Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- PressProgress digs into the PBO's report on tax giveaways to look at what Canada has lost from the Cons' cuts to federal fiscal capacity - and how little has been gained as a trade-off:
(T)he Harper government, by starving the public coffers, is losing $43 billion that could be used to boost investments in axed services, build needed national programs, as well as balance the budget and pay down debt.
Finance Canada's own data suggests every $1 billion spent on corporate tax cuts generates a measly 3,310 jobs. Not very effective.

And the PBO's report indicates that median income taxpayers with kids (averaging between $42,450 and $56,505) would see between 2.8% to 2.9% increase in their after-tax income. But those tax savings can be quickly eaten up by increased costs that would otherwise be covered through public programs.

For example, tax credits for children cost Canadians $2.74 billion. But a month or two of childcare in Ontario is equal to the total after-tax savings from these tax credits, while an affordable national childcare program would cost less to implement -- and saves families thousands of dollars.
- Of course, one would hope to be able to point to the difference between the Harper Cons' actions and the principles most prized by Canadians. But as Sean Holman points out, the Cons are also going out of their way to make sure that policymakers don't have access to accurate data about Canadians' values:
As a result of a lack of federal government funding, Canada wasn’t included in the most recent World Values Survey — one of the few means we have of knowing what our values are, how we differ from people in other countries and whether those values have changed over time.

The survey — which uses individual, face-to-face interviews rather than phone calls — has happened six times over the past 33 years, with the most recent being conducted in 59 different countries. Respondents answer a questionnaire that measures nearly 250 indicators covering everything from someone’s feelings about race to their political leanings.
Past surveys have also told us 64 percent of Canadians in 2005 would have agreed or strongly agreed to an increase in taxes if the extra money was used to prevent environmental pollution — an (sic) seven point increase over 2000.
Findings such as these are valuable for everyone from journalists and researchers to politicians and everyday voters — potentially leading to stories, studies and policy-changes. But Canadians won’t know if those values or any others changed between 2010-14 because our country — which has been part of the survey since 2000 — wasn’t included in its most recent wave, the results of which were released late last month.
- Meanwhile, Mike De Souza reports on the Cons' edict that environmental scientists stay silent about environmental science. And Devon Black writes about the Cons' archaic, position-based negotiating strategy - though I'd argue they've consistently shown themselves determine to pursue a philosophy of "getting to 'Yes, Master'" rather than "getting to Yes".

- Geoff Leo confirms the less-than-surprising conclusion that complaint-based regulatory systems aren't doing anything at all to preserve the rights of temporary foreign workers who can be deported for complaining. And Cathie highlights why we can't expect the Cons to fix a mess based on their own combination of toxic anti-worker ideology and incompetent management.

- And finally, Jim Stanford studies the effect of CETA on Canada's auto sector, and finds that once again the Cons' trade plans will make matters worse for major industries.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:55 PM

    Has anyone ever researched how many Conservative voters' ancestors came to Canada after their families had been servants for rich families for centuries? There seems to be a tug the forlock and bow feeling to most Conservative politicians. Does this, also, go for the proles that vote Conservative?