Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- John Cassidy makes the case to call the U.S.' war on poverty a success - pointing out that there has been a meaningful reduction in poverty over the past 50 years connected almost entirely to government programs. But lest that be taken as an indication that there's no need to do more, Jared Bernstein points out that if economic growth had been distributed as it was in the postwar boom, poverty would have been eradicated by the mid-1980s - rather than persisting among tens of millions of Americans today as inequality has grown.

- Which is to say there's nothing but reason for skepticism when trickle-down policies are sold as a boost for workers rather than an attack on them. And Martin Regg Cohn notes that Tim Hudak's latest message represents a particularly laughable rendition of the same old hymn.

- In contrast, Ontario's Health Providers Against Poverty suggest that a minimum wage hike to $14 could do wonders both for the working poor in particular, and social development in general.

- Josh Eidelson looks at the story behind Freedom Industries' massive West Virginia chemical spill - with a complete lack of either planning or enforced regulation featuring prominently. And Tom Warne-Smith discusses how the TPP figures to result in yet more corporate attacks on any attempt to protect the environment.

- Meanwhile, Frances Russell highlights the multiple layers of wishful thinking - involving both oil prices and the effectiveness of unproven remediation techniques - being relied on by the tar sands to shrug off environmental concerns. Don Braid questions why Alberta still hasn't put together a serious greenhouse gas emission reduction plan of its own to fill the vacuum left by the Cons. And James Munson comments on the Cons' gag order imposed on the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industry Development as a condition of federal funding.

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