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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Garner highlights the futility of trying to answer poverty, equality and other social issues with the empty promise of low-paying “jobs! jobs! jobs!”: The central “solution” in the government’s action plan is jobs. The little money dedicated to this initiative is all directed to employment inclusion and skills training. It’s not surprising. It’s the same answer we receive when our supporters throughout the province advocate for a poverty reduction plan for B.C.  There are two important points to make in response. First, many people with disabilities are unable to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: What the Fraser Institute’s numbers actually show, minus the spin: Alberta has a revenue problem, not a spending problem

The Fraser Institute: peddling conclusions that don’t match the evidence and have enough holes to store captured carbon. Actual Fraser Institute “fellows” may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: A piece of Swiss cheese, which may actually resemble the claims in a Fraser Institute press release, metaphorically speaking.

If the Fraser Institute told the whole truth, or if the mainstream media did its job, here’s the what the first sentence of the Edmonton Journal’s story about the institute’s most recent “report” could have said:

“Alberta’s finances are in better shape than other energy-producing provinces and states, says a report released (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: You could drive one of those tar sands heavy haulers through the gaping holes in the latest Fraser Institute ‘study’ of Alberta’s finances

A worker in Fort McMurray prepares to drive this truck through the holes in the Fraser Institute’s “report,” which claims Alberta’s finances are in worse shape than those of places like Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana. Below: The Norwegian oil port of Stavanger, which, according to the Fraser Institute, doesn’t exist!

Alberta should adopt a sales tax, according to the latest press release from the Fraser Institute.

But don’t worry, the latest piece of far-right puffery from the market-fundamentalist “think tank” – which prefers to refer to this bumpf as a “study” or a “report” – only advocates a consumption (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Hiltzik points out new research showing that business-focused policies do nothing at all to encourage any positive economic outcomes: in fact, a higher rating from ALEC for low-tax, low-regulation government correlates to less economic growth. But Kevin Drum highlights what the corporate agenda is really intended to accomplish: (A)lthough a high ALEC-Laffer ranking may not stimulate any actual growth,…it does correspond to reduced taxes on the wealthy and slashed spending on state services that benefit the poor and working class. In other words, it may not affect growth, but it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- David Macdonald studies Canada’s massive (and growing) wealth gap, and proposes some thoughtful solutions to ensure that growth in wealth results in at least some shared benefits: Attempting to limit inequality through traditional measures like restricting RRSP contributions or introducing new tax brackets for high income individuals generally won’t apply to substantial wealth holdings. The wealth generated by The Wealthy 86 was done through creating or trading assets, mostly companies, not through saving and investing money in the middle-class sense.

One the largest legal loopholes for the wealthy in Canada is that (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Published elsewhere: Ontario is no California when it comes to debt

The Toronto Star just published an article I wrote in response to claims made by the Fraser Institute and the Toronto Sun that Ontario has a runaway debt problem worse than California’s.

The short version: I call BS. The slightly longer version: California has constraints, such as limits on the size of debt and difficulties in raising new taxes, that have severely hampered its ability to take on and manage debt. It has a smaller debt than Ontario on all measures but much worse credit standing. Ontario, on the other hand, still has a lot of flexibility to deal with (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Flaherty bribes automakers—globalization at work

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s $500-million handout to the auto industry has engendered a bit of controversy. Dino Chiodo, president of the union representing hourly workers at Chrysler’s Windsor assembly plant, says it isn’t enough. Mark Milke of the Fraser Institute says it’s way too much, claiming corporate welfare is a bad idea and the money would be better spent on social welfare programs

Alberta Diary: Alberta’s 13 most under-reported political news stories of 2013

Another aircraft takes off from Fort McMurray International Aerodrome loaded with CO2 captured from Alberta’s Athabasca bitumen sands. The gas will be stored in the basements of Russian buildings as part of a deal worked out through the province’s $2-billion “carbon capture” program. Actual Alberta carbon capture boondoggles may not operate exactly as described. Below: A Lethbridge student continues studying as hydraulic fracking operations take place next to her school; why is this doctor smiling? Hint: He runs a Family Care Clinic.

Soon it’ll be 2014 and the mainstream media can get back to doing what it does best: panicking (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Can’t Argue With It

OTTAWA ― The Canadian Labour Congress says that a study released by the Fraser Institute, which attacks the pensions paid to men and women who provide public services to Canadians, is hypocritical.“The Fraser Institute claims to be independent and non-partisan,” says CLC President Ken Georgetti. “But the Institute is well known for taking millions of dollars in contributions from right wing American think tanks and multinational corporations then producing studies that conveniently push their agenda. Who paid for this one, big oil, big pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies, or the business leaders in Canada who regularly donate to the Conservative (Read more…)

OPSEU Diablogue: Fraser got it wrong — StatsCan says little real difference in public-private absenteeism rates

Contrary to the much publicized Fraser Institute press releases accusing the public sector of abusing sick leave allowances, earlier today Statistics Canada issued a report suggesting there is in fact very little real difference in absenteeism rates between the public … Continue reading →

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Annie Lowrey reports on the still-spreading blight of income inequality in the U.S.: An updated study by the prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty shows that the top 1 percent of earners took more than one-fifth of the country’s total income in 2012, one of the highest levels recorded in the century that the government has collected the relevant data.

The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of all income. That is the highest recorded level ever.

The figures underscore that even after the recession the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Robert Reich discusses how we’d all better off if we acted in the public interest and insisted that our representatives did the same: A society — any society — is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.

Public institutions are supported by all taxpayers, and are available to all. If the tax system is progressive, those who are better off (and who, presumably, have benefitted (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Fraser Institute Faces Ridicule Over Child Rearing Cost Study

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Fraser Institute lives to conduct self serving, right wing studies, analysis and such, generally designed to be instructive to the ears of right wing politicians and the eager and uninformed, while still being reassuring to the economically well to do set.

