Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Pierre Brochu and David Green study the effect of minimum wage rates, and find a connection between a higher minimum wage and greater employment stability. But if there's a choice between stable, well-paying work and precarious employment where job churn and wage reductions are seen as the norm, far too many policy-makers are choosing the latter - as Annie Lowrey notes that U.S. states are actively slashing benefits for unemployed workers to force them to grab desperately at whatever is available.

- Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato and Owen Zidar offer reason to doubt the theory that corporate tax giveaways have any redeeming social value. And Toby Sanger calls out Gwyn Morgan for attacking workers' pensions as being too lavish while collecting millions each year himself (plus enjoying preferential tax treatment on his stock options).

- Martha Rosenberg looks at six examples of drugs which were approved and mass-marketed in the face of massive risks and side effects - as big pharma chased down immediate profits at the expense of unwitting patients. And Scott Stelmaschuk highlights the lack of real choice for consumers - not to mention the lack of investment in the public interest - where a few well-connected corporate entities control most of the major goods and services people need.

- Sticking to the subject of illusions of choice, Thomas Walkom reminds us of the Libs' track record in federal government - featuring their simultaneously taking credit for both introducing and slashing the public programs which once did more to mitigate against corporate domination.

- Finally, Deborah Campbell interviews Ron Diebert about the dangers of mass surveillance. And Nafeez Ahmed provides a prime example of the type of excuse being used to brand large numbers of citizens as potential threats, noting that mere opposition to fracking has resulted in activists being labeled as terrorists.

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