Saturday, November 01, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chris Matthews takes note of the gross growth of inequality in the U.S. Dean Baker notes that much of the wealth built on what's branded as "innovation" reflects little more than successful attempts to evade health, safety and consumer protection laws. And Mike De Souza explores how the notorious ALEC pushes climate denial and other anti-social policies with an alarming amount of support from businesses who (once challenged) claim not to know who they're funding.

- Meanwhile, Digby points out that the corporatist right is downright eager to work people to the point where they have to focus on bare survival rather than improving their lot in life. And Lana Payne warns us that the Cons are turning retirement into a luxury good rather than a reasonable expectation for most workers:
More and more Canadians believe they will never be able to retire, giving whole new meaning to the phrase “work till you drop.”
(A) full 60 per cent (of Canadians) do not believe they have saved enough to retire in comfort. Not surprisingly, women and lower-income earners were even less likely to have saved enough.

Shockingly, one in five Canadians reported that they will never retire. In addition, nearly one-third of those surveyed said they didn’t know when they’d be able to retire. Stagnant wages are coming home to roost.

The survey also found that over 40 per cent of employers surveyed said their employees are overly optimistic with respect to their assessment of when they will be able to retire.

That is rather astonishing, considering the dreary outlook so many Canadians seem to hold about their ability to retire in comfort. Yet even Canadians’ low expectations about retirement are considered optimistic.
CARP, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, also supports enhancing CPP and notes the majority of Canadians agree. Indeed, the vast majority of CARP members see it as a ballot box question.

“We need federal and provincial governments willing to work together on a national solution to the national retirement savings problem,” CARP said in a statement.

It is clear that this won’t happen as long as the Harper Conservatives are in power.

We may as well add retirement income crisis to their legacy of neglect. Harper has been quoted as saying we won’t recognize Canada when he is done.

But damage can be undone, just as a new federal government can address the looming retirement crisis.
- But of course, the Cons are instead more interested in handing free money to families wealthy enough that they can already afford to have a parent stay home voluntarily. And even the Cons aren't pretending that income splitting could possibly offer meaningful help to households without a high-income worker - using that fact as an excuse to avoid offering any similar advantage for single-parent families.

- Mitch Jones points out that privatized water markets figure to do nothing but damage as we try to ensure the continued availability of a vital (and increasingly scarce) resource.

- Andrew Jackson reminds us that commodity markets are inevitably boom-and-bust - while recognizing that the Cons' obsession with pushing an oil-only economy has exposed Canada to dangerous risks as prices drop. And Mychaylo Prystupa reports that Kinder Morgan is SLAPPing Burnaby residents concerned about the effect of a pipeline expansion on their community.

- Finally, the Telegram slams the Cons for their continued contempt for election law - as well as their refusal to take responsibility for what's now a consistent, multiple-election pattern of illegality in their party. And Gerald Caplan writes that we should distinguish between mere members of Parliament and those who earn the title of "parliamentarian".

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