Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Carol Graham discusses the high financial and personal costs of poverty:
Reported stress levels are higher on average in the U.S. than in Latin America. Importantly, the gap between the levels of the rich and poor is also much greater, with the U.S. poor reporting the highest levels of stress of all cohorts. Of course ‘stress’ is a complex phenomenon, however: “Good” stress is associated with the pursuit of goals, while “bad” stress is associated with struggling to cope. Bad stress, which is associated with an inability to plan ahead, lower life satisfaction levels, and worse health outcomes, is more common at the bottom of the distribution.

Pain, worry, sadness, and anger (reported as experienced the day before or not) are also all significantly higher among low income cohorts than among wealthy ones, while reported satisfaction with life as a whole is significantly lower...
There are also big differences in reports of chronic suffering across income groups, according to a recent study by Ronald Anderson. Those with incomes below the poverty line were twice as likely to report chronic pain and mental distress as those earning $75,000 or more, and three to five times more likely to have extreme pain or extreme distress.

Experiencing discrimination is also associated with stress. Among other things, discrimination raises the transaction costs of simple things such as getting a loan or buying a home. Maternal stress related to discrimination is associated with lower birth weights—which are linked to worse outcomes on a number of progress indicators—thus passing disadvantage on to the next generation...
- And Eli Hager comments on the spread of new debtors' prisons in the U.S. as just another areas where people living in poverty are facing gratuitous obstacles.

- Gaspard Sebag reports on McDonalds' widespread tax evasion. And while we can fully expect any corporation to argue that it's managed to stay in a legal grey area, Jon Stone finds that the public isn't prepared to tolerate that kind of hair-splitting from corporations who aren't paying their fair share.

- And there's particularly little reason to see any meaning in bare compliance with the letter of the law when, as Michael Gould-Wartofsky writes, the game is rigged in favour of the wealthy to begin with. Speaking of which, the Globe and Mail weighs in on how tax-free savings accounts have been designed to devour Canada's federal budget in the name of transferring wealth upward.

- Mark Dowie covers the failure of Stephen Harper's all-in bet on the tar sands from a U.S. perspective.

- Finally, Tim Harper rightly argues that Canada needs to stop any slide into intolerance - no matter  how determined the Cons are to push us in that direction for political gain. And PressProgress highlights how the combination of bigotry and gross intrusions into civil liberties has even right-wing commentators slamming the Harper Cons.

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