Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Paul Adams highlights how the Cons and their anti-social allies have spent decades trying to convince Canadians that it's not worth trying to pursue the goals we value - and how the main challenge for progressives is to make the case that a better future is possible:
This is a huge issue for progressives — perhaps the most important they face.

This lack of faith in government is partly the product of 30 years of increasingly conservative governments which have shed any social ambition in favour of tax cuts and austerity — and their cheerleaders in the media, academia and the polling industry. Conservatives have lost many ideological battles in this period, mostly on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. However, they have succeeded in persuading many Canadians that governments are impotent when it comes to unemployment, the environment and First Nations.

Bricker and Ibbitson essentially ratify the trend to smaller, more austere and limited government and its companion ideology, which they think has created a Canadian society which is good — “not great”.

The challenge for progressives in Canada as elsewhere is to convince voters that the crises of climate change and inequality require us to shake off that complacent view of what we can collectively achieve.
- But an equally important step may be to ensure politicians have a better idea what the public actually believes. On that front, Ezra Klein discusses new research showing that U.S. politicians from both major parties tend to overestimate their constituents' level of conservatism, leading them to wrongly believe that right-wing policies reflect public demand. And the Alberta Federation of Labour unveils yet more polling data showing that even in the province whose political class serves as the main driver of corporatism in Canada, upwards of 70% of the general public opposes austerity and supports more progressive taxes.

- Meanwhile, Katrina vanden Heuvel makes the case for a financial transactions tax.

- Finally, Jim Stanford interrupts the Cons' admonition that nobody is allowed to discuss Dutch disease by pointing out that the vast majority of academic work on the subject finds it to be a significant problem for Canadian manufacturing.

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