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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Sean McElwee examines new evidence of the deliberate choice of past U.S. governments dating back to Ronald Reagan to completely discount the policy preferences of anybody but the rich: In a new book, political scientists James Druckman and Lawrence Jacobs examine data on internal polling from U.S. presidential archives and other existing research to determine how presidents use their knowledge of public opinion to craft policies. What they found is disturbing: Presidents tend to focus on the opinions of the wealthy and well-connected insiders, ignoring the views of most (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Heather Boushey writes about the Great Gatsby Curve showing a direct correlation between equality and social mobility – and conversely, that high inequality severely limits opportunity for large numbers of people. And Vikas Bajaj discusses how high inequality also harms overall economic development.

- But of course, we’ll never get policies to address those problems without a government willing to highlight the need for change and acknowledge that there are no non-controversial answers – as Sadiq Khan points out in discussing the U.K. Labour Party: (I)nsecurity reaches right up the income scale, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Evening Links

This and that for your Saturday reading.

- Keith Banting and John Myles note that income inequality should be a major theme in Canada’s federal election. And Karl Nerenberg points out that voters will have every reason to vote for their values, rather than having any reason to buy failed strategic voting arguments.

- PressProgress charts the devastating effect of precarious employment in Canada. And Wayne Lewchuk writes about the precarity penalty, and the need for public policy to catch up to the reality facing workers: Uncertain future employment prospects can increase anxiety at home.  Lack of benefits can (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Michael Schwartz and Kevin Young make the case for a greater focus on influencing corporations and other institutions first and foremost – with the expectation that more fair public policy will be possible if a dominant business sector doesn’t stand in the way. David Wessel points out that many states’ tax systems are set up to exacerbate inequality. And Matthew Yglesias notes that a typical set of slap-on-the-wrist fines against banks for massive market manipulations call into question whether the U.S.’ current regulatory structure is anywhere close to sufficient to protect (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Heather Stewart writes about the OECD’s study showing the connection between increasingly precarious work and worsening inequality. 

- Tara Deschamps reports on a few of the challenges facing poor Torontonians, while Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Laurie Monsebraaten cover the United Way’s report card showing that most workers are now stuck in precarious work. And Star offers a few policy suggestions to improve that situation, while Ella Bedard points out how Andrew Cash is pushing for solutions at the federal level.

- Edward Keenan writes that it’s long past time to stop relying (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Frances Woolley reminds us of some of the hidden advantages of the rich, and suggests that they point toward the fairness of taxing wealth in addition to consumption: The greatest freedom money offers is the freedom to walk away. Your bank doesn’t offer you unlimited everything with no monthly fees? Walk away. There’s always someone else who wants your money. Your phone plan is too expensive? Walk away (o.k., that may not be the best example).

People with money have alternatives, which makes their demand for goods and services elastic. Food (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Brad Delong discusses the two strains of neoliberalism which dominate far too much political discussion – and the reason why the left-oriented version doesn’t offer any plausible analysis of where we stand: (Bill) Clintonian left-neoliberalism makes two twin arguments.

The first is addressed to the left: it is that market mechanisms–properly-regulated market mechanisms–are more likely than not a better road to social democratic ends than command-and-control mechanisms.

The second is addressed to the right: it is that social democracy is the only political system that can in the long run underpin a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Matthew Yglesias points out that a particular income level may have radically different implications depending on an individual’s place in life, and that we can only address inequality by formulating policy accordingly: The median household income in the United States is about $52,000. So go ahead and picture a median-income household. What did you picture?

Did you picture a 25-year-old with a decent job who’s maybe worried about student loans but is basically doing okay? Or did you picture a married pair of 45-year-olds who are both full-time workers stuck in kinda crappy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk offers his suggestions as to how Rachel Notley can improve Alberta’s economy and political scene in her first term in office. And thwap comments on the right’s more hysterical responses to Notley’s victory.

