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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bryce Covert weighs in on the IMF’s latest study showing a connection between stronger trade unions and greater income equality: While it can be hard to say for sure whether the decline in unionization is a direct cause of growing income inequality, they found that it is a “key contributor” to steep increases in income at the top, which holds true even after they controlled for other factors such as shifts in political power, labor market trends like the growing power of Wall Street and deindustrialization, and top marginal tax rates.

The authors (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Danyaal Raza highlights how Canadians can treat an election year as an opportunity to discuss the a focus on social health with candidates and peers alike: Health providers are increasingly recognizing that while a robust health care system is an important part of promoting Canadians’ health, so is the availability of affordable housing, decent work, and a tightly knit social safety net. Upstream-focused clinical interventions, like the income security program available where I practice, are increasingly meeting that need – but no such program works in a vacuum.…Thinking differently requires speaking differently. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Nicholas Kristof discusses how U.S. workers have suffered as a result of declining union strength. And Barry Critchley writes that Canada’s average expected retirement age has crept over 65 – with that change coming out of necessity rather than worker choice.

- Alex Andreou rightly slams the concept of “defensive architecture” intended to eliminate the poor from sight rather than actually addressing poverty: “When you’re designed against, you know it,” says Ocean Howell, who teaches architectural history at the University of Oregon, speaking about anti-skateboarding designs. “Other people might not see it, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler discuss the challenge facing charities as compared to the special treatment of businesses in trying to advocate as to public policy: (T)he solutions to many of society’s problems do not need more research and the criticism-free public education that the CRA permits. They cry out for advocacy and changed law. Unfortunately, the CRA only allows NGOs to spend 10 per cent of their income on policy advocacy and law reform. Thus a charity has to be substantial in order to be large enough to fund meaningful advocacy.

In (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato argues that we need to change our conversation and our policy choices on public investment in Canada’s economy: As in many other countries, the conversation about government and public investment in Canada has for decades distorted and underplayed the role of the state as a crucial agent in shaping and creating markets.

In a country where inequality has grown as the progressive state has been dismantled, I learned that corporate tax rates have been reduced, and generous tax credits given out to promote R&D, all while Canadian corporations hoard (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Cameron Dearlove laments the fact that Canada is failing to recognize and replicate other countries’ successes in using the social determinants of health to shape public policy: Today we know that social and financial inequities — particularly the experience of poverty — has a greater impact on our health than our healthcare system, genetics, even lifestyle choices. For a society facing spiking healthcare costs, the social determinants of health (things like housing, food security, social inclusion, early childhood development, employment, and working conditions) arguably present the greatest public policy opportunity since the creation (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Scott Santens links the themes of health and equality by suggesting that we treat a basic income as a needed vaccine against poverty and all its ill effects.

- Erika Eichelberger and Dave Gilson highlight how U.S. corporations are siphoning money offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And Kate Aronoff warns us that the mindless extraction of profits is producing environmental and financial crises alike: Between debt and our slowly roasting planet, we’ll be lucky to walk away from the next 25 years with just one crisis. There (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Joe Gunn reminds us that ignoring the issue of poverty won’t make it go away. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on a national campaign demanding a plan to deal with poverty at the federal level.

- Roderick Benns discusses the prospect of a guaranteed annual income with Wayne Simpson. And Whitney Mallett is the latest to look in depth at how the successful Mincome basic income plan might spread much further: Critics of basic income guarantees have insisted that giving the poor money would disincentivize them to work, and point to studies that show ​a (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Ever Wonder How the 1% Talks to Each Other? Shhh. Listen!

It’s not a secret language, it’s a style, an effervescence. A whimsicality.

It’s like how people stand when they’re shopping in Tiffany’s. You feel me?

Read on about a new luxury property on Georgia in downtown Vancouver [emphasis is mine]:

The Penthouse

Upstairs, in the 48th-floor penthouse, it is a different story again. It is a rare true penthouse, taking up the entire top floor and entirely encircling the elevator core. And, aside from one lavishly staged corner, the penthouse is currently a vast, empty, concrete shell, waiting for whoever takes it on to do with it what they will. (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Responsibility for Housing

On Monday I gave a guest presentation to Craig Jones‘ graduate seminar class in Carleton University’s School of Social Work. My presentation sought to answer two questions:

1. Why should government play a role in creating affordable housing?

2. Which level of government is responsible?

With those questions as a backdrop, here are 10 things one needs to know:

1. When it comes to affordable housing, the private sector alone doesn’t cut it—not by a long shot! For it to be profitable for a for-profit developer to create rental housing in one of Canada’s major urban centres, (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great War on the Economy (continued)

Yesterday I wrote a post suggesting that the opposition forget about Stephen Harper's Great War on Terror, because it's just a distraction.And that they should concentrate instead on his Great War on the Economy, and the tumbling loonie.Because that one is a real threat to many Canadians, and it has the potential to destroy him and his foul Cons.And in that regard this is just more evidence.Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Elizabeth Stoker Bruening discusses the effect of poverty at the family level, particularly when coupled with policies designed to force workers to chase jobs far away from home and family: If you want to see the right-wing denuded of its usual bluster about family values and welfare, visit this Economist post, published in response to Nick Kristof’s remembrance of a friend who fell on hard times and passed away. The piece argues that the problem isn’t a paucity of empathy for poor people who rely on welfare, but perhaps an excess (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress notes that the Cons’ economic track record is one of eliminating well-paying jobs in favour of lower-wage, more-precarious work. And Jim Stanford follows up on why we shouldn’t believe the Cons’ spin about deficits: I think that a more fruitful and principled line of attack on the government’s approach would focus on these obvious fiscal and economic errors by the government: The October tax cuts were premature; it is tax cuts, not oil prices, which have jeopardized the attainment of a balanced budget.  The Conservatives broke their own promise in implementing (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: You Deserve Better Wages and Benefits

Right wingers want to pay no tax. It’s hard to bleat about that in public without sounding like the greedy, selfish people they are.

