Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Nathan Schneider discusses the wide range of support for a guaranteed income, while noting that the design of any basic income system needs to reflect the needs of the people who receive it rather than the businesses who see it as an opportunity for themselves. And Art Eggleton includes a basic income and more progressive taxes as part of the solution to poverty in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Sarah Petrescu points to income supports and housing as the two most important issues in her review of poverty in Victoria. And Richard Florida highlights the connection between urbanism and inequality while making the case for cities to focus on their poorest citizens.

- Trish Hennessy offers up some numbers as to how Canadians see our political system. And the strong demand for action against inequality fits nicely with Carol Goar's argument that Canadians generally don't buy the pundit-class theory that voters won't accept real political change.

- CUPE points out how much we stand to gain by making meaningful public investments rather than limiting our range of policy choices to service and tax cuts. And Roger Peters makes the case that we should focus on the social economy, rather than judging development solely in terms of corporate interests.

- Finally, Lawrence Mishel, Elise Gould and Josh Bivens chart the stagnation of wages in the U.S. And Mishel expands on the causes of that stagnation:
[The U.S.'] dismal wage growth is the result of intentional policy choices made on behalf of those with the most income, wealth, and political power. As explained below, these choices fall into five broad categories: the abandonment of full employment as a main objective of economic policymaking, declining union density, various labor market policies and business practices, policies that have allowed CEOs and finance executives to capture ever larger shares of economic growth, and globalization policies. Collectively, these policy decisions have shifted economic power away from low- and middle-wage workers and toward corporate owners and managers.

The fact that wage stagnation stems from intentional policy decisions means that fundamental economic forces did not make these trends inevitable. The income, wealth, and wages generated over the last generation were sufficient to provide broadly shared prosperity for all families. There will be substantial growth in income, wealth, and wages over the next few decades as well, and whether the vast majority appropriately benefits from this growth will depend entirely on the policy choices that will be made.

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