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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Nicholas Kristof offers a primer on inequality in the U.S., while the Washington Post reports that a think tank looking to fund research into the issue couldn’t find a single conservative willing to discuss it. And PressProgress highlights the OECD’s finding that the prosperity gap stands to get a lot worse in the U.S. and Canada alike absent some significant change in course to improve the lot of the 99%: Increasing levels of economic inequality are the “new normal” and we can expect them to get worse, not better.

That’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Vineeth Sekharan debunks the myth that a job represents a reliable path out of poverty, while reminding us that there’s one policy choice which could eradicate poverty altogether: A job alone does not guarantee freedom from poverty. In fact, in 2012, at least one member of the household was employed in a staggering 44% of all poor households. Even in situations where an individual is employed, there may still be the need for income supplements, as well as educational and employment supports.

This is partially because of the monumental changes that have occurred (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Robert Reich discusses the rise of the non-working rich as an indicator that extreme wealth has less and less to do with merit – as well as the simple policy steps which can reverse the trend: In reality, most of America’s poor work hard, often in two or more jobs.

The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing.

In fact, we’re on the cusp of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history.

The wealth is coming from those who over the last three decades earned huge (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Affordable Housing in the Yukon

Earlier today, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site, I blogged about a recent (and controversial) decision made by the Yukon government about affordable housing in the Yukon. Points raised in the blog post include the following:

-Very little affordable housing gets built in Canada without federal assistance.

-Without financial assistance from senior levels of government, for-profit developers in Canada generally don’t find it worthwhile to build rental housing even for middle-income tenants (never mind low-income tenants).

-Going forward, federal funding for existing social housing in the Yukon is declining.

The full blog post can be accessed (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Boothe responds to the C.D. Howe Institute’s unwarranted bias against public-sector investment: Is the public sector holding back provincial growth rates by crowding out private sector investment?  That’s the contention of a recent C.D. Howe paper by Philip Cross.  The paper provides a great case study of the danger of confusing correlation with causality.

Let’s begin with the simple arithmetic.  Gross domestic product (GDP) is the sum of spending on consumption, investment, government services and net exports.  Whether the investment spending is initiated by 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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Anne Manne discusses how extreme wealth leads to narcissism and a lack of empathy, while pointing out that to merely recognizing the problem goes some way toward solving it: Outside the lab, Piff found that the rich donated a smaller percentage of their wealth than poorer people. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans, those with earnings in the top 20%, contributed 1.3% of their income to charity, while those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2% of their income. The trend to meanness was worst in plush suburbs where everyone had a high (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Benjamin Shingler reports on the push for a basic annual income in Canada. And Christopher Blattman notes that cash serves as a valuable treatment for poverty wherever one diagnoses the disease: The poor do not waste grants. Recently, two World Bank economists looked at 19 cash transfer studies in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Almost all showed alcohol and tobacco spending fell or stayed the same. Only two showed any significant increase, and even there the evidence was mixed. You might worry handouts encourage idleness. But in most experiments, people worked more after (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Thomas Frank interviews Barry Lynn about the U.S.’ alarming concentration of wealth and power. Henry Blodget thoroughly rebuts the myth that “rich people create jobs”. And David Atkins goes a step further in discussing how hoarded wealth hurts the economy in general – with a particularly apt observation about how inequality erodes our social connections: It is not an accident that trust in major institutions has declined on a linear track with rising inequality. Study after study has shown that trust in our fellow citizens and in institutions at (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Paul Krugman offers a response to the assertion that accumulated wealth should be considered as costless capital: (I)f there’s one thing I thought economists were trained to do, it was to be clear about opportunity cost. We should compare accumulation of dynastic wealth with some alternative use of resources – not assume, as Mankiw in effect does, that if not passed on to heirs that wealth would simply disappear. Maybe he’s assuming that the alternative would be riotous living by the current rich, but that’s not a policy alternative. In fact, what we’re (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How the Tsilhqot’in Land Title Ruling Can Help Kill Enbridge

Watch Pam Palmater’s response to the SCC ruling. Click above.

Stephen Harper had about a week to enjoy the glory of his remarkably understated whispery notification that the Enbridge climate killing pipeline will proceed.

Yesterday the Supreme Court shut down the prime minister, which they have a tendency to do because he so flagrantly intends to violate it. So they keep slapping his hand.

With the Tsilhqot’in ruling, our hope that first nations are our last line of defense against more climate killing tarsands development, has been greatly augmented.

In the coming weeks we will see how this may be (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how personal and institutional stress make it more difficult for people to defend their interests – and on the need to respond to political strategies increasingly aimed at exploiting that principle to reduce public participation.

For further reading…- Again, Chris Mooney discussed the effect of stress on voter turnout here. And here’s a reminder that the desire to suppress voter participation tends to be the result of underlying discrimination.- See here, here and here for just a couple of the many reports on the devastating connection between poverty and personal stress.- And without (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: The World Cup You Won’t See on TV: Protests, Tear Gas, Displaced Favela Residents

Democracy Now! discusses the stuff you won’t see on TV during the ongoing 2014 World Cup competition in Brazil: poverty, protests, tear gas, and displaced favela fesidents.

