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Politics, Re-Spun: Class Warfare CAUSED Income Inequality, Not the Opposite

Horatio Alger mythology is designed to make us leave the 1% alone and shut the fuck up.

If you haven’t yet seen John Oliver’s amazing rant about the perils of inequality and how the rich shame us out of talking about it by suggesting we’re trying to invoke class warfare, you can see it below.

The truth is, income inequality doesn’t just happen one day, then the classes fight each other. Class warfare is what creates the conditions for income inequality.

But as long as the 1% can keep us from talking about class issues, we can say income inequality (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Message From Orwell: "I Warned You" – A Mound Of Sound Guest Post

You don’t have to dig very deep to get a pretty clear picture of the decline of today’s global civilization. The good times are gone, over, finished. We’re out of stuff, plain and simple. The game today is for one select group of people to employ its considerable advantages to mine the remaining wealth out of everyone else. We’ve become the last, best natural resource and the system has been rigged to effect the greatest unearned transfer of wealth ever. It has symptoms – inequality of income, of wealth and of opportunity; the wholesale theft of political power through “capture” (Read more…)

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: I’m so Damn Sick of Junk Politics and Hopefully Trudeau is Too

There is a good book by Benjamin DeMott Junk Politics: Trashing of the American Mind

DeMott laments the loss of intelligent debate in the political arena, being replaced, in part, with “touchy, feely personal testimonials” and “feel your pain” forced empathy.

In the current Ontario election campaign we’ve heard party leaders tell us that they worked their way through school, were a grandchild of immigrants and like to run.

Who cares? How is that relevant? Any identification we may have with them should end there. Our concern before we give them control of our money and in some respects, our (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Would Jesus Occupy?

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:13-16

Who would Jesus whip and flog?

Ask Occupy.

Happy (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: Not Seeing The Other Half

For some time now, Robert Reich writes, the United States has been devolving into a We and Them Society — as in, Why should we pay for them? He sites several examples:

The middle-class and wealthy citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, for example, are trying to secede from the school district they now share with poorer residents of town, and set up their own district funded by property taxes from their higher-valued homes.

Similar efforts are underway in Memphis, Atlanta, and Dallas. Over the past two years, two wealthy suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama, have left the countywide (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Inequality For All

I am a big fan of the documentary. Unlike the products of years gone by, today’s films are engaging and provocative, frequently providing us with a window to a world we may previously have had only a passing acquaintance with. Whether political, social, or environmental in nature, documentaries are truly useful tools for educating us about the world we live in.

Much has been written about the decline of the middle class, that socio-economic stratum to which we were all taught to aspire. Yet, for a variety of reasons, that goal is now fast becoming unattainable for millions of people. (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: A Faint Ray Of Hope?

Those of us who write blogs on a regular basis, I suspect, have a high tolerance for the uglier aspects of humanity that we regularly confront in our exploration of the political arena. Greed, deception, avarice and rampant egoism seem pervasive, concern for the collective good little more than a platitude. Yet we continue on, in part buoyed by the hope of a better future landscape where demagoguery and ideology are supplanted by reason and empiricism. One lives in hope.

Over at Northern Reflections, Owen, as usual, has an excellent post, this one on how the American politicos in (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Investment in society and in human beings?

A paper published in the journal International Political Science Review considered if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was “Democracy’s Friend or Foe.” It noted that reforms required by the American based IMF, “may create an economically and politically marginalized population whose government is unwilling or incapable of responding to their needs. This may undermine the legitimacy of democracy for those who are marginalized…”

The article said research showed a declining proportion of Latin Americans preferred democracy to any other form of government. In emerging economic powerhouse Brazil, citizens of the world’s fifth most populated country showed only (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Joseph Stiglitz On Income Inequality

Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently gave a powerful speech at the annual AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles. Watching this video leaves one little choice but to feel a deep dissatisfaction with the status quo:

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The Canadian Progressive: Conservatives attack on unions a threat to shared prosperity in Canada, says Broadbent Institute

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: The right-wing’s regressive anti-union rhetoric and U.S.-styled attacks on the labour movement threatens Canada’s prosperity, says a report recently released by the progressive Canadian think tank Broadbent Institute. The report expresses grave concern about the Conservative government’s current political agenda and “highly-organized right-wing campaign to import American-style [...]

The post Conservatives attack on unions a threat to shared prosperity in Canada, says Broadbent Institute appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics and its Discontents: Puncturing Right-Wing Mythology

I hope everyone will take five minutes to watch this video, originally considered too controversial for TED Talks. The speaker, entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, very deftly cuts through the mythology perpetuated by the right wing that the super-rich are our job creators and hence must be treated with taxation kid gloves.

