This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Citizens for Public Justice laments the Libs’ and Cons’ joint effort to vote down the NDP’s push for a national anti-poverty strategy. And Sean Speer and Rob Gillezeau make the case for an improved Working Income Tax Benefit which should be palatable across the political spectrum.
– . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
– David MacDonald examines how Canada’s tax expenditures systematically favour higher-income individuals over the people who actually have a reasonable claim to public support: This study finds that Canada’s personal income tax expenditures disproportionately benefit the rich and cost the federal treasury nearly as much as it collects in . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
A guest blog post from Mario Seccareccia, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa
The NDP went through a roller coaster ride in 2015. It would seem that the party still hasn’t fully recovered from the outcome of that election, and it will probably remain so until it elects a new leader and gets its “policy . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Tommy Douglas was a “macroeconomist”, not a “provincialist”!
This week, the Trudeau government approved two pipelines, and rejected one other. Trudeau is winning lavish praise for his bold, statesmanlike decision in some quarters, hyperbolic, end-of-the-world scorn from others.
Trudeau’s decision to allow two of three is simply the right thing to do, in some ways because we have no choice. The simple, sad . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 48: Why we (sigh) need pipelines
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
– Thomas Frank writes that a progressive party can only expect to succeed if it places principles of equality and workers’ interests at the core of everything it does – rather than serving mostly as the voice of a wealthy professional class: Somewhere in a sunny corner of the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links
Did you hear that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne got all teary at the Liberal Party gathering this past weekend? Not being there, are we to assume these were crocodile tears or tears of frustration? Or were they just a notation on her script saying ‘tears here’? You never know what her reaction is to being . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Does Wynne cry for liberalism?
Needless to say, it’s disappointing that there now doesn’t seem to be any prospect of a shift to a more proportional federal electoral system without a referendum. But the NDP’s move to build a consensus among the opposition parties on a referendum offering a choice between mixed-member proportional representation and first-past-the-post makes sense given the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On decision points
Here, comparing the Conservative Party’s leadership race based on fear and division to the NDP’s which looks set to bring a progressive coalition together.
For further reading…– Bob Hepburn also notes that fear and hatred are the main themes emerging from the Cons’ candidates so far. And while it’s fair enough for Andrew Coyne to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day
Even the Teflon Don can’t get out of this one.
Everyone except his most fanatical supporters knows Trump is a pig, a boor, a crass, classless thug. Now we have the best evidence yet of exactly what kind of person Donald Trump really is.
An audiotape of Trump on a bus ride with entertainment reporter/nobody . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 40: OK, now he CAN’T win
The Trudeau government, less than a year old, has certainly adopted well to governing. Like most governments, the Trudeau Liberals have found that there is a surprising amount of money just lying around, so they might as well use it. For example, it was revealed this week that one of Trudeau’s inner circle, Gerald Butts, […] . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 38: Bulletin – Liberals like to $pend money
We can admit it now but could not when he was Premier of Ontario, Bill Davis is a decent guy. As much as he likes to pose as the bastion of the right, Bill has always liked people and is a caring, compassionate person. If he was much younger and leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: How far Bill Davis’ party has fallen.
Ontario’s Liberals have to stop whistling past the graveyard. That American idiom means that they are ignoring sure destruction. And nothing said it better than the recent rebooting of the Legislature with a joke of a throne speech read by the Lieutenant Governor. It was no throne speech. It was a stop-gap to oblivion. It […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: No guts, no glory, no re-election.
First Expert guests I watched presenting to the committee were unable to understand French question fired at them because they were not equipped with translation headphones. Nathan Cullen leaped up and got the headsets for them. CLC points out they are a political org and that is why they are interested in this subject of […] . . . → Read More: Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: #ERRE Electoral Reform Committee in Regina
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Andrew Jackson discusses how the rise of right-wing, prejudiced populism can be traced to the failures of global corporate governance. And Dani Rodrik argues that it’s time to develop an international political system to facilitate – rather than overriding – democratic action:
Some simple principles would reorient us in the right direction. First, there is no single way to prosperity. Countries make their own choices about the institutions that suit them best. Some, like Britain, may tolerate, say, greater inequality and financial instability in return for higher growth and more financial innovation. They will opt for lower taxes on capital and more freewheeling financial systems. Others, like Continental European nations, will go for greater equity and financial conservatism. International firms will complain that differences in rules and regulations raise the costs of doing business across borders, but their claims must be traded off against the benefits of diversity.
