- Jay Baron Nicorvo discusses how the myth of U.S. meritocracy serves largely as a means of funneling profits toward the 1%. And Mary Hansen points out one way of fighting back against evolving forms of corporate power - being the development of new, cooperative alternatives to businesses designed to exploit workers.
- David Korten highlights a few of the most obvious dangers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as just the latest and most draconian agreement intended to lock anti-democratic principles in as a restriction on government decision-making. And ICIJ and the Huffington Post shed needed light on how past attempts to account for the public interest in trade arrangements - in this case through the World Bank - have proven to be miserable failures due to a lack of interest in enforcing rules which protect people rather than profits.
- Meanwhile, Louis-Philippe Rochon notes that even the International Monetary Fund is admitting that decades of constant attacks on workers have served solely to drive down wages rather than doing anything to improve economic performance.
- Steven Zhou writes that the Cons' politicization of the Canada Revenue Agency to attack groups who disagree with their corporatist message represents a serious threat to democratic discussion.
- Finally, the Broadbent Institute highlights just a few of the ways the Cons are deliberately making inequality worse. And Scott Clark and Peter DeVries comment on the Harper Cons' catastrophic economic record:
At the end of 2014, the unemployment rate was higher than at the end of 2008. The labour force participation rate was lower than in 2008. The employment rate (the percentage of the adult population employed) was lower than at the end of 2008. The youth unemployment rate was higher than at the end of 2008. The share of total employment made up of full-time jobs was less than in 2008 — and the quality of jobs had sunk to its lowest level in a quarter of a century.
Then there’s Oliver’s claim that his government has put money back in the hands of Canadians through its commitment to reducing taxes. This government has definitely cut taxes for high-income, single-earner families with children under 18 — just 15 per cent of all families. They’ve been very good to families with teenage children who — somehow — still need ‘child care’. They’ve been generous to families who can afford to put their kids in sports leagues and summer camps, and they’ve cut taxes for high-income seniors who can split their pension income with a spouse.
The government has announced it will double the contribution limits for Tax-Free Savings Accounts, despite research by the PBO and others indicating this will — again — overwhelmingly benefit high-income Canadians and leave a growing unfunded liability to be paid for by all Canadians in the future. Oliver and Harper claim to be doing this for our grandchildren. Somehow we don’t think they’ll be grateful.
All of this, of course, came after the government’s biggest and most foolish tax cut — the two point cut in the GST which every economist warned them was a terrible idea. Sure enough, it was a major factor in putting the government into deficit.
The key thing to remember here is that these tax cuts accomplished nothing for the economy. None of them contributed to economic growth or job creation. They certainly didn’t contribute to tax fairness.
Numbers don’t lie, but people do. It’s one thing to spin your failures as successes — it’s another thing entirely to try to present a decade of fiscal failure as one long triumph.