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Alberta Politics: Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone: As PM, Stephen Harper’s economic performance is a bust!

PHOTOS: From the sublime to the ridiculous? Liberal Lester Pearson, the top postwar economic performer among Canadian prime ministers. Below: Stephen Harper, the bottom. Below him: Pierre Trudeau (second best) and Brian Mulroney (second worst). Below them: Unifor economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan. One of the most effective ways to keep a population quiet […]

The post Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone: As PM, Stephen Harper’s economic performance is a bust! appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alan Freeman discusses the need for an adult conversation about taxes to replace the Cons’ oft-repeated policy of ignorance: Focusing on low taxes is great politics. It’s also a really dumb way to run the economy of an advanced industrialized country. Getting taxes right is a complex balance. Raise them too high — particularly taxes on income — and you risk creating disincentives for productive work, which can make your economy uncompetitive. Set them too low and you threaten the social programs and public goods that are fundamental to our values as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan discusses the utter failure of past trade agreements to live up to their promises, making it all the more unclear why we should be prepared to accept a new wave of even more inflexible restrictions against democratic decision-making. The trade and investment liberalization regime led to rapid and relentless restructuring of North American corporate ownership by opening the door to the two largest merger waves in Canadian history. On the world stage, these merger waves led to higher levels of Canadian corporate ownership abroad. Domestically, heightened amalgamation activity created larger Canadian-based (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Tavia Grant, Bill Curry and David Kennedy discuss CIBC’s analysis showing that Canadian job quality has falled to its lowest level recorded in the past 25 years: Several reports have concluded that the country’s job market is not as strong as it looks and now a study from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce paints an even worse picture. According to the bank’s analysis, job quality has fallen to its lowest level in more than two decades. A CIBC index that measures 25 years worth of data on part-time versus full-time work, paid versus (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Both Richard Bilton and Matthew Yglesias discuss Le Monde’s reporting on HSBC’s active participation in widespread tax evasion. And James Bloodworth rightly argues that we should see tax avoidance as socially unacceptable even if governments fail to do their job in ensuring that everybody pays their fair share: Indeed, who wouldn’t want to be tax efficient?

The answer very much depends on what sort of society you want to live in. Were the question phrased more honestly – i.e. bearing some relation to what the consequences of being ‘tax efficient’ are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan examines the close links between strong organized labour and improved wages for all types of workers: U.S. scholars have found that higher rates of state-level unionization help reduce working poverty in unionized and non-unionized households and that the effects of unionization are larger than macro performance and social policies in those states. Research shows that the decline of U.S. unions between 1973 and 2007 explains one-fifth to one-third of the growth in U.S. wage inequality—a magnitude comparable to the growing stratification of wages by education. A 2010 study (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz wraps up the New York Times’ series on inequality by summarizing how the gap between the rich and the rest of us developed, as well as how it can be reduced: The American political system is overrun by money. Economic inequality translates into political inequality, and political inequality yields increasing economic inequality. In fact, as he recognizes, Mr. Piketty’s argument rests on the ability of wealth-holders to keep their after-tax rate of return high relative to economic growth. How do they do this? By designing the rules of the game (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jordan Brennan and Jim Stanford put to rest any attempt to minimize the growth of inequality in Canada: (I)ncome inequality has reached a historic extreme. Inequality was high during the 1920s and 1930s (the “gilded age”), but fell sharply during the Second World War (as Canadians got back to work and taxes were raised to pay for the war effort). The three decades after the Second World War — a “golden age” of controlled capitalism — saw further decline in inequality. The economy was booming and powerful institutions (like progressive taxation and surging (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Pam Palmater explains the historical background to Idle No More: (M)ost Canadians are not used to the kind of sustained, co-ordinated, national effort that we have seen in the last few weeks — at least not since 1969. 1969 was the last time the federal government put forward an assimilation plan for First Nations. It was defeated then by fierce native opposition, and it looks like Harper’s aggressive legislative assimilation plan will be met with even fiercer resistance.

In order to understand what this movement is about, it is necessary to understand how

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

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Frances Russell discusses how the Harper Cons have capitalized on the general public’s lack of familiarity with how our parliamentary system is supposed to work – and the conventional checks and balances which have been overridden at every turn by a governing party which isn’t interested in preserving a functional system of accountability: Paul Thomas, professor emeritus of politics at the University of Manitoba, calls the debasement of Canada’s Parliament under the Harper Conservatives “stark.” He cites such recent developments as: the government forcing committees to meet in secret and muzzling opposition

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Bill Curry reports on the Cons’ latest public-sector slashing. But there hasn’t yet been much discussion of the most alarming number: upwards of 30% of the Cons’ cuts are coming from the Canada Revenue Agency… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links