Second, countries have the right to protect their institutional arrangements and safeguard the integrity of their regulations. Financial regulations or labor protections can be circumvented and undermined by moving operations to foreign countries with considerably lower standards. Countries should be able to prevent such “regulatory arbitrage” by placing restrictions on cross-border transactions — just as they can keep out toys or agricultural products that do not meet domestic health standards.
Third, the purpose of international economic negotiations should be to increase domestic policy autonomy, while being mindful of the possible harm to trade partners. The world’s trade regime is driven by a mercantilist logic: You lower your barriers in return for my lowering mine. But lack of openness is no longer the binding constraint on the world economy; lack of democratic legitimacy is.
It is time to embrace a different logic, emphasizing the value of policy autonomy. Poor and rich countries alike need greater space for pursuing their objectives. The former need to restructure their economies and promote new industries, and the latter must address domestic concerns over inequality and distributive justice.
– William Lazonick and Matt Hopkins note that already-appalling estimates of the gap between CEOs and other workers may be severely underestimating the problem. And Iglika Ivanova laments British Columbia’s woefully insufficient changes to its minimum wage which will keep large numbers of workers in poverty.
– In one positive development for corporate accountability, Telesur reports that the International Criminal Court is now willing to take jurisdiction over land grabbing, environmental destruction and other corporate crime.
– Harry Stein writes that there are significant economic and social gains to be achieved by better funding social infrastructure.
– Finally, Jeremy Nuttall interviews Robert Fox, the NDP’s new national director, on the plan to building a more activist party – both in the sense of better engaging with existing activists, and developing a culture of ongoing action. And Robin Sears offers a long-term path for the NDP to once again lead Canada toward progressive policies. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
Chris Kutarna says this is the best time in history to be alive. We’re healthier, wealthier and better educated than at any other time in history…so why are we so miserable? Kutarna is a Fellow at the Oxford Martin School … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Who should govern in times of significant disruption?
Pundits are asking if the New Democratic Party is a labour party? Frankly folks, if you do not know the answer, nobody in the party is ready to answer it either. Even an authority such as left-wing writer Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star is wondering where the party is headed. In a recent op-ed […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Labouring against logic.
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Saqib Bhatti and Stephen Lerner point out that the struggle for power between labour and capital is far from over, and that the next step may be to engage on wider questions of economic control:
For too long most unions defined their mission narrowly as winning higher wages and benefits for unionized workers without challenging how companies were managed or how capital was invested and controlled. Unions accepted that it was management’s job to run companies and the broader economy, and that the unions’ primary job was to get as much as possible for their members.
This still dominates labor’s thinking: we focus on income inequality but not wealth inequality; we focus on how to raise the bottom, but not how to stop wealth from concentrating at the top; we deal with our direct employers, but not those who really control the broader socioeconomic conditions in which our members work and their families live.
We have bought into the notion that the boss is entitled to endless profits and should be allowed to have control of the business and the economy as long as our members win incremental improvements in every contract. But that bargain no longer works.
(U)nions don’t typically enter into negotiations with the investors. They deal with their direct employer, even though in many major companies investors, even the CEOs, are ultimately constrained by the pressures put on them by investors.
Unions need to start looking to these actors higher up the food chain, to the people who control the money in the public sector as well as the private sector.
In the public sector, state and local officials accurately decry the fact that there is not enough money in public coffers to properly fund public services. However, the reason why there isn’t enough money is that corporations and the wealthy have waged a sustained war on taxes over the past forty years to avoid paying more.