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Northern Insight: Income disparity grows

Incomes of bottom 90 percent grew $59 in 40 years, Natasha Lennard, Salon.com

“Pulitzer Prize-winner David Cay Johnston has highlighted yet more statistics that illuminate the spike in income inequality in the U.S. in recent decades. Flagging Johnston’s analysis, HuffPo noted Monday, ‘Incomes for the bottom 90 percent of Americans only grew by $59 on average between 1966 and 2011 (when you adjust those incomes for inflation)… During the same period, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans rose by $116,071.’ …

“Plot those numbers on a chart, with one inch for $59, and

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Income disparity grows

The Canadian Progressive: Canada’s tax system is in dire need of “fairness” reform: Report

By Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive | Jan. 26, 2013: A new study by two economists from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), an independent left-leaning policy research institute, says Canada’s tax system is in dire need of “fairness” reform. Marc Lee and Iglika Ivanova argue that “ad-hoc tax changes over the last two decades have seriously weakened the redistributive role READ MORE

The Canadian Progressive: Canada failing to close the income inequality gap

by Conference Board of Canada | Feb. 4, 2013: OTTAWA – Canada has been unable to reverse the rise in income inequality – and poverty rates – that occurred in the 1990s. Low rankings on these social equity measures mar an otherwise solid “B” grade in The Conference of Canada’s Society report card, released today. Canada places 7th in the How Canada Performs: Society analysis, READ MORE

Northern Reflections: Regression

The Conference Board keeps churning out reports which should embarrass the Harper government. The Board’s latest report ranks Canada 7th out of 17 developed countries in terms of quality of life. It’s interesting that, in terms of falling crime rates, we are doing very well — although, if you believe what the government tells us, it’s not well enough.

But what is truly disturbing is the growing rate of income inequality:

In Canada, the gap between rich and poor has widened over the past 15 years, and the board says all age groups have felt the change — with both

. . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Regression

The Canadian Progressive: Canada’s richest 1% grabbed 10.6% of all income, rich-poor gap widened: StatsCan

by Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Jan. 28, 2013: Remember Occupy, Canada? A new Statistics Canada analysis of income trends among Canadian taxfilers from 1982 to 2010, released today, confirms three of the many concerns Occupy protesters expressed in late 2011. Concerns relating to income inequality, poverty, corporate greed, etc. First, members of the exclusive club of the top READ MORE

Northern Insight: A road to inevitable unrest

Libs’ ‘Job Plan’ not enough to tackle poverty, Trish Garner, The Province, Dec 2012

“…B.C. has the largest gap between the rich and the poor, and the highest poverty rate in Canada. Over half-a-million British Columbians live below the poverty line, and most of them have a job, sometimes several, in the paid labour force.

“…In the last 10 years the average household income of the top one per cent in B.C. has increased by 36 per cent while, for the rest of us, real median incomes have stagnated, even though we’re working harder…”

Northern Insight: A society doomed by greed

Is the future healthy when one company’s CEO draws a larger salary between breakfast and lunch, on one day, than a loyal 20 year employee earns in a year? Well, during the four hours that a long time McDonald crew person earned $35, his boss gained $16,827. We might assume it was through better productivity, as in faster delivery of sugar and fat laden factory foods.

Information empire Bloomberg draws a sad portrait of a sick western society. Remember, Bloomberg is not the organ of the Occupy movement; these are guys who plead for the free market variants of capitalism.

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: A society doomed by greed

Northern Insight: Business genius talks

Warren Buffett, the world’s third richest man, appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart along with Carol Loomis, senior editor-at-large for Fortune and author of Tap Dancing to Work. A few quotes: Warren Buffett: “In the last ten years, I have… . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Business genius talks

Northern Insight: Trends

A Failed Experiment, Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, Nov 21/12 “Since the 1950s, the top federal income tax rate has fallen from 90 percent or more to 35 percent. Capital gains tax rates have been cut by more than half since the late 1970s. Finan… . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Trends

Northern Insight: The real Welfare Queen

Walmart: America’s real ‘Welfare Queen’, Paddy Ryan, Daily Kos, October 2012 ” As many as 80 percent of workers in [U.S.] Wal-Mart stores use food stamps.”Inequality, exhibit A: Walmart and the wealth of American families, Josh Bivens, The Economic Pol… . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: The real Welfare Queen

Northern Insight: Take from the poor, give to the rich

Further to my comments about homeowners subsidizing industrial power, here is an extract from the blog of Vancouver lawyer Jim Quail, Site C and the Kitimat LNG Export Terminal: Christy Clark’s Program for Income Redistribution:

“…Hydro would sell that much power to one corporate mega-project, at industrial tariff rates of around $35 per megawatt hour. That same power would cost Hydro at least $80 per MWh, assuming they built one-and-a-half Site C dams for that purpose, or around $129 per MWh if they bought it from Independent Power Producers. So we’d pay for Site C, through our Hydro

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Take from the poor, give to the rich

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Ed Broadbent on Income Inequality

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

The Disaffected Lib: Even Forbes Gets It. Why Can’t Steve Harper?

Forbes, yes that Forbes, the business magazine understands the damage that income inequality is exacting on America’s economy.

New research indicates that growing income inequality isn’t just unpleasant; it is seriously hurting the U.S. economy. And economists are figuring out just how the damage is done, according to a fascinating new article by the journalist Jonathan Rauch in National Journal. This challenges a long-standing consensus that, as Rauch puts it, “inequality is the price America pays for a dynamic, efficient economy. . . . As long as the bottom and the middle are moving up, there is no reason to

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Even Forbes Gets It. Why Can’t Steve Harper?