Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Garner highlights the futility of trying to answer poverty, equality and other social issues with the empty promise of low-paying "jobs! jobs! jobs!":
The central “solution” in the government’s action plan is jobs. The little money dedicated to this initiative is all directed to employment inclusion and skills training. It’s not surprising. It’s the same answer we receive when our supporters throughout the province advocate for a poverty reduction plan for B.C.
There are two important points to make in response. First, many people with disabilities are unable to work but they still deserve to live with dignity. Second, most people in poverty already have a job so low wage employment does not provide meaningful inclusion for anyone. The emphasis must be on good, stable jobs that provide a living wage.

While the Disability Summit was a high-profile publicity event for the government, a month before that, they quietly released a progress report on their “community poverty reduction pilot projects”. No big fanfare for the initiative launched in May 2012, which has helped only 72 families over two years, a drop in the ocean when you consider that almost 500,000 people live in poverty in B.C.

And, by help, they mean merely referring families to existing services. The assumption is that the fundamental problem for families in poverty is an inability to navigate the system of programs, services, and supports within their communities. While there are many bureaucratic barriers that do require a certain level of language and literacy, the fundamental problem is lack of income combined with high cost of living—not a failure to access services.

Despite recognizing that the provincial government is responsible for the implementation, support, and funding of the systemic themes identified during these pilot projects, including housing, food security, health, childcare, transportation, and education, this so-called poverty reduction project does nothing to address those issues.
- Meanwhile, Dylan Matthews argues that a basic income would go a long way toward solving many of the basic social issues which are currently either kept in their own silos or answered with pablum about economic growth. But then, Peter Van Buren notes that poverty is plenty profitable for collection agencies and creditors among other businesses - meaning that we can expect a fight (if a despicable one) in trying to ensure a basic income for everybody.

- Dean Beeby highlights how CoDevelopment Canada Association for one is dealing with the administrative burden imposed by the Cons' crackdown on progressive charities. But Tom Henheffer is optimistic that Canada's social voices will survive the Cons' assault.

- Andrew Nikiforuk reports on the new discovery of an Alberta salt formation which may explain the pattern of spills and blowouts in the extraction of oil using steam. Presumably this will be the response to any attempt to address the newfound risk through law.

- Finally, the White House makes an economic case (PDF) for addressing climate change sooner rather than later. And PressProgress finds even the Fraser Institute endorsing Norway's management of oil reserves and revenues - even if it can't highlight the plus of managing public wealth without lamenting the possibility that people might benefit as a result.

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