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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andrew Jackson examines the effect of a federal minimum wage – and how it would benefit both workers and employers.

- Dylan Matthews offers a primer on a basic income, featuring this on how a secure income has little impact on individuals’ willingness to work: As noted above, a real basic income has never been implemented across a whole country, which makes macroeconomic effects hard to predict. But we do have some experimental evidence on the question of work effort, drawn from the negative income tax experiments in the US and Canada (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Ethan Corey and Jessica Corbett offer five lessons for progressives from Naomi Klein’s forthcoming This Changes Everything.

- Following up on this post, Andrew Jackson fact-checks the Fraser Institute on its hostility toward the CPP. And the Winnipeg Free Press goes further in challenging the motives behind the “study”: Since the authors started out believing that the Canada Pension Plan and its investment arm are a “self-serving bureaucracy,” it was predictable that they would find something objectionable about CPP administration. The surprise in the study is that the authors produced no (Read more…)

Canadian Political Viewpoints: Why We Need a Guaranteed Annual Income.

It’s been a little while since we last sat down and talked, so I’d like to take the opportunity now to correct that and try to move the conversation forward a little bit. As I mentioned when I posted that we would be re-engaging the blog, there’s a lot of issues going on in our world right now (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: Why We Need a Guaranteed Annual Income.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- thwap nicely summarizes how we’ve allowed our economy to rely on (and feed into) the whims of a small group of insiders, rather than being harnessed for any sense of public good: (W)hat’s changed today is that the wealthy clearly have more money than they know what to do with. And it’s rendered our economies top-heavy. Financialization and financial speculation. Which does nothing for ordinary people. Tax-cuts to wealthy and the corporations just go into the banks and into speculation. Tax-increases to the wealthy and the corporations can help mitigate government deficits (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

This and that to start your weekend.

- Robert Reich discusses how the increasing concentration of corporate wealth and power is undermining the U.S.’ democracy, while noting that there’s only one effective response: We entered a vicious cycle in which political power became more concentrated in monied interests that used the power to their advantage – getting tax cuts, expanding tax loopholes, benefiting from corporate welfare and free-trade agreements, slicing safety nets, enacting anti-union legislation, and reducing public investments.

These moves further concentrated economic gains at the top, while leaving out most of the rest of America.

No (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Olga Khazan writes about the connection between lower incomes and obesity in the U.S. And Truthout discusses how poverty and other stressors can directly affect individual and communal genetics for generations: (A) study by researchers at University College London’s Institute of Child Health found that, thanks to epigenetics, children whose parents and grandparents were born into poverty can, themselves, carry the scars of that past poverty with them for the rest of their lives. That’s because children born to families who’ve lived generations in poverty inherit genes configured to help them (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Rebecca Vallas, Melissa Boteach and Shawn Fremstad write about the need for a new social contract. And Drew Nelles takes a look at the role of a guaranteed basic income in ensuring a fair standard of living for everybody: Although implementing basic income would undoubtedly require a reorganization of social assistance provision, with some programs being eliminated or absorbed, it cannot be used as an excuse to dismantle what’s left of the welfare state. Instead, it’s a hopeful idea because it could act as just the opposite: the beginning of a turn away (Read more…)

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Deirdre Fulton discusses the UN’s 2014 Human Development Report, featuring recognition that precarious jobs and vulnerable workers are all too often the norm regardless of a country’s level of development or high-end wealth. And as Dylan Matthews points out (h/t to David Atkins), the lack of worker benefits from increased corporate wealth figures to make a guaranteed annual income into a logical solution: So here’s my takeaway: a negative income tax or basic income of sufficient size would, by definition, eliminate poverty. We still don’t know if there’d be much of a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Vineeth Sekharan debunks the myth that a job represents a reliable path out of poverty, while reminding us that there’s one policy choice which could eradicate poverty altogether: A job alone does not guarantee freedom from poverty. In fact, in 2012, at least one member of the household was employed in a staggering 44% of all poor households. Even in situations where an individual is employed, there may still be the need for income supplements, as well as educational and employment supports.

This is partially because of the monumental changes that have occurred (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Benjamin Shingler reports on the push for a basic annual income in Canada. And Christopher Blattman notes that cash serves as a valuable treatment for poverty wherever one diagnoses the disease: The poor do not waste grants. Recently, two World Bank economists looked at 19 cash transfer studies in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Almost all showed alcohol and tobacco spending fell or stayed the same. Only two showed any significant increase, and even there the evidence was mixed. You might worry handouts encourage idleness. But in most experiments, people worked more after (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- James Greiff makes the case against the right’s faith-based reliance on costly high-end tax cuts in place of attracting people through jobs and quality of life: (T)he recent record suggests those U.S. states that cut taxes find themselves with bigger deficits and none of the economic revival that might stop the population loss plaguing the Rust and Farm belts.

Consider Ohio, where Republican Governor John Kasich is pushing to cut the top marginal tax rate to 5 per cent or less from the current 5.92 per cent. This might save the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Alyssa Battistoni writes that a universal basic income could go a long way toward solving environmental and economic problems alike by placing a focus on sustainable quality of life rather than increasing consumer consumption: If overconsumption is actually the problem, we can’t fix it by consuming more, however eco-certified the products. Indeed, the very idea that green jobs will drive economic recovery is closely tied to notions of continued American hegemony: green tech is the next big thing, the rhetoric goes, and America needs to get ahead in the global race to innovate. (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: More From Star Readers

Whenever I need a morale boost, I look to the letters’ section of The Toronto Star. There I find regular confirmation that progressive notions are far from dead in this country, despite the best efforts of the Harper regime:

Re: Underemployment reshapes Canada’s job market, Opinion March 14

During the 2008 recession, some of my well-employed friends smugly asked, “What recession?” They would probably say that the trends in today’s job market aren’t troubling at all; they indicate that we are finally realizing the “leisure society” promised log ago by improved production and technology. This view is delusional.