The MSM often suck it up as if it is the, ahem, business like posture that they are always quick to empower and validate, even when they are wrong.

Of course, much, if not most of the time, the Fraser Institute is full of it, and sometimes they are actually, other-worldly, so disconnected from working and middle (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Make the news, then report the news

After The Fraser Institute reported it’s never been easier financially to raise a Canadian child, Business in Vancouver surveyed Twitter response to the think tank’s featherbrained newspeak and found “considerable” controversy,

“Yesterday, the Fraser Institute released a study they say shows the cost of raising a child is not the $10,000 a year assumed by other experts, but a mere $3,000. The total left out extra housing, transportation and child care. Some Canadian parents had their own take on FI’s calculation…”

Readers won’t be surprised by my sympathy for the messages here but I have to note the BIV (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Make the news, then report the news

BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Fraser Institute On Raising A Child, Cheap

The short version here:More here.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Polly Toynbee discusses how the UK’s attacks on social programs are based on gross ignorance about what social spending does (and who it helps): The Citizens Advice Bureau reports a rise of 78% in the last six months in people needing food banks to keep going. Many have jobs, but their pay doesn’t see them to the end of the week. The CAB chief executive says millions of families face a “perfect storm” with benefit cuts, low wages, short hours and the high cost of living. Even in apparently well-to-do areas, community halls (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On factory families

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:

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The Canadian Labour Congress calls out Jim Flaherty for stalling on his promise to work on boosting the Canada Pension Plan. Meanwhile, in attempting to keep profits flowing to the financial sector, several Fraser Institute drones find that increased CPP contributions…substantially increase the total amount saved for retirement by the middle class notwithstanding any substitutional effects. (Which leaves them stammering “ummm…choice!” “er….markets!” “aaah….FREEDOM!” in a desperate attempt to pretend workers are somehow better off with less of a secure public pension.)

- Alison is (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The CFIB’s Municipal Manipulations

After analyzing “research reports” issued by the Fraser Institute or the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), I usually end up shaking my head in disbelief.

Do they really need to so grossly distort and manipulate the statistics to make their arguments?

The answer is invariably “yes”. That’s because the underlying facts are often so at odds with their claims, the only way they can make these claims is with gross manipulation, highly selective use of numbers, misrepresentation and sometimes also erroneous calculations.

The CFIB’s “Big City Spenders” report released today (after being showcased by Pierre Poilievre (Read more…)

Left Over: How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Pharma….?




Nadeem Esmail

Director, Health Policy Studies, The Fraser Institute

Bulk Buying Pharmaceuticals Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be Posted: 05/24/2013 5:30 pm


OOOHHHH….a warning from a minion of the Fraser Institute..couldn’t be his Big Pharma puppeteers steering him into this scary-sounding piffle…now, could it? The facts are that even Big Pharma screws up, or else all those massive lawsuits would be fairytales..nope, they stand to lose out on all their billions, so naturally, who else but the Fraser Institute, good buddies of corporations and the rightwing whackadoodles out there (who (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On distortions

Yes, there’s generally reason to be skeptical of corporate apologists trying to claim a populist, anti-corporate-welfare mantle while pushing for business to contribute less and less to society as a whole. But even if we weren’t going to hold that skepticism against the Fraser Institute’s Mark Milke, there are two gigantic assumptions that make it clear he’s interested in something far less than a fair assessment of the public interest in regulating and taxing markets.

First, there’s this on resource royalties: In the context of resources, be it royalty rates on oil, gas or minerals, or stumpage rates set (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Albertans want election-spending-limit law but are unlikely to get one from Redford PCs

Generous corporate donor drops off cash at Tory headquarters. Actual donors, who may not be exactly as illustrated, will be determined later. Below: Parkland Institute researcher Trevor Harrison and Tory Human Services Minister Dave Hancock.

It’s a conundrum!

What should Alberta’s Tories do? A study by the University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute released yesterday demonstrates something almost everyone already knew anyway – that most Albertans strongly support limits on election spending.

So not setting limits on donations from corporations and unions, or enforcing the rules about how donations are made – Hey, Daryl Katz, c’mon down! – potentially spells big (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Walkom writes that yesterday’s minor tinkering aside, the goal of the Cons’ temporary foreign worker program is still to drive down Canadian wages. And Miles Corak argues that the resulting distortion of employment markets shouldn’t be any more acceptable to a libertarian than a progressive: Flooding the market with workers from elsewhere, year in and year out – even during a major recession – is not about an acute labour shortage. It is nothing more than a wage subsidy to low-paying firms, a subsidy that stunts the reallocation of goods, capital, and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Andrew Simms and Stephen Reid note that the corporatist dogma that everything is done more efficiently in the private sector has no apparent basis in reality: The myth of private sector superiority says that the private sector is efficient and dynamic, the public sector wasteful and slow; that the more we can get the private sector to run things the better. That the head of a massive public enterprise like the Olympics can so blithely discount what underpins it demonstrates its reach. In fact, while billboard adverts said we had commercial sponsors (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Are average Canadians paying too much in taxes?

On April 23, the Fraser Institute released the annual update of their misleading Consumer Tax Index report. The piece is meant to feed the anti-tax sentiment with numbers sprinkled liberally for their shock value instead of providing any meaningful analysis. Here are some of the main flaws with the report’s methodology.

If what follows sounds familiar, it’s because I’m drawing heavily from the analysis I did in 2010 here, here and here. All of these critiques continue to apply to the 2013 report, which is based on the exact same problematic methodology as earlier editions employed.

The Fraser Institute’s (Read more…)