Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Kershaw highlights what's most needed to support Canada's younger generations:
Even with all this personal adaptation, most in Gen X and Y can’t work their way out of the time and income squeeze when they start families. Since two earners bring home little more today than what one breadwinner often did in the 1970s, we’ve gone from 40 hour work weeks to closer to 80 hours. The result? Generations raising young kids are squeezed for time at home. They are squeezed for income because housing prices are nearly double, even though young people often live in condos, or trade yards for time-consuming commutes. And they are squeezed for services like child care, which are essential for many parents to deal with rising costs, but are in short supply, and often cost more than university.
What all should ask, however, is why does the Fraser Institute dismiss the reality that younger generations are more squeezed now than in the past? Many will know the think tank is skeptical about the value of government investment. But Gens X and Y and their kids are not the primary beneficiary of social spending. Governments spend around $45,000 a year per retiree in Canada, mostly on health care, pensions and retirement income subsidies. This spending is nearly four times larger than government spending per younger Canadian. Grade school, post-secondary, health care, child care, parental leave, EI and workers compensation all combine for a total of around $12,000 annually per person under age 45.

Younger Canadians already face a generational imbalance in government spending on top of their worsening wages relative to housing costs. By discounting the time, income and service squeeze on younger generations, the Fraser Institute distracts attention away from this imbalance. Fortunately, there are Canadians of all ages across the country who believe younger generations deserve a better deal.
- And Tim Adams interviews Robert Skidelsky about the difference between maximizing wealth and living a good life.

- Robert Fife's story on the coordination between Con senators and multiple members of Stephen Harper's PMO is certainly worth a read. But it's doubly interesting when compared to Greg Weston's access-to-information requests finding absolutely no record of the scandal in the PMO - even as Mike Duffy and others were assembling a written narrative. And it's well worth asking what other scandals have been managed on a nothing-in-writing basis out of Harper's central command.

- Meanwhile, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher report that Elections Canada has drawn a few more links between the 2011 election fraud and the Cons.

 - Finally, in a sure sign that there's no social progress that the corporate sector won't eventually try to roll back, Bill Curry reports that the U.S. is trying to rewrite the Trans-Pacific Partnership to allow attacks against anti-smoking policies.

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