Assorted content to end your week.
- Rick Smith hopes that the Cons’ backtracking on income splitting means that they won’t go quite as far out of their way to exacerbate income inequality in the future: (T)he unfortunate reality is that we are still becoming ever more unequal, a trend due in large measure to political choices. Many countries have found ways to mitigate the growth of income inequality, while in Canada the policy response has tended to reinforce rather than offset the trend.
We know that since the mid-1990s, the social role of government has been dramatically cut back (Read more…)
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Robert Reich comments on the concerted effort by the U.S.’ rich to exacerbate inequality – and points out how it’s warped their worldview. And Dean Baker criticizes the spread of inequality by design: And then there is the financial sector where Mankiw tells us that the extraordinary pay is compensation for the volatility of paychecks. That’s interesting, except the vast majority of comparably talented and hardworking people would be happy to get the pay the finance folks get in the bad years. Much of the big money on Wall Street stems (Read more…)
By design, Tuesday’s budget was a non-event. The public’s eyes are on Sochi, and the pundits’ eyes are on next year’s budget. So, it should not be surprising that it was the post-budget fallout that grabbed the most headlines, when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty mused that the Tories central 2011 campaign promise of income splitting might not actually be in next year’s budget.
We can debate the merits of income splitting (and this ensures we will), but what I find most shocking about this is that we appear to have the first public rift between Stephen Harper and the only (Read more…)
It’s obviously tempting for opposition parties to turn the recent spate of stories about difference of opinion within the Cons into a simple matter of “they’re not united”. But it’s well worth emphasizing the substance of the issues – and particularly questioning whether the MPs who are challenging their partymates on specific issues are willing to apply the same principles elsewhere.
Most obviously, Jim Flaherty is absolutely right to recognize that income splitting represents a costly and gratuitous giveaway to a few wealthy Canadians which is aimed purely at winning votes rather than serving valid public policy goals. But the (Read more…)
Rich folk. From this guy. No wonder Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is having doubts. I can’t see this as being good politics, and it wouldn’t surprise me if his negative comments are some kind of trial balloon to gather feedback before the Tories decide for or against. Alternatively, if you’ve heard Flaherty lately, he sounds terrible, so maybe he’s set to retire and doesn’t care that he’s breaking with party orthodoxy.
I hope readers don’t think I have grown lazy or burnt-out when I reprint letters from The Toronto Star. It is just that their observations and ideas are frequently so nicely expressed that I think they merit some exposure in the blogosphere.
Today’s offers a sharp rebuke to the tired Tory ideology of low corporate taxes as the path to prosperity, a mantra that has been repeatedly shown to be as devoid of value as the head of their leader and our Prime Minister is devoid of ideas and vision.
Re: Canada hit by unexpected rise in jobless rate, Jan. (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- The Star’s editorial board sees Canada’s woeful job numbers as a signal that it’s time for some economic management in the interests of people (rather than artificial manipulation of numbers): Economists used words like “dismal” and “ugly” for these results, and no wonder. Last year turned out to be the worst year for job growth in Canada since the recession of 2008-2009. And this was just the latest evidence that Canada’s recovery has stalled. The experts are even starting to speculate about a possible cut in interest rates – not the eventual (Read more…)
Stephen Gordon (among others) took the time to point out that Jim Flaherty’s attacks on the Bank of Canada are both unwise in general, and wrong in terms of economic theory. But even setting aside those critiques, the mot important message to be taken from Flaherty is that he’s once again seeking to benefit the rentier class at the expense of workers – signalling that he’ll happily trade off a decline in employment for higher returns on capital.
Of course, that was a dubious enough set of priorities at the best of times last weekend. But this week’s added news (Read more…)
When the province decided to call its most recent crown agencies Local Health Integration Networks, it was clear where the emphasis lay. Rather than plan a system based on need, it appears the primary function of the LHIN was to … Continue reading →
On my way home this evening I passed by a young guy sitting on the edge of the pier his legs dangling over the edge staring into the frozen lake.And for a moment, until I checked him out, a horrible thought came into my mind.Because despair is in the air. You can cut it with a knife. Enough bodies trapped under the ice in the winter, float to the surface in the spring.And in the darkness of this hideous Harperland, young Canadians are the forgotten victims. Read more »
Assorted content to end your week.
- Don Lenihan is the latest to highlight the difference between citizens and consumers – as well as why we should want to act as the former: In the old view, public debate is all about defining the public interest by establishing collective needs. This requires a very different view of public debate. Rather than seeing it as a chance to advance my wants, it asks me, as a citizen, to consider the needs of the community. This means I must listen to others, weigh their claims, examine the evidence, and make trade-offs and (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Ed Broadbent comments on Parliament’s review of inequality in Canada: In a more encouraging vein, the majority report cautiously endorses some positive proposals. Given stated support from both of the opposition parties, these could, and should, move to the top of the government agenda as we approach the 2014 federal Budget and the 2015 federal election.
