Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Today is of course voting day in Regina's wastewater treatment plant referendum - and you can get voting information here. And Paul Dechene explains his personal Yes vote by pointing to the need for public control over our infrastructure, while Brian Webb highlights the importance of the treatment plan for water quality in Regina and elsewhere.

- Frances Russell traces the decline of democracy and equality in Canada over the past few decades to free trade agreements designed to limit both. And Miles Corak confirms that Canada has seen the same type of stagnation and stratification as the U.S.:
At the same time the slice of the pie going to those in the bottom has not changed, while those in the middle have, indeed, experienced a decline in their share.

These patterns are remarkably similar to those in the United States. In fact, I have shamelessly borrowed the entire structure of this post from an article in The New York Times by Eduardo Porter summarizing a report released by the US Census Bureau.

Thirty years of economic growth; thirty years of incremental but steady increases in productivity; after major public policy initiatives, like free trade with the United States and other countries beginning in 1980s, like the relentless and unforgiving pursuit of zero inflation that unleashed a major recession in the early 1990s, like slashing government deficits “come what may” in the years that followed, like a major run up in commodity prices and expansion of the resource sector, partly subsidized through the public purse, policies conducted in the name of increased prosperity and a better future for all; and yet after all of this, the typical family now feels less secure and has no higher a standard of living than a generation ago.
- Meanwhile, Robyn Benson notes that government and corporate attacks on the few institutions speaking up for workers aren't about to stop anytime soon.

- And finally, Pat Atkinson comments on the mess the Wall government has made of education in Saskatchewan.

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