Friday, April 03, 2015

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your long weekend reading.

- Jim Buchanan comments on the mountain of inequality looming over all of our political choices. Laurie Posner interviews Paul Gorski about the need for a vocabulary which accurately portrays inequality as the result of social conditions rather than merit or culture. And Robert Reich notes that if anybody can accurately be classified as having done nothing to earn a living, it's the idle rich:
In reality, a large and growing share of the nation’s poor work full time — sometimes sixty or more hours a week – yet still don’t earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

It’s also commonly believed, especially among Republicans, that the rich deserve their wealth because they work harder than others.

In reality, a large and growing portion of the super-rich have never broken a sweat. Their wealth has been handed to them.
The ranks of the working poor are growing because wages at the bottom have  dropped, adjusted for inflation. With increasing numbers of Americans taking low-paying jobs in retail sales, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, childcare, elder care, and other personal services, the pay of the bottom fifth is falling closer to the minimum wage.
Bill Clinton’s welfare reform of 1996 pushed the poor off welfare and into work. Meanwhile, the Earned Income Tax Credit, a wage subsidy, has emerged as the nation’s largest anti-poverty program. Here, too, having a job is a prerequisite.

The new work requirements haven’t reduced the number or percentage of Americans in poverty. They’ve just moved poor people from being unemployed and impoverished to being employed and impoverished.
At the same time, the ranks of the non-working rich have been swelling. America’s legendary “self-made” men and women are fast being replaced by wealthy heirs.

Six of today’s ten wealthiest Americans are heirs to prominent fortunes. The Walmart heirs alone have more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans combined.

Americans who became enormously wealthy over the last three decades are now busily transferring that wealth to their children and grand children.

The nation is on the cusp of the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth in history. A study from the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy projects a total of $59 trillion passed down to heirs between 2007 and 2061.

As the French economist Thomas Piketty reminds us, this is the kind of dynastic wealth that’s kept Europe’s aristocracy going for centuries. It’s about to become the major source of income for a new American aristocracy.
- Meanwhile, Erika Shaker eviscerates the CCCE's demand that post-secondary education be made less accessible - ensuring that the mountain will grow all the more.

- Paul Krugman discusses the dangers of evaluating policies solely in terms of sales pitches rather than actual outcomes. Toby Sanger notes that far too many provinces continue to push austerity which has approximately zero chance of success on any terms other than the former. And Tyler Clarke calls out the Saskatchewan Party's big lie about "balanced" budgets which are anything but.

- David Pugliese exposes Jason Kenney's habit of lying in the interest of selling perpetual war, then pretending somebody else is responsible for his own falsehoods. But fortunately, Nanos finds that the Canadian public isn't interested in buying the Cons' appeal to fear.

- The National Post examines just a few of the more glaring flaws in the Cons' terror bill. Alex Neve asks the Cons to listen to the public's concerns about C-51 (implausible though that may seem). Stuart Trew observes that the few amendments allowed to the bill reflect the orders of the Cons' central command rather than taking into account a word of any committee review, while Craig Forcese highlights what we can learn about the Cons' intention from the committee process. And Andrew Mitrovica offers another look at the gross lack of oversight at CSIS.

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