The Broadbent Institute and other witnesses highlighted the need to increase the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) which supplements the incomes of working poor families, thus raising earned income from low wage jobs and helping offset (Read more…)
When the next big financial crisis hits the world economy, and Canadian banks are in distress — as they were during the 2008 financial crisis — the bank-using public will have plenty to worry about.
As we saw earlier in this series, it’s hard to trust banks to protect our savings and investments when so many of them have been exposed behaving unethically, gambling extravagantly on exotic financial instruments, and even engaging in fraudulent activities.
Last week, U.S. regulators adopted the new Volcker rule, which bars American banks from several forms of conflict of interest, including trading securities for their own account, or owning hedge or private-equity funds.
It, and similar new laws in Europe, will help, but they will not stop big banks and rogue investors that are determined to gamble and carry out illegal activities.
Meanwhile, governments themselves are the source of an altogether new threat to our . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Should Account-holders pay for High-Flying Bankers’ Misdeeds?
First he claimed his callous comments about hungry children were out of context, and ridiculous…
Then he claimed the story wasn't accurate, and ridiculous…
Then when he realized the reporter had the whole interview on tape he apologized. Read more »
Since there is a significant meeting among Canadian finance ministers today, where reform to the Canada Pension Plan is on the agenda, it’s worth pointing out some really unhelpful ongoing language the federal Finance Minister is using to describe CPP. This is what he said today to describe CPP: “CPP is a tax on people who work, a tax on employers. It takes money directly out of the economy, so it’s not something to be done lightly. It’s something that must be done with consideration and thought,” he said.
This framing of CPP, a valued Canadian program that is the (Read more…)
More of the white stuff has fallen, and I can ignore the importunate call of the snow shovel no longer, so I will make this brief with two reading recommendations for your Sunday morning discernment.
In today’s Star, Martin Regg Cohn writes convincingly on the need for real pension reform, but he predicts that the provinces’ finance ministers, who will be meeting today and tomorrow, will get nothing from federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. The latter will trot out the standard ‘now is not the time- the economy is too fragile’ line, but with more and more people destined (Read more…)
He's a bigot, a bully, a boozer, a beast. He's shaming us in the eyes of the world. Each time Ford appears in the media, it's another eerie reminder of what we've become: crude, swaggering, bungling, irrational and mendacious. We've reached that staggering moment in a brilliant horror film when our protagonist realises the truth: Rob Ford is the New Canada. He is us.But I see that Rob Ford has at least one redeeming quality eh?He's making the Cons fight each other.Read more »
CBC reporting, and Conservative MP’s and Kenney himself confirming.
“In a voice loud enough for several of their cabinet colleagues to hear, Flaherty told Kenney to “shut the f–k up” about Ford. Kenney responded angrily in kind, and although the two men were separated by four other ministers, alarmed caucus colleagues, who requested anonymity, were concerned the bilious debate might escalate beyond their control. “I thought they might come to blows,” said one MP who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. Another MP said there was shock at the sight of two senior ministers battling in such (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Focused on the economy? Finance Minister Flaherty and "Minister of Jobs" Kenney nearly "come to blows" over Toronto politics
The Honourable Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance House of Commons Centre Block Building – Room 435-S Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6 Dear Jim – We get it. You love public-private partnerships, or as most like to call ‘em, P3s. The sound of … Continue reading →
Step 1: Inherit igloo in working orderStep 2: Break roofStep 3: Write compelling narrative about how you fixed igloo
We got a good reminder today of why it would be foolish to write off the Conservatives in 2015:
Conservatives’ new surplus forecast: $3.7-billion for election year
Ottawa’s fall economic update shows the government is counting on a surplus of at least $3.7-billion in 2015-16, the year of the next federal election.
A mix of spending cuts, public sector wage control and the sale of government assets are behind the latest government numbers, which show a better (Read more…)
Well in case you thought that the Con regime was nickel and diming veterans, and killing good jobs all over the country, because they absolutely HAVE to slay the deficit.Or as Jimbo Flaherty warned us we could find ourselves in a big black hole, the economy is fragile, the global risk is huge etc etc.Well forget about that eh? That was last year's last month's last week's story.Now little Jimbo claims we're heading for an enormous surplus !!!! Read more »
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone – as long as the person getting stoned is a conservative. Below: a typical strained pea conservative blubbers, although not in this case about the cruel treatment meted out to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford by liberal bullies and the media. Interestingly, this tear was shed back in 2011. Below that: Spiro T. Agnew. Where’s a conservative with a way with words now that we could actually use one?
What’s the No. 1 characteristic of “conservative” Canadian politicians and their supporters at this late date in the eras of Toronto Mayor (Read more…)
One of the big myths still be pushed by Scarborough Subway proponents is that the Federal government’s much touted announcement of $660M (in 2017 dollars, really about ~$450M in today’s) is only for subways and in fact only for the Council voted McCowan alignment. The Globe and Mail’s Marcus Gee was pushing this line on TVO’s The Agenda tonight, and previously I’ve seen Councillor Pasternak of Ward 10 make the same claim on twitter.
Nope, no federal cash needed here
This is nonsense. Yes, Minister Flaherty gave the announcement in front of placard that said “Subways For Toronto” (Read more…)