Last (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- John Cassidy offers ten options to reduce income inequality. And Andrew Coyne concurs with the first and most important suggestion that income supports sufficient to provide a stable living to everybody would make for the ideal solution.

- Meanwhile, Frances Russell is the latest to write that the Cons’ income-splitting scheme is only designed to exacerbate the gap between the rich and the rest of us. Miles Corak notes that even Republicans can’t avoid recognizing that equality of opportunity is fading in the U.S. – though he recognizes their inclination to avoid (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Angelina Chapin highlights the drastic impact a guaranteed annual income would have on Canadians currently living in poverty: To set and meet goals, you have to think long-term. When you’re poor, you can’t focus on the future (and Bill Gates wasn’t raised poor, by the way). You worry about finding boots, not pulling up your straps. The best way to “motivate” poor people is with programs that help lift their gaze from the ground to the horizon. A guaranteed annual income program would do that.

The idea is simple: in place of a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Robert Reich confirms the seemingly obvious reality that poverty and inequality are in fact major obstacle facing the poor. And Paul Krugman explains why any successful progressive movement in the U.S. will need to discuss inequality and the hoarding of wealth to challenge the entrenched (and expanding) influence of those who already have the most: (J)obs and inequality are closely linked if not identical issues. There’s a pretty good although not ironclad case that soaring inequality helped set the stage for our economic crisis, and that the highly unequal distribution of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Graeme Wearden reports on Oxfam’s latest study on inequality and the outsized political influence of the wealthy few: The Oxfam report found that over the past few decades, the rich have successfully wielded political influence to skew policies in their favour on issues ranging from financial deregulation, tax havens, anti-competitive business practices to lower tax rates on high incomes and cuts in public services for the majority. Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries for which data are available, said the report.

This (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Katz looks back at how the U.S. abandoned its poor – and how that choice continues to affect people across the income spectrum today. And Michael Valpy discusses how Canada can and should avoid travelling any further down the same path – with his “Big Four” ideas focusing on mandatory voting, proportional representation, a guaranteed basic income and protections for vulnerable workers.

- Jeffrey Simpson describes the Cons’ narrow focus on about 10 per cent of the Canadian electorate in the lead up to the next federal election, while Andrew Jackson (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bob Hepburn writes that more Canadians approve of the idea of a guaranteed annual income than oppose it – even as the concept is all too frequently dismissed as politically unpalatable. And Stuart Trew points out that a majority of Canadians disagree with the corporate super-rights contained in the CETA and other trade agreements.

- But of course, blind support for corporate interests and opposition to a reasonable standard of living for all are neatly clustered in the Cons’ caucus among other places. And Carol Goar writes that Con MPs used a Parliamentary (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jim Stanford counters the myth of labour shortages by pointing out Canada’s significant – and growing – number of potential workers who lack a job. And Janet French reports on how PCS’ job cuts have affected both the workers who were laid off, and the communities who depend on their spending to support local economies.

- CPJ’s infographic makes the case for a guaranteed livable income in Canada:

- CBC reports on the misleading statistics underlying claims that there’s no need to discuss rail safety in Canada – featuring cases of runaway trains (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Stuart Trew fleshes out the Cons’ new(-ly explicit) Corporate Cronies Action Plan – and it goes even further in entrenching corporate control over policy than one might have expected at first glance: – The makeup of the advisory panel that consulted with Trade Minister Fast skews the new Action Plan in favour energy- and water-intensive agricultural export sectors, multinational business represented by the CCCE, and the energy sector. There was no worker representation on the advisory committee. And the involvement of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is arguably more of a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Josh Eidelson and John Schmitt take a look at the guaranteed annual income which will be voted on in Switzerland – and the sole barrier to a similar discussion in the U.S. (and likely in Canada): What is a universal basic income, and why are we hearing more about it now?

The proposals that are floating around the world vary a lot. But the basic idea is, no matter what you do, if you’re a resident — or in some cases, a citizen — you get a certain amount of money each (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Thomas Walkom sees Stephen Harper’s approval of dove hunting as an ideal metaphor for the gratuitous violence of his government: The wildlife service also estimates that new hunting rules will result in about 18,000 Ontario doves being shot each year. But, say hunt aficionadas, so what? There are plenty more.

As the Conservatives would tell you: This is our world. Other species are born into it at their own risk.

To Canada’s governing party, killing doves is a metaphor for sound thinking, fiscal sobriety and doughnut-shop values. It is where the Harperites want (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Saturday reading.

- Rick Salutin writes about the need for the labour movement to better promote its contribution to the general public – and my only quibble is that I’d prefer to see a focus on what still can be (and needs to be) done rather than past victories: (W)hy don’t (unions) contest the battle for the public mind? I don’t know why but they don’t, or rarely do. They seem to have lost track of that tactic. It went missing in the Ontario teachers conflict this year, too. The unions made little or no effort (Read more…)