Increasingly, these corporations are owned by Wall Street investors seeking to cut taxes in order to increase their return on investment. These wealthy few have a large part of their wealth tied up in the financial sector.
By trying to squeeze pennies out of public officials while letting the billionaires and bankers off the hook, public-sector unions are fighting with one hand tied behind their back.
– Gabriel Winant also offers a noteworthy look at the state of the U.S.’ labour movement. And Tom Parkin points out how a larger self-identified working class may be an increasingly important force in Canadian politics, while Sid Ryan comments on the state of the relationship between Canadian labour and the NDP.
– Mersiha Gadzo identifies plenty of the ways in which Justin Trudeau has combined a sunny disposition with the same dark actions we’d expect from the Harper Cons. But Nora Loreto argues that progressive activists will need to develop new strategies to address Trudeau rather than Harper.
– Finally, Sir Michael Marmot discusses the social causes of economic inequality, while pointing out the need to ensure a greater focus on all social determinants of health. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Assorted content to end your week.
– Armine Yalnizyan writes that the response to the European Commission’s finding that Apple has dodged $20 billion in taxes may tell us all we need to know about the relative power of governments and corporations:
The EC is also investigating state support received by Amazon and McDonalds in Luxembourg, a tax haven. Expect more costly court battles about the appropriateness of laws and systems of governance.
Since the 2008 economic crisis, giant corporations have gone from being “too big to fail” to “too big to pay.”
But as the big tax avoiders get feisty, so too are voters. The Panama Papers have made people aware of the hypocrisy: when those with deep pockets don’t pay, everyone else pays more. Governments are legitimately worried about their finances, and more focused on tax fairness than in decades. But as corporations both fight and rewrite the rules, occasionally cash-starved, debt-ridden nations are being enlisted to support their agenda.
The Apple story is huge. It could presage the end of tax competition, as nations co-ordinate attempts to combat absurd levels of tax-dodging. Or it could signal growing dominance of corporate power over state power. High stakes, to be sure, in the evolution of 21st-century globalization.
– Meanwhile, Allan Sloan discusses how Mylan’s profiteering in ratcheting up the price of EpiPens has been paired with glaring tax avoidance. And the NDP points out the conspicuous lack of any public benefit from the Libs’ and Cons’ track record of corporate tax slashing in Canada.
– Alex Hemingway writes about the costs of privatizing public infrastructure. And Thomas Walkom highlights the Libs’ options in reviewing Canada Post’s future – which include taking an obvious opportunity to better meet a large number of social needs through a postal banking system.
– Bloomberg View rightly argues that fossil fuel subsidies are about the dumbest possible type of public policy. And Samantha Page offers another reason why that’s so by pointing out the devastating health effects of oil and gas production and distribution.
– Finally, Simon Enoch offers a much-needed warning to the rest of Canada as to what Saskatchewan faces with Brad Wall in power. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
Assorted content to end your week.- Armine Yalnizyan writes that the response to the European Commission’s finding that Apple has dodged $20 billion in taxes may tell us all we need to know about the relative power of governments and corporations:The E… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
This and that for your Thursday reading.- Andrew Jackson makes the case for a review of Canada’s tax system focused on boosting revenue from the wealthy people and corporations who can readily afford it:These tax loopholes are costly. Partial inclusion… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Shorter Tim Naumetz on the NDP’s consistent stance opposing Bill C-51, a position supported by 17% of respondents in a recent poll (with plenty more undecided):Boy, it’s weird that a political party would take stand on a policy issue despite the public… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition
Elizabeth May could quit as Green Party leader this month ‘Broken-hearted’ May says boycott Israel policy has her on verge of stepping down as leader By David Cochrane, CBC News Posted: Aug 12, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 12, … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Left Over: Green Party ReGrowth?
Jewish groups condemn Green Party for supporting Israeli boycott policy Leader Elizabeth May ‘disappointed’ by party’s vote at its national convention The Canadian Press Posted: Aug 08, 2016 10:09 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 08, 2016 10:09 AM ET World … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Left Over: BDS is no BS – They Call the State “Pariah”