Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Susan FitzGerald reports on new research showing that growing up in poverty has a significantly more damaging effect on a child's development than exposure to drugs - leading to obvious questions as to why so many governments loudly wage a nominal war on the former while allowing the latter to fester. And John Millar and Laurel Rothman highlight the need for Canada's federal government to address the social costs of poverty.

- Meanwhile, Neal Abernathy writes about the importance of the public sphere in both bringing together and reflecting the shared interests of people of all backgrounds:
What this whole incident does underscore is the absolute need for a public sphere where we join together in service of something larger than our own petty interests. Through our government we can choose to live in a city and state and country where we are guided by more than our most self-serving of instincts. This is what so much of American anti-government rhetoric misses. The rules we choose to codify as “government” do not need to proscribe our freedom; rather, they can free us from the constraints of Lord of the Flies-like living.
There is a time and a place for rugged individualism.  But I am grateful that I am dependent neither on the good will of Mr. Gopman nor the good will of any other rational self-interested individual for the common services I consume. Rather, I am relieved to rely on the good will of the public, that amorphous body in which we can all project our ambitions for a world more just and more free than one guided by the anarchy of our impulses.
 - Of course, that public sphere loses some of its effectiveness when future governments are tied down by long-term contracts entered into by past regimes. And on that front, Rosario Marchese rightly criticizes the Ontario Libs' sucker's bet on privatized financing and operation of public services:
People should worry when their government bets on its own incompetence. Such governments tend to win that bet, and it is the public who pays out.

Incompetent governments love P3s because they can pay private consortia to take the blame when things go wrong, while hiding behind third-party confidentiality to avoid transparency and accountability.

Best of all, since P3 price tags already include potential cost overruns, the government can usually boast they are delivered “on budget,” and the public has no way of knowing exactly how much it overpaid. 
- Finally, Jim Bronskill reports that the Cons are hiding behind nonsensical privacy claims to avoid providing any details about falsified safety inspection reports - meaning that Canadians using road, rail, boat or air transport can all worry that the Harper government's secrecy is making their travel less safe than it should be.

[Edit: fixed wording.]

No comments:

Post a Comment