Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford writes that Tim Hudak's combination of austerity and indiscriminate tax slashing represents a recipe for less jobs rather than more:
Mr. Hudak’s initial policy agenda is mostly a recycled business wish list: cut taxes, cut regulations, pay for training, cut energy costs, free trade.  Its logic is 100% trickle-down economics: anything that’s good for business, must be good for jobs and for all of society.  There is no powerful stimulative or expansionary impetus coming from any of those 5 proposals (unlike some other policies being debated in this election, like infrastructure investments and transit programs, which have a logical and direct connection to employment).  And whatever positive employment gains were generated by any of those five measures would be massively swamped by the negative side-effects of the severe fiscal contraction required to achieve Mr. Hudak’s “biggest” job-creating goal: namely, simply balancing the budget.

There is a way in which balanced budgets and job-creation are logically connected — but the direction of causation is exactly the opposite of Mr. Hudak’s argument.  Ontario’s deficit today is overwhelmingly due to the downturn in employment that accompanied the 2008-09 financial crash and recession — recovery from which has been painfully slow and inadequate.  (Remember, for several years before the recession hit, Ontario’s budget was balanced.)  Restoring the employment rate to its 2008 level would mean 250,000 more jobs, and generate billions in additional revenues (through personal income taxes, HST revenues, growing spending, and other streams).  The deficit will take care of itself, if and when we put Ontarians back to work.
- Alex Boutilier reports on the Cons' latest laughable claim to secrecy - this time claiming cabinet confidence to withhold information about pensions from the Auditor General. And Larry Pynn highlights the frustration of one mayor with the Cons' insistence on providing total secrecy to shippers of dangerous goods - even as against the public who could be left with no warning of a potential disaster. 

- David Dayen responds to baseless criticisms of Seattle's new $15 minimum wage, while pointing out that the minimum should properly reflect a living wage. And Iglika Ivanova examines the need for a living wage to help combat child poverty in Vancouver.

- Sid Ryan discusses the role of unions in ensuring that the benefits of growth are shared across the population as a whole, while pointing out a few areas demanding immediate attention.

- Finally, Frances Russell argues that the Chief Justice of Canada was bound to make Stephen Harper's public enemies list at some point, while Jeffrey Simpson still sees the attack as a new low. And the CP reports on another case which figures to bring the judicial system into the Cons' cross-hairs, as the Ontario Superior Court has restored the constitutional right to vote to a million Canadians living abroad who were stripped of their say by the Harper government.

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