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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Mary O’Hara notes that even a relatively modest and incomplete set of progressive policies has created some important movement toward reducing poverty. And conversely, Caroline Mortimer writes that child poverty is exploding under the Conservative majority government in the UK.

– Dean Beeby reports on the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Branko Milanovic examines whether the U.S.’ tax system is actually progressive all the way to the top of the income spectrum – and finds that there’s not enough data about the treatment of the extremely wealthy to be sure. And Robert Cribb and Marco Chown Oved discuss the latest Panama Papers revelations showing the large-scale stashing of Canadian assets in the Bahamas.

– Laura Wright reports that Canada’s federal government has approved secret surveillance technology which leaves the public in the dark as to which of its communications are subject to eavesdropping.

– Meanwhile, the federal government is rather less interested in the public safety concerns involved in documenting the fires on the First Nations reserves within its jurisdiction – having abandoned that task in 2010.

– Ross Belot writes that there’s no point in approving and building new pipelines at the moment other than political posturing. And the CP reports on the connection between air pollution from tar sands developments and the health of residents of the area.

– Finally, Adnan Al-Daini is encouraged by Sweden’s move toward a repair-not-replace mindset, and suggests the idea should spread further:

If more countries followed the Swedish example, think of the impact that would have globally on our CO2 emissions. Manufacturing goods is energy intensive. The website “Fix it-Don’t replace it” gives the example of the iphone6 where 85% of its lifecycle’s carbon footprint is from manufacturing it, not using it and another 3% from shipping it.

Climate change is with us already and such measures are needed as a matter of urgency. Such a proposal should not be a party political issue. Good quality jobs would be created in the country where the appliance is used. It would save the consumer money, and it is good for the environment.

Could we do something similar in Britain?  Does this have to be a political issue and parties have to have it in their manifestos before it could happen?  I don’t see where disagreement between parties could arise.

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

This and that for your Thursday reading.- William G. Gale, Hilary Gelfond and Aaron Krupkin examine the evidence as to the effects of upper-class tax cuts, and find that they serve no purpose but to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those w… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Norman Farrell highlights how following the reversal of the HST transition, B.C. businesses haven’t given up on their goal of making sure that only individuals pay consumption taxes. – Jordan Press and… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon 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.- Andrew Coyne argues that the Senate’s role in overruling elected representatives – which only seems to be growing under the Trudeau Libs – represents an affront to democracy. And Duncan Cameron has some suggest… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Michael Klare writes about the future direction of the oil industry – which looks to involve cashing out quickly than building anything lasting:At the beginning of this century, many energy analysts were convinced th… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Duncan Brown discusses the connection between precarious work and low productivity. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh examines how Ontario’s workers’ compensation system is pushing injured individuals into grinding pove… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.- Lana Payne reminds us that wealth will never be fairly distributed without public action to ensure it doesn’t get concentrated with the lucky few:More and more of the income pie is going to the top one per cent . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.- Louis-Philippe Rochon highlights why we need governments at all levels to be working on stimulating Canada’s economy, not looking to cut back:The bank was referring to what economists call “secular stagnation”… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Roderick Benns interviews Scott Santens about the effect of a basic income:Benns: Why is the concept of a basic income guarantee so important at this point in our societal development? Santens: We’re living in a pa… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Andrew Jackson writes that the Cons have gone out of their way to destroy the federal government’s capacity to improve the lives of Canadians: When the Harper government took office, federal tax revenues (2006-07 fiscal year) were 13.5% of GDP, a bit shy of the 14.5% peak in . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the many problems with building social benefits and employment policies alike on a foundation of distrust.

For further reading…– Rick Mercer rants about the obstacles the Cons are throwing in the way of veterans. And the CP follows up on the Cons’ response to Paul Franklin’s case here.– CBC reports here on . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Accidental Deliberations: On motivating factors

Andrew Coyne offers what’s probably the most reasonable argument to treat the negligible threat of terrorism differently from the other risks we so readily accept (and indeed which are regularly exacerbated by deregulation).

But Coyne’s argument falls well short of justifying the response actually on offer from the Cons – and indeed looks questionable on . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On motivating factors

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler discuss the challenge facing charities as compared to the special treatment of businesses in trying to advocate as to public policy: (T)he solutions to many of society’s problems do not need more research and the criticism-free public education that the CRA permits. They . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Slavery is freedom

Shorter Brianna Heinrichs: Oh sure, you soft-hearted progressives think you’re helping workers with your “employment standards” and your “occupational health and safety”. But have you ever considered some people might prefer to have serfdom as an option?

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Erika Shaker points out how condescending attitudes toward public benefits are both making it unduly difficult to develop new programs which would benefit everybody, and threatening existing social safety net. Sean McElwee writes that inequality only figures to grow as an issue as the wealthy try to disassociate . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Labour Day reading.

– Andrew Jackson discusses the future of Canada’s labour movement, while Gil McGowan highlights the fact that unionization can be no less important in Alberta and other booming areas than elsewhere. And Jerry Dias notes that there are some reasons for celebration this year.

– But Edward McClelland . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Margaret Somers and Fred Block write about Karl Polanyi’s critique of the free-market myth and its increased relevance today: (F)ree-market rhetoric is a giant smokescreen designed to hide the dependence of business profits on conditions secured by government. So, for example, our giant financial institutions insist that . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Jared Bernstein discusses how fair and progressive taxes on the rich are a necessary element of any effort to improve the lot of the poor: The rising tide of inequality does more than create great economic distance between income classes. It also produces higher barriers to mobility. Increased . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Timothy Shenk discusses Thomas Piketty’s contribution to a critique of unfettered capitalism and gratuitous inequality: Seen from Piketty’s vantage point, thousands of feet above the rubble, the fragility of this moment becomes clear. Economic growth was a recent invention, major reductions to income inequality more recent still. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links