Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ryan Meili examines why Craig Alexander of the TD Bank is calling for a move toward greater income equality in Canada:
The OECD reports that income inequality is at the highest level in 30 years, and that economic growth has been slowed by as much as 10 per cent in some countries as a result. A 2014 IMF study showed that redistributive policies through tax and transfers not only do no harm to the economy, but can improve performance in the long-term. In fact, it appears that public investments in child care and other services are far more effective in creating jobs and increasing economic growth than corporate or income tax cuts.

Returning to the TD report, it recommends a variety of key public investments to reduce inequality, including affordable housing, health and social services, early childhood development and decreasing barriers to all levels of higher education, from skills training to professional colleges. These are encouraging comments, as they also address key social determinants of health, meaning they are not only good for the economy, but more importantly, good for Canadians.
(I)t’s extremely encouraging to see this shift in thinking coming from so many directions. When economists working for one of the Big Five banks — Canada’s largest lender, in fact — come out with a strong position on income inequality, it’s indicative of how much this has moved from being a fringe concern to economic orthodoxy.

Last year at this time we heard Conservative Minister James Moore channel his inner Scrooge, implying that the poverty of his neighbour’s child was none of his concern, and neither was the poverty of Canadians any business of the federal government. How delightful to hear a message far more in keeping with the spirit of the season, however unlikely the source. 
- Meanwhile, Alex Himelfarb talks to Possible Canadas about the damaging effects of inequality and austerity. And LOLGOP points out that slightly more progressive taxes under the Obama administration have been put in place at the same time the U.S. has experienced its best job growth of this century.

- Justin Ling interviews Tony Clement about access to information under the Cons, only to find that Clement's own responses consist solely of talking points and redactions. And Torstar reports on the Cons' use of a paid PR service at public expense to manufacture government-approved "news".

- Radical Centrist discusses the need for Canada to talk realistically about the meaning of minority election outcomes - and notes that the U.K. offers a readily-available basis for comparison. And Frank Graves finds that there's plenty of popular support for a coalition government to replace the Harper Cons, even as the Libs once again try to order Canadians not to accept change other than on their own unilaterally-dictated terms.

- Rob Drinkwater reports on CNRL's contamination of drinking water near Cold Lake.

- Finally, Naomi Klein writes about the scant attention paid to murdered and missing aboriginal women by Canadian authorities (with the full support of a callous government), while highlighting the movement to end the silence.

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