Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Karl Nerenberg reports on the House Finance Committee's hearings into income inequality in Canada, featuring a few familiar themes which we should hear far more often from our policy-makers:
"I would make all tax credits refundable, including the current non-refundable ones," Boadway recommended, and then went further, "I would condition many of them to income, the way we condition the GST credit. I would enhance disability tax credits and make them available to all provincial disability recipients."

On tax breaks for upper income Canadians and corporations, Boadway prescribed tough medicine: "I would eliminate the dividend tax credit and make the taxation of dividends, capital gains, and interest more even. I would rationalize the corporate tax to make it distortion-free and making it a tax on supernormal profits or so-called rents."
Corak would also expand the use of EI to support parental leave, based on the notion that family life, especially for those with precarious and low incomes, is under great stress these days.

And, like Boadway, Corak advocates for an expanded tax base, in particular targeting income from capital. He even suggested to the Committee that it might be the time to consider an inheritance tax in Canada.
The CMA President started by saying that the effectiveness of the health care system together with biology and heredity only account for about half of the totality of health outcomes -- outcomes which are measured by such indicators as incidence of disease, life expectancy, and rate of use of the health system.

"Having a much greater impact," Reid said, "Are factors such as the state of a person's housing, whether people get enough to eat, how educated they are and what kind of experiences they had in their early childhood."

These social determinants of health, she explained, account for fully half of health outcomes and "the most influential of these determinants is income."
- But while our representatives are just starting to discuss the harm done by inequality, the corporate sector is looking to ensure that democratic decision-making does nothing to reduce it.

- Phil Plait takes note of the Cons' belief that science is worthless except to the extent it can be exploited for a profit. And Sixth Estate discusses why a mass-production market model looks to be utterly useless in addressing the steady evolution of bacteria.

- Finally, Lawrence Martin writes about the Broadbent Institute's work to provide a focal point for progressive organizing. But I do hope it's aiming higher than the Manning Centre for World Domination in terms of actually wanting to improve public engagement, rather than serving as a means of central control over activists, media and politicians alike.


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