Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tasini at Daily Kos discusses the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy's finding that every single U.S. state has a regressive tax structure in the taxes imposed at the state and local level. And John Cassidy examines the Center for American Progress' proposals for more inclusive prosperity:
Based on a retelling of recent economic history that should by now be familiar, the report argues that more aggressive measures are needed to tackle wage stagnation and rising inequality. In the U.S. case, the report’s recommendations include raising the minimum wage, encouraging the growth of trades unions, providing wage subsidies to those on moderate incomes, investing in infrastructure and education, boosting home ownership, making the personal tax system more progressive, closing corporate tax loopholes, and making the financial system more stable.

While none of these proposals is new, taken together they constitute a broad agenda designed to reverse, or at least alleviate, the alarming underlying trends. “Our report is about embracing the new economic opportunities of the 21st century by finding ways to ensure they serve the vast majority of society,” the authors write. “Just as it took the New Deal and the European social welfare state to make the Industrial Revolution work for the many and not the few during the 20th century, we need new social and political institutions to make 21st century capitalism work for the many and not the few.”

Despite this language, the report isn’t exactly a radical document. You won’t find anywhere in it an endorsement of Thomas Piketty’s call for a global wealth tax; or of the suggestion, from Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez, that the optimal rate of income tax on top earners may be as high as seventy per cent; or of the proposal, from Anat Admati and others, to break up the big banks. In an age of rising populism, the report is clearly intended to occupy the center ground of progressive politics. But its contents also demonstrate how the center ground has shifted.
- And Robert Reich explains why improved raw job numbers and unemployment rates in the U.S. aren't leading to wage growth:
(T)oday’s workers are less economically secure than workers have been since World War II. Nearly one out of every five is in a part-time job.

Insecure workers don’t demand higher wages when unemployment drops. They’re grateful simply to have a job.

To make things worse, a majority of Americans have no savings to draw upon if they lose their job. Two-thirds of all workers are living paycheck to paycheck. They won’t risk losing a job by asking for higher pay.

Insecurity is now baked into every aspect of the employment relationship. Workers can be fired for any reason, or no reason. And benefits are disappearing. The portion of workers with any pension connected to their job has fallen from over half in 1979 to under 35 percent in today.

Workers used to be represented by trade unions that utilized tight labor markets to bargain for higher pay. In the 1950s, more than a third of all private-sector workers belonged to a union. Today, though, fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers are unionized.

None of these changes has been accidental. The growing use of outsourcing abroad and of labor-replacing technologies, the large reserve of hidden unemployed, the mounting economic insecurities, and the demise of labor unions have been actively pursued by corporations and encouraged by Wall Street.
- Marianne Geoffrion reports on Julius Grey's take on inequality and the Cons' austerity. And the Star argues that the Cons' choice to bull forward with an income-splitting giveaway - which means borrowing money to hand to the rich - shows how irresponsible they are with our public finances.

- Finally, Voices points out that in addition to doing nothing to actually make child care available for Canadian families, the Cons have also gone out of their way to silence the groups working toward that goal.

No comments:

Post a Comment