- Andrew Jackson reviews Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, while Paul Mason offers a useful summary. And David Atkins applies its most important lesson in response to some typical right-wing spin prioritizing assets over incomes:
(I)nstead of doing something about radical inequality, the new neoliberal answer is to give the 44% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck more savings vehicles and incentives to stash away money to pay for those increasingly impossibly high mortgage and tuition costs.- Meanwhile, David Dayen calls out the financial sector's attempt to start up another mortgage securitization scheme comparable to the one which caused the 2008 economic meltdown - this time taking all the profits for themselves while enjoying a direct government bailout mechanism.
As the inequality problem becomes more and more severe and as Piketty's arguments gain increasing influence, look for all the neoliberal asset addicts to make ever more preposterous arguments to defend incentivizing boosting assets over boosting wages.
It's all they know, and doing anything else would turn their worlds inside-out and hurt all their very asset-heavy bank accounts.
- Josh Eidelson discusses how the U.S.' laws are set up to squelch any effort to organize workers - with ineffective protection for organization to address wages and working conditions, and none whatsoever for any other type of activity. But Marc Ames discusses how corporate collusion to drive down wages is all too often met with no significant consequences - with Silicon Valley serving as the latest example.
- Paul McLeod reports on the stunning number of requests for Canadians' personal information from telecoms, and I'm not sure which is more appalling: the 1,194,000 requests made annually, or the fact that such indiscriminate requests are being granted the majority of the time (with 785,000 individuals' information disclosed). And the CP follows up to point out that even those numbers only scratch the surface of what's being disclosed behind the scenes.
- Finally, Jim Stanford writes that the Cons' grudging movement to address the abuse of temporary foreign workers may have arisen out of a fault line within their party:
For sure, evidence had been mounting for years that the program was out of control. Migrant employment rose 140 per cent between 2005 and 2012. One in every five net new paid jobs created in Canada between 2007 and 2012 was filled by a migrant worker – a startling reliance on what was supposed to be a “last resort” program. Even the business-friendly C.D. Howe Institute confirmed that the program has pushed up unemployment, including in Alberta.
But this evidence has been around for years, as have anecdotes about employers hiring migrants to do jobs Canadians are clearly capable of filling. The hospitality sector alone had 45,000 guest workers on the roll by 2012, with migrants capturing 40 per cent of net new positions since 2009. How many jobs are there in hotels and restaurants that Canadians truly cannot perform? Almost none – and the government has always known that.
Many middle-class Canadians know their children need fast-food jobs, given the lousy state of the youth job market. To have even those jobs placed out of reach by an immigration strategy aimed explicitly at suppressing wages fuels resentment that transcends party lines. That’s what the Conservatives sensed, and so Mr. Kenney acted.
Of course, there is a principled solution to Mr. Kenney’s TFW dilemma, advocated nicely in a recent column by The Globe’s Doug Saunders: Increase permanent immigration and give these workers the same rights the rest of us enjoy. But that wouldn’t win favour from either of the two constituencies worried about here: business lobbyists who want cheap labour and social conservatives who want less immigration. Which is why it won’t happen.