Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bryce Covert rightly challenges the claim that poverty bears any relationship to an unwillingness to work - along with other attempts to blame the poor for their condition:
In fact, the majority of able-bodied, adult, non-elderly poor people worked in 2012, according to a data analysis by economist Jared Bernstein. There were about 21 million non-disabled, poor adults that year, and about half of them, or 11 million, worked. Another 3 million didn’t work because they were in school. If those in school are taken out of the picture, 57 percent of the poor people we would expect to work did so. Five million didn’t work because they had an illness or disability.
It’s not hard to see why someone might work and still end up poor. Working a minimum wage job full time brings in about $14,500 a year, which leaves a parent of two $3,000 below the poverty line. The minimum wage isn’t enough to afford rent in any state in the country. This wasn’t always the case. In the 1960s, the minimum wage kept that family of three out of poverty, and even in the 1970s it kept a family of two above the line. Raising the wage would lift millions out of poverty and reduce the poverty rate.

There are other misconceptions about why the poor end up poor. Some think they bring hardship on themselves by being unwise with their money. But the poor spend a smaller percentage of their budgets on eating out and entertainment while spending more on the necessities than their better off peers. And while both rich and middle class Americans have increased their spending habits since the recession, the poorest have actually cut back.
- Meanwhile, Kayle Hatt reviews a Parliamentary study into youth unemployment and finds little to help young Canadians looking to start their careers:
A comprehensive made-in-Canada youth guarantee would be one good way to tackle our youth unemployment problem.

Other ideas to actually tackle youth unemployment that the committee heard in testimony: CCPA suggested, among other things, to expand federally funded summer youth employment programs, to set aside a portion of jobs in federally funded infrastructure programs for youth and hiring subsidies in certain areas. Several commentators, including CCPA’s Armine Yalnizyan and the Canadian Labour Congress, suggested mobility funding for youth who were moving to look for work.

It seems that the Finance committee, however, wasn’t looking for big ideas and possible solutions to address youth unemployment if it meant labour market interventions or actually spending money on the issue.

That’s a shame because the status quo isn’t working.
- But then, as Megan Leslie points out, the Cons have been going to ridiculous lengths to prevent Parliament from discussing other than Stephen Harper's talking points on any issue.

- Steve Rennie reports on Jason Kenney's latest move to make temporary foreign workers subject to an even more tenuous stay in Canada - while also exposing the complete lack of inspections which makes it clear the Cons have never taken employer abuse seriously. Paula Simons points out that additional churn doesn't help anybody - and least of all the workers being exploited. And Syed Hussan highlights the Cons' propensity for locking up immigrants without any fair review process.

- Finally, Roderick Benns wonders when recognition of the importance of the social determinants of health will spread past the medical profession.

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