Saturday, June 01, 2013

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- David Cay Johnston and Miles Corak both discuss the results of a study which compares economic outcomes in technologically advanced countries, and shows that tax giveaways to the wealthy exacerbate inequality without doing anything at all to contribute to economic development.

- And Paul Krugman highlights the fact that all the evidence in the world won't stop the Republicans from trying to take away what few supports are left in the U.S., with a particular focus on food stamps:
Food stamps have played an especially useful — indeed, almost heroic — role in recent years. In fact, they have done triple duty. 
First, as millions of workers lost their jobs through no fault of their own, many families turned to food stamps to help them get by — and while food aid is no substitute for a good job, it did significantly mitigate their misery. Food stamps were especially helpful to children who would otherwise be living in extreme poverty, defined as an income less than half the official poverty line. 
But there’s more. Why is our economy depressed? Because many players in the economy slashed spending at the same time, while relatively few players were willing to spend more. And because the economy is not like an individual household — your spending is my income, my spending is your income — the result was a general fall in incomes and plunge in employment. We desperately needed (and still need) public policies to promote higher spending on a temporary basis — and the expansion of food stamps, which helps families living on the edge and let them spend more on other necessities, is just such a policy. 
Indeed, estimates from the consulting firm Moody’s Analytics suggest that each dollar spent on food stamps in a depressed economy raises G.D.P. by about $1.70 — which means, by the way, that much of the money laid out to help families in need actually comes right back to the government in the form of higher revenue. 
Wait, we’re not done yet. Food stamps greatly reduce food insecurity among low-income children, which, in turn, greatly enhances their chances of doing well in school and growing up to be successful, productive adults. So food stamps are in a very real sense an investment in the nation’s future — an investment that in the long run almost surely reduces the budget deficit, because tomorrow’s adults will also be tomorrow’s taxpayers. 
So what do Republicans want to do with this paragon of programs? First, shrink it; then, effectively kill it. 
 - Susan Delacourt rightly wonders why the Cons don't have the slightest interest in figuring out who used their voter database to commit electoral fraud - declaring victory because their own cover-up managed to prevent the Council of Canadians from identifying the culprit. But I'd think the phrase "they know perfectly well who committed the fraud" is sorely missing from any theory about of the Cons' handling of the scandal.

- Taking into account Robocon, Clusterduff, Rob Ford and other scandals, Aaron Wherry labels May 2013 as the worst month in the history of Canadian politics. (Though I still think that even in the last few years December 2008 - featuring Harper's prorogation to shut down Parliament in the face of a non-confidence vote, Stephane Dion's tragic bungling of the opportunity to form a coalition government, and the Senate appointments of Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau among others which set up so many of the current scandals - ranks ahead by a fairly significant margin.)

- Finally, speaking of the Cons' scandals, Thomas Walkom suggests that Duffy is in fact the perfect representative of Stephen Harper's culture of hyperpartisanship and entitlement. Rex Murphy sees the PMO's work to cover up for Duffy as fatal to the Cons' self-image. And while I don't necessarily see the outrage properly being pointed solely at Duffy rather than his political masters, Don Martin's rant is still work a look:

1 comment:

  1. Duffy isn't really a perfect representative of Harper Conservatism, or the modern conservative movement generally. Sure, he's corrupt and selfish and brazen and even unscrupulously partisan. But he's just not mean enough. You don't get that feeling that ideally he'd like to see everyone with different political opinions in jail doing hard labour.