Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Will McMartin highlights the fact that constant corporate tax slashing has done nothing other than hand ever-larger piles of money to businesses who have no idea what to do with it. But Josh Wingrove reports that Justin Trudeau is looking for excuses to keep up the handouts to the corporate sector.

- Joseph Stiglitz offers (PDF) a thorough review of our options in lessening corporate hegemony, while Elizabeth Warren and Rosa Delauro ask why citizens should accept trade agreements being written in secret by and for the corporate sector. And David Dayen lists some of the lies being told to try to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- Meanwhile, James Fitz-Morris discusses the top-heavy giveaway arising out of the Cons' tax-free savings account scheme. And Stephen Tapp writes that an ill-advised balanced-budget law is aimed at a problem far less significant than the ones it will create.

- George Lakoff offers some messaging suggestions for progressives. And Luke Savage challenges the rhetoric of "aspiration" as a substitute for fairness:
The “aspirational middle class” is a soundbite engineered to be maximally inclusive and minimally concrete. It is Britain’s post-Thatcherite/New Labour analogue to “the American Dream” – that mythical journey of growth, personal prosperity, and self-creation which is theoretically open to all and practically open to few. The superficial elegance of this vision is that we all ostensibly have access to it, if we choose. The reality is that people belong to different classes, both social and economic, and aren’t more or less “aspirational” because of it (at least not in the commonly understood meaning of the word). Conceptualizing social disparities and economic structures in terms of personal aspiration is a convenient and very deliberate way of ignoring how these structures benefit some and constrain others. The built-in myth of self-sufficiency, in which the individual is always solely and completely responsible for her own outcome, also very deliberately neglects the inherently social nature of our lives: the schools which give us education, the libraries which give us books, the communities in which we are raised, the parents and others who give us care, the roads and transport networks on which we travel.
(I)t bears worth asking why we should privilege a particular kind of personal aspiration which mostly or wholly aspires to make and keep a small number of people extremely wealthy and which elevates the acquisition of personal wealth to the status of cardinal social value.
- Finally, Dennis Raphael discusses how Canada's choice to shred its social safety net decades ago is producing harmful health outcomes today - and asks that we be pay more attention to the future effects of our actions.

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