Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Stephen Hume writes about the importance of tax revenue in building a functional and compassionate Canada:
My taxes provide our mostly peaceful, prosperous and safe society; a health care system that for all its flaws and glitches is pretty darn good compared to the alternatives; a policing and justice system that despite occasional hiccups is fair, merciful and trustworthy; a brave and honourable military.

My taxes provide income support for the unemployed, the indigent, the impaired and the unlucky.

My taxes helped create educational facilities of exceptional quality and performance; public infrastructure that makes doing business in Canada stable, predictable and profitable compared to many other parts of the world.

My taxes keep cities clean and safe and full of life. They provide generally good government by mostly decent, hard-working public servants and politicians.

My taxes helped send Chris Hadfield into space; Carey Price, Hayley Wickenheiser and all our other wonderful athletes to the Olympics. They helped writer Alice Munro and scientist Gerhard Herzberg to win the Nobel Prize. They also paved B.C.’s roads, brought electricity to remote First Nations communities and built bridges across the Fraser River that enable Vancouver’s prosperity.

Canada is far from perfect. Many social injustices remain to address. But life is better than it might be for most of us, even for the aggrieved.

Thank my taxes — and yours — for that.
- Meanwhile, John McDermott offers a worthwhile read on how the UK Cons' attacks on social benefits are making life more difficult for low-income individuals both inside and outside the workforce. And Kathleen Geier highlights how more progressive tax policy could go a long way toward reducing inequality on both local and national levels.

- Huffington Post reports that the Cons' priorities run in exactly the opposite direction - as they continue to encourage the use of temporary foreign workers to suppress wages and channel resource wealth to those who need it least. And CP reports on an internal government study showing that any attempt to sell 20 years of corporatist policies as a benefit to middle-class families is based on myth rather than fact. (Which likely explains why the defenders of the status quo are making up fictitious symbols rather than talking to or about real people.)

- But we're at least seeing much-needed pushback against the Cons' assumption that health, safety and equity all need to be sacrificed on the altar of burning more oil - including from Suncor employee and Unifor member Lori McDaniel, who's earned the NDP's nomination in Fort McMurray-Athabasca.
- Finally, Huffington Post also reports on one of the many nasty surprises in Stephen Harper's latest omnibus budget bill, as the Cons are planning to take direct political control over CBC labour relations and personnel decisions.

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