Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jared Bernstein discusses the effect of raising taxes on the highest-income households, featuring this in particular:
Growth and jobs. History shows that higher taxes are compatible with economic growth and job creation: job creation and GDP growth were significantly stronger following the Clinton tax increases than following the Bush tax cuts. Further, the Congressional Budget office (CBO) concludes that letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire on schedule would strengthen long-term economic growth, on balance, if policymakers used the revenue saved to reduce deficits. In other words, any negative impact on economic growth from increasing taxes on high-income people would be more than offset by the positive effects of using the resulting revenue gain to reduce the budget deficit. Tax increases can also be used to fund, or to forestall cuts in, productive public investments in areas that support growth such as public education, basic research, and infrastructure.
- Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor report on EKOS' polling showing that it was non-Conservative supporters who were targeted for vote suppression in Canada's 2011 election, while Saskboy points out that it's not hard to figure out who stood to gain from Robocon.

- Craig McInnes theorizes that the Cons' bullying to ram through approval of new tar sands pipelines will lead to a serious backlash in B.C.:
the message out of Ottawa is that the government isn’t all that concerned about the environment. The message is that its primary concern is making sure that nothing stands in the way of the development of the oilsands.

The problem with the threat of an over-ride is it casts every other move the government is making to streamline the process – regardless of whether it has another rationale – as part of the headlong rush to get the pipelines built.
What I really don’t understand is the Conservatives’ failure to appreciate the political risks in trying to push these projects through. While it may be deemed radical for a Conservative from Alberta to be opposed to the pipelines, opposition in B.C., especially to increased tanker traffic, sits squarely in the middle of the road, cutting across all party lines.

“Radical” here more reasonably represents the people who are vowing to stop the pipeline by any means necessary. If British Columbians believe they have been given a fair hearing and lost fairly, there won’t be much tolerance for illegal acts.

But if the common experience of British Columbians is to feel we are being bulldozed by Ottawa, all bets are off.
- Meanwhile, it's ridiculous enough that Peter Kent is outraged by his own words about scientists being told what to say by political hacks. But isn't his supposed clarification even worse - if scientists are being told to "(spread) the good news of the policies of our government", rather than actually discussing scientific findings in accurate terms?

- Finally, the most foolish part of the Cons' stick figure advice for civil servants facing job losses is how easily the medium can be adapted in response.

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