fall short of meeting basic human needs. And Christopher Mackie reminds us that the effects of poverty go well beyond immediate financial consequences:

Canada has free, high-quality healthcare for everyone. So why do the richest 10% of people live seven years longer than the poorest? Deep poverty can be associated with a drop in life expectancy of 20 years or more. If we look at both life expectancy and years lived with disability, the rich are 39% healthier than the poor.

Income affects health in several ways, including the direct impact on the resources needed for healthy living, access to healthy physical environments and access to healthy social environments.

Poverty limits access to nutritious food, recreation opportunities, adequate housing, and the education needed to pull oneself out of poverty. Each year, the Middlesex-London Health Unit issues a report that compares the cost of nutritious food to income received from minimum or welfare wage. This Nutritious Food Basket Report consistently shows that it is impossible for people on low income in London and Middlesex County to afford healthy food once basic costs such as rent and utilities are paid.

The benefits of policies that address poverty go far beyond simply helping the poor. Research has consistently shown that everyone is better off in societies that are more equal. Comparisons of countries which are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) consistently show that in societies that are most equal, even the poor are healthier than the rich in societies that are the least equal. In other words, greater income equality means better health for everyone – including the rich.

This paradox – that my income is linked with my health, but that my society’s income equality is also linked with my health – is not fully understood. One theory is that it is linked with the social environments we live in. More unequal societies tend to be more competitive, with fewer opportunities for upward mobility. This can be associated with stress and hopelessness. Stress is linked with a number of health problems from heart disease to cancer. Hopelessness can be devastating, reducing motivation to seek employment and leading a person to neglect their health or even engage in self-harming behaviours like addiction to alcohol and drugs.

In more equal societies, a feeling that friends, neighbours and fellow citizens will offer help when needed can be motivational, even leading to an increased sense of self-worth. Reduced stress can allow us to see past day-to-day challenges and make better decisions for the long term.

– Christopher Adams exposes how employers are exploiting millenial workers. And Evelyn Kwong and Sara Mojtehedzadeh report on a temporary employee’s workplace death in Toronto, while Adam Hunter discusses the appalling trend of people being killed on the job in Saskatchewan.

– Tonda MacCharles reports on the Libs’ discussion paper on security laws. And Jeremy Nuttall notes that there’s ample reason for concern that they want to make matters even worse by reviving dubious “lawful access” provisions rather than correcting even the overreach found in Bill C-51.

– The Star’s editorial board writes that we should be strengthening our universal public health care system rather than destroying it as Brian Day and others want to do.

– Finally, Kathy Tomlinson details how Canada’s tax laws are being flouted by the investors making millions off of the explosion of Vancouver’s real estate market. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Alan Freeman is duly appalled by Apple’s attempt to throw itself a pity party with the money it’s hoarding rather than paying in fair corporate taxes. And James Mackintosh reports on Jeroen Dijsselbloe… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Brendan Duke examines the connection between wage growth and worker productivity, and makes the case that the former may lead to the latter:

The 1929–1950 increase in wages was at first a result of several policies that directly raised workers’ wages, including the first federal minimum wage, the first federal overtime law, and the National Labor Relations Act, which made it easier for workers to join a union and bargain with their employers. The entry of the United States into World War II further drove investment higher, as the economy converted into what Gordon describes as a “maximum production regime.”

It is striking that during this period of rapid productivity growth, wages for production workers grew even faster than productivity growth did. The current debate about whether a typical worker’s compensation has kept track with the economy’s productivity typically envisions productivity growth as the precondition for wage growth. But Gordon’s research implies that the relationship can go both ways: Not only can productivity growth raise wages, but higher real wages also can boost productivity growth—the main reason for slow gross domestic product growth—by giving firms a reason to purchase capital.

Can higher wages raise productivity growth in 2017? Basic economic theory and common sense suggests that an increase in the price of labor—wages—achieved through higher labor standards will cause firms to invest in more capital, raising the economy’s productivity.

