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News feeds are awash in stories of the BREXIT referendum debacle in the UK.  Weak and deceitful campaigns on both sides of the argument about whether to leave the European Union or not resulted in a surprise victory by the ‘Leavers’, prompting the… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: WHAT BREXIT MEANS TO UK CAREGIVERS AND WHY POLICY MATTERS EVERYWHERE

In-Sights: "A strong message…"

Canadian bank fined $1.1M for failing to report suspicious dealings, CTV News, April 5, 2016The federal anti-money laundering agency has levied a $1.1-million penalty against an unnamed Canadian bank for failing to report a suspicious transaction and v… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: "A strong message…"

The Canadian Progressive: Federal Budget 2016: Alternative plan proposes lifting 1.1 million Canadians out of poverty, fighting climate change

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Alternative Federal Budget would lift 1.1 million Canadians out of poverty and empower Canada to fight climate change. The post Federal Budget 2016: Alternative plan proposes lifting 1.1 million Canadians o… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Federal Budget 2016: Alternative plan proposes lifting 1.1 million Canadians out of poverty, fighting climate change

In-Sights: The inequality puzzle

Excerpts from an article by Dambisa Moyo at Project Syndicate. An economist and author who sits on the board of directors of global corporations, she was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” NEW YORK – … . . . → Read More: In-Sights: The inequality puzzle

Northern Reflections: Inequality and Women’s Health

                                       number of studies have documented how income inequality is… . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Inequality and Women’s Health

The Canadian Progressive: Think tank unveils election platform to end income inequality in Canada

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives wants voters to cast a vote to end income inequality in Canada when they head to the polls on October 19.

The post Think tank unveils election platform to end income inequality in Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Northern Insights: Gordon Campbell making history

First published in December, 2009 History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.- Edward Gibbon, English historian of Rome (1737 – 1794)

Doug McArthur at SFU’s Public Policy School cast his eye on one of British Columbia’s crime scenes: I have suggested that since this whole system essentially involves a non-earned transfer of billions of dollars from BC citizens to private power producers, and that this result is perfectly obvious to anyone who takes the time to follow the money, the whole arrangement is essentially corrupt. The fact that the whole (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: It Grows Slowly, This Revenue Loss

…but it grows unavoidably and becomes very large over time.

So says the author of a study on the effects of TFSAs (tax-free savings accounts), Rhys Kessselman, a School of Public Policy professor at Simon Fraser University. As the money accruing in those accounts grows, the revenues losses to both federal and provincial coffers grow commensurately over time. You will find other facts of interest here as well:

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Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: Inequality, global and Canadian


I have two guests to talking about inequality today. First up is Branko Milanovic, who speaks with me about global inequality as well as the rise of a global plutocracy. One of the world’s foremost experts on inequality, Branko is professor at the CUNY Graduate Centre, where he also heads the local affiliate of the Luxembourg Income Study Centre, former chief economist at the World Bank’s research unit and author of the The Haves and the Have-nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality. He blogs regularly; it’s always interesting.

I’m also happy (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Free trade to blame for growing income inequality in Canada

A study recently released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that the modern free trade era has exacerbated income inequality in Canada.

The post Free trade to blame for growing income inequality in Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: What’s this "fat" and "gravy" they speak of anyway?

Are schools and hospitals fat? Are veterans’ pensions gravy?

So what have we cut already? 32% of Veterans Affairs staff supporting disability, death and financial benefits for veterans. One-fifth of Canadian food inspector positions. One-third of Statistics Canada’s data analysts. One-quarter of positions in the department that handles EI claims. And in other news, Canada Revenue Agency is slated to kill 3,000 positions in a division specializing in offshore tax avoidance at the same time as it ramps up what increasingly looks to be politically motivated audits of progressive and environmental charities.

And those are cuts at the federal level. (Read more…) - Alberta politics: Child poverty a problem worth eliminating in wealthy Alberta

Tweet November 24, 2014 marked 25 years since members of the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously to end child poverty in our country. The motion introduced by then-NDP leader Ed Broadbent supported of abolishing child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. Twenty-five years later, we are far away from reaching this goal. Although Alberta has benefited from rapid […]

Northern Reflections: On the QT


Canadians like to think that income inequality is an American problem. But, Linda McQuaig writes, on that meme, Canada is a close second behind the United States:

It’s true that the U.S. has the most extreme inequality, but a recent OECD report noted that Canada has the second-largest share of income growth going to top earners.

However, even that OECD report understates the drift of wealth to the top in Canada — according to dramatic data from a recent academic study which received relatively little attention.

That study presents some pretty stark numbers:

It (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: What To Do With The Surplus?


There’s going to be one. And, if the Harper government gets its way, it will go to tax cuts. That happened under the Liberals, too. Linda McQuaig writes:

The trick is to make surpluses disappear quickly by doling them out in tax cuts — before there’s time for a serious national debate about what the electorate actually wants to do with their money. So when Ottawa started generating big surpluses in the late 1990s, it (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Managers justify generous treatment of managers

In 2013, the consulting firm Ernst & Young was hired to review trends in compensation across the BC Public Sector. It is now available through the Legislature’s public documents.

Reports of this kind are almost worthless documents of political propaganda. The only important question asked of the executives who commissioned it was the one aimed at determining what the report should say. Inevitably, consultants who hope for more assignments, pander to the interests of the senior managers who hire them. That leads to recommendations like this: “Based on the market reviews, it is possible that some of the lower levels (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: They’re Buzzards, But You’re Their Carrion.

We all know that average Americans have been reeling financially since the Great Recession. We know that the post-recession recovery has gone mainly to the richest of the rich and, this time, it’s pretty clear there’s been no ‘trickle down’ to the plebes.

A new study by the Russell Sage Foundation in conjunction with Stanford University shows the hit ordinary American families have taken since the recession. In 2003, the median American household wealth stood at $87,992. A decade later that figure had plummeted to just $56,335. In other words, ordinary Americans (the median family) became 36% poorer in the (Read more…)

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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