- Meanwhile, Duncan Cameron writes that Albertans have joined the rest of Canada in rejecting a regressive tax system. And Louis-Philippe Rochon reminds us that there’s still plenty more which needs to be done on that front at the federal level.

- Justin Ling discusses how C-51 fits into a wider pattern of intrusive surveillance plans – even (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Should we be taxing the rich 1% more?

Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor, Laurentian Economics

Founding Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

 

Originally published by CBC. Find commentary here.

 

The federal Liberal Party’s recent election promise to create a new tax bracket for rich Canadians has been quickly decried by – well, rich Canadians. But is it an appropriate and sensible approach to fiscal policy? The answer is unequivocal: yes.

Understandably, Conservatives have been equally quick to denounce the proposal, calling it ‘Trudeau’s tax.’

Mr. Trudeau should not shy away from this epithet, but rather wear it proudly.

Yet Mr. Trudean’s idea (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Will McMartin highlights the fact that constant corporate tax slashing has done nothing other than hand ever-larger piles of money to businesses who have no idea what to do with it. But Josh Wingrove reports that Justin Trudeau is looking for excuses to keep up the handouts to the corporate sector.

- Joseph Stiglitz offers (PDF) a thorough review of our options in lessening corporate hegemony, while Elizabeth Warren and Rosa Delauro ask why citizens should accept trade agreements being written in secret by and for the corporate sector. And David Dayen (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Vancouver Sun interviews Andrew MacLeod about his new book on inequality in British Columbia. And Tanara Yelland talks to Guy Standing about the need for governments responsive to the needs of the precariat: One central demand Standing makes is for the establishment of a universal basic income. Having the Canadian government provide all citizens (or all residents regardless of citizenship status, if you want to get really radical) would allow people to live without fear of things like starvation and homelessness, and would actually, according to research done on the subject, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress weighs in on corporate Canada’s twelve-figure tax avoidance, while noting that the Cons’ decision to slash enforcement against tax cheats (while attacking charities instead) goes a long way toward explaining the amount of money flowing offshore. And Oxfam is working on its own Canadian fair tax campaign.

- Robert Frank highlights the complete disconnect from reality which results in most American millionaires claiming that they’re in the middle class, rather than representing a privileged few. And Stephen Gordon writes that there’s a similar sleight of hand at work in the Libs’ “middle (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness crunches the numbers and finds that Canada is losing out on nearly $200 billion in assets being sheltered in tax havens. And David Kotz writes about the need for large-scale restructuring to address the glaring flaws in neoliberal dogma: Despite the resurgence of neoliberal ideas and policies, there is reason to be optimistic about the potential for progressive change in the years ahead. The efforts to revive and extend the neoliberal model cannot succeed in overcoming the current economic stagnation and restoring normal capitalist economic growth without which (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Sean McElwee offers a new set of evidence that the right-wing Republicans who run on the economy in fact do it nothing but harm. And David Dayen discusses how Bernie Sanders may be able to push the U.S.’ policy discussion into a far more positive area by forcing both parties to confront the failure of corporatist economics.

- But David MacDonald warns that Justin Trudeau and the Libs are trying to force Canada into a limited choice between tax baubles for the upper class. And Chantal Hebert too sees Trudeau as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Branko Milanovic discusses how rent theory fits into the glaring gap between productivity and wages: Bob Solow explored a couple of days ago another possibility. Going back to his own initial work on the theory of growth, some 60 years ago, Solow asked the following question: why did we assume that there is perfect competition and that factors are paid their perfect completion marginal products? We knew, continued Solow, that there were monopolies; moreover, the theory of imperfect competition (Chamberlin and Joan Robinson) existed since the 1930s. Solow said: “I could not (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Justin Wolfers discusses new research showing how location has a dramatic effect on the future of young children. And it’s particularly striking that the negatives of moving seem to outweigh any positive effects of a surrounding neighbourhood for older children – suggesting that if there’s any truth to the theory that poverty is merely a stage on the way to relative wealth for a meaningful number of families, then those families may systemically be in the worst circumstances when it does the most harm.