– Guy Caron points out that international tax agreements which should serve to facilitate enforcement are instead allowing the greedy rich to evade meaningful taxes everywhere, while the Star argues that no corporation should be able to avoid social responsibilities through sweetheart tax deals. And James Wright warns of an impending deal on services which may tie the hands of governments seeking to work in the public interest more directly than any existing trade agreement.

– James Walsh reports on the devastating effects of the UK Conservatives’ efforts to push people out of social housing – which will of course sound far too familiar for many in Saskatchewan.

– Finally, Michelle Chen comments on the gigantic ecological deficit being imposed on future generations through unchecked climate change, while David Roberts discusses the environmental devastation (and cleanup costs) which figure to be borne by the public as the coal industry ceases to be viable. And Brent Patterson highlights a noteworthy study on the lasting effects of the Husky oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Armine Yalnizyan writes that the response to the European Commission’s finding that Apple has dodged $20 billion in taxes may tell us all we need to know about the relative power of governments and corporations:The E… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Armine Yalnizyan writes that the response to the European Commission’s finding that Apple has dodged $20 billion in taxes may tell us all we need to know about the relative power of governments and corporations:

The EC is also investigating state support received by Amazon and McDonalds in Luxembourg, a tax haven. Expect more costly court battles about the appropriateness of laws and systems of governance.
Since the 2008 economic crisis, giant corporations have gone from being “too big to fail” to “too big to pay.”
But as the big tax avoiders get feisty, so too are voters. The Panama Papers have made people aware of the hypocrisy: when those with deep pockets don’t pay, everyone else pays more. Governments are legitimately worried about their finances, and more focused on tax fairness than in decades. But as corporations both fight and rewrite the rules, occasionally cash-starved, debt-ridden nations are being enlisted to support their agenda.
The Apple story is huge. It could presage the end of tax competition, as nations co-ordinate attempts to combat absurd levels of tax-dodging. Or it could signal growing dominance of corporate power over state power. High stakes, to be sure, in the evolution of 21st-century globalization.

– Meanwhile, Allan Sloan discusses how Mylan’s profiteering in ratcheting up the price of EpiPens has been paired with glaring tax avoidance. And the NDP points out the conspicuous lack of any public benefit from the Libs’ and Cons’ track record of corporate tax slashing in Canada.

– Alex Hemingway writes about the costs of privatizing public infrastructure. And Thomas Walkom highlights the Libs’ options in reviewing Canada Post’s future – which include taking an obvious opportunity to better meet a large number of social needs through a postal banking system.

– Bloomberg View rightly argues that fossil fuel subsidies are about the dumbest possible type of public policy. And Samantha Page offers another reason why that’s so by pointing out the devastating health effects of oil and gas production and distribution.

– Finally, Simon Enoch offers a much-needed warning to the rest of Canada as to what Saskatchewan faces with Brad Wall in power. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:Eliminating tax haven… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Dennis Howlett discusses the public costs of allowing tax avoidance – as Canada could afford a national pharmacare program (and much more) merely by ensuring that the rich pay what they owe:

Eliminating tax haven use could save Canada almost $8 billion a year. That’s enough to cover universal public prescription coverage almost eight times over.

Time after time, budget after budget, poll after poll, those in charge make it sound as if we’re too poor as a country to afford the programs that would really improve Canadians’ lives. The fact that revenues are lost to poor policy on tax havens and loopholes is often conveniently ignored.

At this stage of the game, the federal finance minister doesn’t need to raise taxes to pay for pharmacare. Bill Morneau just has to make sure that Canadian multinationals and wealthy individuals pay the tax rate we already have. That isn’t happening right now.

It’s simple. Canadians can continue to support a tax system that lets the richest avoid paying $8 billion in taxes annually — or we can tell them that the party’s over. Instead of ignoring what is happening in the Cayman Islands, Panama and other tax havens, we can urge our politicians to invest the taxes owing on those billions into services that benefit individuals, families, communities and the country as a whole.

