Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Alison nicely debunks the Cons' latest Robocon talking points. Paula Boutis offers her own suggestions to strengthen Elections Canada in investigating vote suppression. And Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher report that the Cons have been working on funneling federal money through a charity to their choice of call centre operators.

- Adam Radwanski unloads on Jim Flaherty for his constant attacks on his home province. But the explanation presumably lies in the Ontario government's inconvenient recognition that Canadians would be far more secure with an improved Canada Pension Plan than with the Cons' newest retirement lotto scheme.

- Dennis Gruending laments the end of decades of work on a cooperative Saskatchewan Wheat Pool as Viterra is sold off for parts. And Paul Dechene wonders how in the world Regina's city council can justify allowing the demolition of affordable apartments in the middle of a dire housing crisis.

- Finally, Paul Krugman compares right-wing economic policies to the "pink slime" phenomenon - only to find that they're even less healthy than heavily-processed filler:
Mr. Gleckman calls (the Republican budget proposal) a “mystery meat budget,” but he’s being unfair to mystery meat. The truth is that the filler modern food manufacturers add to their products may be disgusting — think pink slime — but it nonetheless has nutritional value. Mr. Ryan’s empty promises don’t. You should think of those promises, instead, as a kind of throwback to the 19th century, when unregulated corporations bulked out their bread with plaster of paris and flavored their beer with sulfuric acid.

Come to think of it, that’s precisely the policy era Mr. Ryan and his colleagues are trying to bring back.

So the Ryan budget is a fraud; Mr. Ryan talks loudly about the evils of debt and deficits, but his plan would actually make the deficit bigger even as it inflicted huge pain in the name of deficit reduction. But is his budget really the most fraudulent in American history? Yes, it is.

To be sure, we’ve had irresponsible and/or deceptive budgets in the past. Ronald Reagan’s budgets relied on voodoo, on the claim that cutting taxes on the rich would somehow lead to an explosion of economic growth. George W. Bush’s budget officials liked to play bait and switch, low-balling the cost of tax cuts by pretending that they were only temporary, then demanding that they be made permanent. But has any major political figure ever premised his entire fiscal platform not just on totally implausible spending projections but on claims that he has a secret plan to raise trillions of dollars in revenue, a plan that he refuses to share with the public?

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