The post The World Cup You Won’t See on TV: Protests, Tear Gas, Displaced Favela Residents appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Suzanne Goldenberg discusses the World Bank’s findings that a smart set of policies to combat climate change can actually improve global economic growth. And Duncan Cameron makes clear that the perpetual austerity demanded by the same parties who insist we can’t afford to act on climate change serves only to make sure that growth doesn’t benefit workers: Dating back to the 1980s, CUPE studies by John Calvert and his successor Toby Sanger, have shown how wages have consistently lagged economic growth. Both Andrew Jackson, and now Angela McEwan of the CLC have (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bryce Covert rightly challenges the claim that poverty bears any relationship to an unwillingness to work – along with other attempts to blame the poor for their condition: In fact, the majority of able-bodied, adult, non-elderly poor people worked in 2012, according to a data analysis by economist Jared Bernstein. There were about 21 million non-disabled, poor adults that year, and about half of them, or 11 million, worked. Another 3 million didn’t work because they were in school. If those in school are taken out of the picture, 57 percent (Read more…)

Art Threat: Montreal Fringe: God as Drag Queen, Big Gay Weddings, and Peeing on Stage for Poverty

God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II

Where this God is concerned, nothing is sacred.

Essentially an hour of stand-up performed by Mike Delamont in character as a Scottish incarnation of God in a floral power suit with a list of religion-related talking points, God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II changes focus from one performance to the next based on audience requests for additions to the talking points.

The Lord’s observations are usually hilariously spot-on, skewering everyone from the Westboro Baptist Church to hipsters. Every now and then, though, He suddenly veers into territory that can be interpreted as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Following up on this morning’s post, George Monbiot discusses the need for a progressive movement which goes beyond pointing out dangers to offer the promise of better things to come: Twenty years of research, comprehensively ignored by these parties, reveals that shifts such as privatisation and cutting essential public services strongly promote people’s extrinsic values (an attraction to power, prestige, image and status) while suppressing intrinsic values (intimacy, kindness, self-acceptance, independent thought and action). As extrinsic values are powerfully linked to conservative politics, pursuing policies that reinforce them is blatantly self-destructive.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Katie Allen discusses the Equality Trust’s research into tax rates in the UK – which shows that the poor actually pay the highest share of their income in taxes, even as the public has been led to believe the opposite: The poorest 10% of households pay eight percentage points more of their income in all taxes than the richest – 43% compared to 35%, according to a report from the Equality Trust.

The thinktank highlights what it sees as a gulf between perceptions of the tax system and reality. Its poll, conducted with (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Neera Tanden points out that a wide range of citizens rely on a strong safety net at one time or another – and suggests that it’s long past time to start discussing how important social programs have been in our own lives: I believe we have a historic opportunity to address poverty today, because the interests of low-income people and the middle class are converging. Median wages—the wages of middle-income earners—have been stagnant for twelve years. People recognize there is growing inequality in this country and that something is amiss when companies are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Richard Shillington studies the Cons’ income-splitting scheme for the Broadbent Institute, and finds that it’s even more biased toward the wealthy than previously advertised: • The average benefit of income splitting across all households is only $185, though nine out of 10 households will receive nothing. When one factors in the $3 billion cost in lost federal revenues that will result from this tax policy, income splitting stands to impose net costs on many Canadian households.

• To gain from income splitting, a family with children under 18 must have two parents in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jim Armitage discusses how the privatization of public services in the UK is being mashed up with the principles behind subprime lending and debt bundling – leading to a bubble which promises to take down investors and the public alike.

- Dylan Matthews offers what would seem to be a natural conclusion about the simplest, most effective answer to poverty: As solutions to global poverty go, “just give poor people money” is pretty rock solid. A recent randomized trial found that Kenyans who received no-strings attached cash from the charity GiveDirectly built more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Neil Irwin highlights the reality that top-heavy economic growth has done nothing to reduce poverty in the U.S. over the past 40 years: In Kennedy’s era, [the "rising tide lifts all boats" theory] had the benefit of being true. From 1959 to 1973, the nation’s economy per person grew 82 percent, and that was enough to drive the proportion of the poor population from 22 percent to 11 percent. But over the last generation in the United States, that simply hasn’t happened. Growth has been pretty good, up 147 percent per capita. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Joseph Stiglitz offers his suggestions (PDF) for a tax system which would encourage both growth and equality: Tax reform…offers a path toward both resolving budgetary impasses and making the kinds of public investments that will strengthen the fundamentals of the economy. The most obvious reform is an increase in the top marginal income tax rates – this would both raise needed revenues and soften America’s extreme and harmful inequality. But there are also a variety of other effective possible reforms related to corporate taxation, the estate and inheritance tax, environmental taxes, and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on this post about the Cons’ ruthless discipline in keeping the benefits of any tax policy from flowing to those who need it most – and pointing out the need for a strong challenge to that single-minded focus on withholding money from the poor.

For further reading…- Again, the PBO’s report is here (PDF).- And PressProgress’ analysis of the Cons’ tax cuts is here.- Update: And Paul Wells manages to cut through the Cons’ spin, though he notes that demolishing the federal government’s fiscal capacity is the main point of Harper’s plans.