Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Ladner discusses why our tax and fiscal policies should be designed to reduce inequality - rather than exacerbating it as the Cons are determined to do:
Right now, the richest 20% of Canadian families hold almost 70% of the country’s wealth. The bottom 20% are in a debt position. A CCPA study found that Canada’s wealthiest 86 people have the same net worth as the poorest 34%.

Those of us with capital are adding these new breaks to existing tax breaks for capital gains, taxed at about half the rate of income; an $800,000 lifetime capital gains exemption for business owners; trusts that allow capital gains exemptions to be spread among family members; and a capital gains exemption on windfall real estate gains from a primary residence.

Lest we forget, to quote the U.K. Equality Trust: “In more equal societies people live longer, are less likely to be mentally ill or obese and there are lower rates of infant mortality. Inequality increases property crime and violence. Unequal societies have less social mobility and lower educational scores. 

High levels of income inequality are linked to economic instability, financial crisis, debt and inflation.”

A March 2015 U.K. Office for National Statistics report said “what makes the most difference to personal well-being is the level of an individual’s income relative to those around them.”
In other words, less spread between the richest and poorest.

Why aren’t we designing tax policies to close the wealth gap, not widen it?
- But Ian Welsh offers what's surely part of the answer, as some subsets of the wealthy are particularly motivated to drive down the income of the society around them no matter what harm it causes to everybody concerned.  And a needless extension of monopoly control over copyrighted materials and the negotiation of corporate-friendly deals to the exclusion of the public surely serve as prime examples - while symbolic votes against executive pay at the firm level won't do much to help.

- Meanwhile, Terrell Jermaine Starr identifies just a few of the ways in which the U.S. has criminalized poverty.

- Finally, both the Senate and the Cons are doing everything in their power to make sure Canadians don't find out how Mike Duffy fits into wider problems of systemic abuse and oil-sponsored corporatism. But fortunately, Alison is tracking down what they want to keep hidden.

No comments:

Post a Comment