There is solid data supporting raising taxes in some areas. But that’s an argument for another day. The issue at hand right now is that we do have enough money for pharmacare — likely enough for public dental care as well. Through a series of misguided and outdated decisions driven by the tax dodge lobby, we are needlessly and destructively giving up that revenue.

It’s time to fix those old mistakes and use the tax system to help this country live up to its potential.

– Meanwhile, Owen Jones discusses a European Commission ruling finding that Apple can’t validly avoid paying tax through a special arrangement with Ireland. And the Star rightly slams the Fraser Institute for presenting a misleading picture of where public revenue comes from and what it can accomplish.

– The CP reports on the Libs’ plans to facilitate the use of temporary foreign workers for liquid natural gas projects in British Columbia – meaning that the last supposed benefit for the province of engaging in a dangerous industry seems to be as illusory as all the others. And Jeremy Nuttall notes that Justin Trudeau seems set to open the door even wider to entrench the use of exploitable foreign labour by multinational corporations. 

– Finally, Catherine Cullen reports on the effects of privatized health care insurance which are being presented in an effort to defend Canada’s medicare system from would-be profiteers:

John Frank, a Canadian physician who is now chairman of public health research and policy at the University of Edinburgh, argues in his report that more private health care “would be expected to adversely affect Canadian society as a whole.”

He cites research that suggests public resources, including highly trained nurses and doctors, would be siphoned off by the private system.

More Canadians would face financial hardship or even — in extreme cases — “medical bankruptcy” from paying for private care, he writes.

Frank even suggests there could be deadly consequences. He says complications from privately funded surgeries often need to be dealt with in the public system because private facilities are generally less equipped to handle complex cases.

“If such complications, arising from privately funded care, are not promptly referred to an appropriately equipped and staffed care facility, the patient is likely to experience death or long-term disability, potentially leading to reduced earnings and financial hardship.”

Overall, “in my expert opinion,” Frank writes, the change would reduce fairness and efficiency and “society as a whole would be worse off.”

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

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on a new Ontario study recommending a strong investment in child care to reduce the gender wage gap. – Allan Moscovitch, Nick Falvo and David Macdonald offer a useful primer on social suppo… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on a new Ontario study recommending a strong investment in child care to reduce the gender wage gap. – Allan Moscovitch, Nick Falvo and David Macdonald offer a useful primer on social suppo… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- Paolo Giuliano and Antonio Spilimbergo study (PDF) how the economic conditions an individual’s youth influence enduring values – and find that the experience of an economic shock tends to lead to a greater apprec… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- PressProgress points out that a large number of Canadians are justifiably concerned about our economy, with a particular desire to rein in income and wealth inequality. And Guy Caron notes that there’s no reason for … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Andrew Jackson makes the case for a review of Canada’s tax system focused on boosting revenue from the wealthy people and corporations who can readily afford it:These tax loopholes are costly. Partial inclusion… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- James Stewart examines how Donald Trump could be paying zero taxes using shelters designed specifically to enrich real estate developers while serving no social purpose. And Alexandra Thornton and Brendan Duke po… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Thomas Walkom discusses Mel Hurtig’s philosophy of economic nationalism, while noting that Canada stands out as an exception in lacking a strong movement toward greater internal planning and economic control. … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.- Branko Milanovic argues that there’s plenty of reason to be concerned about inequality even if one puts aside a utilitarian comparison of individual needs and benefits:(I)nequality of opportunity affects negati… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Glenn Greenwald interviews Alex Cuadros about his new book on how Brazil has been warped politically and economically by the whims of its billionaire class. And PressProgress takes a look at the impact… . . . → Read More: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.- Mark Karlin interviews Richard Wolff about the relationship between unfettered capitalism and poverty:How is poverty an inevitable by-product of capitalism? Doesn’t this make all these charitable drives “to … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Albert van Senvoort points out that poverty is more difficult to escape in Canada today than it was two decades ago. And Jean Swanson discusses the desperate need for more action from all levels of government… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Louis-Philippe Rochon reminds us why even if we were to (pointlessly) prioritize raw GDP over fair distributions of income and wealth, inequality is bad for economic growth in general:The more we redis… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links