Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Walkom points out that banks are far from the only corporations who are conspicuously moving jobs offshore to the detriment of Canadian workers and citizens:
Unions are being ground down; wages are being ground down. Jobs are being ground out of existence. With the economy so weak and foreign competition so fierce, domestic firms find it harder to expand.
For many, the only solution is to squeeze their workers.
Before the Great Recession, goods moved easily across borders. So did capital.
But what’s new about this slump is that labour has become an equally fluid component of the production process.
Sometimes labour moves physically. The federal temporary foreign worker program is designed to shift individual labourers swiftly and painlessly into Canada in order to accelerate the downward pressure on wages here.
Sometimes, as the Royal Bank has demonstrated, jobs move at the flick of a switch. The physical workers remain in Canada. But their work moves abroad.
 - The Cons are trying to justify cutting the public out of any review of future pipeline development by shrieking about people "gaming the system" - in contrast to, say, the oil industry which simply owns it. And they're also apparently equally concerned about the inherent unfairness involved in allowing the Chief Electoral Officer to offer unwanted knowledge and perspective about Canada's election rules.

- Meanwhile, Matt O'Brien highlights the fact that the main case for austerity can be traced back not just to questionable theories, but to obviously-flawed arithmetic. Which isn't to say that anybody on the right is above declaring that 2+2=panda if it means an excuse to attack public services.

- And in that vein, it shouldn't be a surprise that the Health Council of Canada is the latest institution to face demolition at the hands of the Cons.

- Finally, Joe Fiorito writes about Marc Hamel's observations on the costs of poverty in Ontario:
He noted something that you, I hope, already know: if you live in poverty as a child, there’s a 20 per cent chance you will live in poverty as an adult.
His best guess, based on reading and research? “If we could help this 20 per cent with skill training and higher education, the income gain for Ontario would be $3.2 billion a year.”
He puts the total cost of child poverty in Ontario at anywhere between $4.6 billion and $5.9 billion a year. And then he talked about lost opportunity.
“If we were able to increase the income and participation of the lowest quintile of income earners, and raise their incomes to the second quintile, the benefit to the Ontario economy would be over $16 billion a year.”
He also noted that, if we did so, there would be an increase in tax revenues of $4 billion.
But here’s the real money quote: “In total, poverty costs the residents of Ontario a staggering $32 billion to $38 billion a year — the equivalent of over 5 per cent of provincial GDP.”

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