Instead, they say that public sector workers are paid too much, and that we should privatize everything. THAT way, governments get to starve themselves to the point where they collect virtually no taxes.

Instead of letting rapacious corporations dictate what market wages should be, we should explore living wages, then dream up a world not so different from ours when private sector workers make the stable wages and benefits of public sector workers.

Dream with me, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Nicholas Kristof writes about the empathy gap which causes far too many wealthier citizens to devalue those who don’t have as much. Jesse Singal observes that the primary effect of wealth on well-being is to reduce downside rather than improve happiness – signalling that we might be best served pursuing policies aimed at improving financial security across the income scale. And Lucy Mangan discusses what’s missing from the people who refuse to understand the effect of poverty – particularly when they’re best positioned to do something to alleviate it: Politicians, for example, are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Economist argues that lower oil prices offer an ideal opportunity to rethink our energy policy (with a focus on cleaner sources). And Mitchell Anderson offers a eulogy for Alberta’s most recent oil bender: For now the latest Alberta bender is over, and it’s time to take stock of certain destructive lifestyle choices. The budgetary cupboards are bare, yet Canada’s allegedly “richest” province has an unfunded municipal infrastructure deficit of up to $24 billion. A badly needed new cancer treatment facility has just been delayed past 2020. The long-overdue plan to build (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Yet Another Logistical Solution to Homelessness

So, Utah has been eradicating homelessness by giving people homes. The bonus is that it’s easier and cheaper to provide social services to people when their housing needs are met.

From Amsterdam, we see yet another logistical solution for emergency housing while we have a national dialogue on a national housing plan.

A rich country like Canada should have no difficulty developing a national housing strategy that solves homelessness and unaffordable housing.

The houses will rent for 700 euros a month, or about $900. It’s a little less than someone might pay for a cramped single room in the city, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Hugh Segal discusses the need for an open and honest conversation about poverty and how to end it. And to better reflect Canadians’ continued desire for a more fair society, Roderick Benns makes the case for a basic income as Canada’s next major social program.

- Matt Bruenig writes about the U.S.’ income inequality as compared to other developed countries- and it’s well worth noting that Canada’s distribution is only slightly less distorted than the U.S.’.

- Margo McDiarmid reports on the Cons’ latest steps to block any (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Joan Walsh discusses Elizabeth Warren’s work on improving wages and enhancing the strength of workers in the U.S., while Jeremy Nuttall interviews Hassan Yussuff about the labour movement’s work to elect a better government in Canada.

- Bob Hepburn argues that getting rid of the Harper Cons is a first step toward regaining some faith in our political system. And Scott Reid worries that Stephen Harper’s cynical view of government in anybody’s hands may have spread to Canada’s electorate – though while there’s plenty of work to be done in the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Robert Ferdman reports on a Pew Research poll showing that wealthier Americans are downright resentful toward the poor – and think the people with the most difficult lives actually have it too easy: (T)he prevalence of the view might reflect an inability to understand the plight of those who have no choice but to seek help from the government. A quarter of the country, after all, feels that the leading reason for inequality in America is that the poor don’t work hard enough.

But as my colleague Christopher Ingraham pointed out last (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Who Cares About Fixing Poverty in BC?

Well, it’s the Poverty Reduction Coalition!

One of their many activities is to send recommendations to the government when the government deigns to ask people for their ideas. The Finance Committee is an all-party committee of the legislature, so the government usually ignores their recommendations.

As citizens, we need to make the government respond to our demands, particularly when legislative committees provide pretty good recommendations!

Here’s what’s going on this year, from the Poverty Reduction Coalition.

Read it, below Then email, phone [250.387.1715], tweet or Facebook the premier and tell her to listen to the Finance Committee (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Nathan Schneider discusses the wide range of support for a guaranteed income, while noting that the design of any basic income system needs to reflect the needs of the people who receive it rather than the businesses who see it as an opportunity for themselves. And Art Eggleton includes a basic income and more progressive taxes as part of the solution to poverty in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Sarah Petrescu points to income supports and housing as the two most important issues in her review of poverty in Victoria. And Richard Florida highlights the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

 - Emma Woolley discusses how homelessness developed into a social problem in Canada in large part through public neglect. Judy Haiven is the latest to emphasize that charity is no substitute for a functional society when it comes to meeting people’s basic needs. And Ed Lehman is rightly concerned that Brad Wall and company are still determined to avoid acknowledging the fact that there are plenty of Saskatchewan residents trying to make do with nowhere near enough.

- Emily Badger reminds us how inequality early in life can shape – and block – opportunities (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato discusses how inequality and financialization have teamed up to create an economy with little upside and serious risks for most people: (W)hat should we do in 2015? Financial reform–aimed at bringing finance and the real economy together again–must thus critically first study the facts, not the myths, in the real economy. Periods of longest stable growth in most economies [occur] when medium to large firms have invested their profits in R&D and human capital. What is needed today is long-term committed finance, in the form of public banks (such as German’s (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Alex Himelfarb and Jordan Himelfarb write about the growing appetite for stronger public services and the taxes needed to fund them in 2014 – even if we’re a long way from having that translated into real policy changes: Certainly tax phobia has framed our politics and shaped our governments. Our politicians of every stripe seem to believe that Canadians want tax cuts, whatever the costs, and won’t accept tax increases, whatever the benefits. This austerity mindset stunts the political imagination, making us doubt that we can do great things or much of anything (Read more…)