- Meanwhile, Denis Campbell reports on how austerity has (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Michael Kraus, Shai Davidai and A. David Nussbaum discuss the myth of social mobility in the U.S. And Nicholas Kristof writes that inequality is a choice rather than an inevitability: Yet while we broadly lament inequality, we treat it as some natural disaster imposed upon us. That’s absurd. The roots of inequality are complex and, to some extent, reflect global forces, but they also reflect our policy choices. In his new book, “The Great Divide,” Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, includes two chapters whose titles sum it up: “Inequality (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lynne Fernandez properly labels the Cons’ federal budget as the “inequality budget”. Andrew Jackson discusses how we’ve ended up in a new Gilded Age in Canada, and what we can do to extricate ourselves from it. And BC BookLook reviews Andrew MacLeod’s new book on inequality by pointing out some of the important facts which seldom seem to surface elsewhere.

- Speaking of which, Andrew Nikiforuk exposes how the Alberta PCs handed the oil industry $13 billion in free money by failing to correct a miscalculation as to how royalties would change with (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bill McKibben argues that Bernie Sanders’ run for the presidency should have massive positive impacts extending far beyond both Sanders’ central theme of inequality, and international borders to boot. And Salon interviews Joseph Stiglitz as to how inequality and the economy will affect the 2016 presidential campaign.

- Hannah Giorgis writes that a more fair economic system is a must in order to address historical racial inequities in the U.S.: To stifle a community slowly, without the decisive replay value of a chokehold, you criminalize poverty while withholding the resources needed (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Robert Reich offers a long-form look at the relationship between inequality and policies designed to extract riches for the wealthy at everybody else’s expense: The underlying problem, then, is not that most Americans are “worth” less in the market than they had been, or that they have been living beyond their means. Nor is it that they lack enough education to be sufficiently productive. The more basic problem is that the market itself has become tilted ever more in the direction of moneyed interests that have exerted disproportionate influence over it, while (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Ladner discusses why our tax and fiscal policies should be designed to reduce inequality – rather than exacerbating it as the Cons are determined to do: Right now, the richest 20% of Canadian families hold almost 70% of the country’s wealth. The bottom 20% are in a debt position. A CCPA study found that Canada’s wealthiest 86 people have the same net worth as the poorest 34%. Those of us with capital are adding these new breaks to existing tax breaks for capital gains, taxed at about half the rate of (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Return of the Gilded Age: Consequences, Causes and Solutions

On April 8, I had the honour of delivering the Harry Kitchen Lecture in Public Policy at the invitation of the Department of Economics at Trent University.

I took the opportunity to offer a broad reflection on economic inequality, arguing that while inequality is inherent in capitalism, too much inequality undermines economic as well as social well-being. I also argue that priority has to be given to shaping the distribution of market incomes as opposed to purely redistributive solutions.

Here is the text of The Return of the Golden Age; Consequences, Causes and Solutions.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Barrie McKenna takes a look at how the Cons are pushing serious liabilities onto future generations in order to hand out short-term tax baubles within a supposedly-balanced budget, while Jennifer Robson highlights the complete lack of policy merit behind those giveaways. And Ian McGugan writes that even as they’re trumpeted as attempts to improve saving none of the Cons’ plans have anything to do with actually improving retirement security, especially for the people who need it most: Our reliance on private savings to fund our retirements makes Canada an outlier among developed countries. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Arjumand Siddiqi and Faraz Vahid Shahidi remind us how inequality and poverty are bad for everybody’s health: In Toronto, as elsewhere, the social determinants of health have suffered significant decline. As the report makes clear, the poorest among our city’s residents have borne the greatest portion of this burden.

These trends have affected the health of the poor in countless ways. They have constrained access to quality health care. They have increased susceptibility to harmful health-related behaviours, such as smoking. They have compromised the adequacy and stability of housing conditions. They have (Read more…)