Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- While Thomas Walkom's latest has faced some justified criticism from a couple of angles, this part at least looks to be right on the money:
The assumption here was that if businesses were allowed to keep more of their profits they would invest them productively.

But in the real world, corporations don’t invest when the economic outlook looks gloomy. Why hire workers if you’re not sure you can sell what they produce?

Instead, corporations took the extra profits provided by government and sat on them — either in the form of cash or short-term cash equivalents.
Hence the hectoring. Flaherty and Carney are trying to convince corporations to act against the short-term interest of their stockholders by investing without the prospect of return. Good luck with that.

In truth, Flaherty’s faith in the private sector is badly misplaced. In some situations, only government can stimulate the economy. At some times, the market doesn’t work.

This remains one of those times.
 - Meanwhile, Larry Hubich and Erin Weir argue that Saskatchewan should shift from the shameful position of having the lowest minimum wage in Canada, to setting the pace in ensuring that workers have a reasonable standard of living:
Claims that minimum wages reduce employment have no empirical support. Economics professors from the universities of Massachusetts (Amherst), North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and California (Berkeley) recently compared adjacent U.S. counties in states with different minimum wages. They found "strong earnings effects and no employment effects of minimum wage increases." In other words, boosting the minimum wage succeeded in raising pay without reducing employment, even when neighbouring jurisdictions kept a lower minimum.
Opponents of a higher minimum wage cannot get away with simply suggesting it might somehow slightly reduce demand for labour at the margin. They would have to prove that paid hours would fall by a larger percentage than the increase in wages. And that is not what the evidence indicates.

While bragging about the relative strength of our labour market, the government is letting every other Canadian province and territory surpass our minimum wage. Restoring Saskatchewan to a position of leadership would benefit those who most need a raise and strengthen the wider provincial economy.
- Jason takes a preliminary look at some potential candidates in the Saskatchewan NDP leadership campaign set to begin this fall.

- And finally, the Cons are pushing the already-compromised Gateway joint review panel to treat such trifling issues as "diluted bitumen" and "environmental assessment criteria" as irrelevant to its environmental assessment of a pipeline designed to transport diluted bitumen. I'm only surprised that the Cons haven't yet publicly admonished us that the lone permissible subject of discussion for Canadians (within the review panel and elsewhere) is "Stephen Harper: actual god, or merely superior to all other humans?".

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