- David Cay Johnston looks into new research showing just how much distance the U.S.' highest-income .001% has put between itself and the rest of the country's citizens:
(F)or the first time ever, the IRS offers a close look at the top .001 percent of taxpayers. It shows that incomes in this rarefied air — the top 1,361 households — are soaring while their tax burdens are falling.- Sheila Block studies the growth of law-wage and precarious work in Ontario, along with the desperate need for a strong public policy response. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh follows up by putting Block's analysis in context.
The differences in income-growth rates from 2003 to 2012 between the top .001 percent and the rest of the top 1 percent are akin to watching a race to the skies between a helium balloon and a rocket.
I analyzed the report to compare the 99.9 percent in the top 1 percent to the one in a thousand above them. Adjusted for inflation, average incomes for 99.9 percent of those prosperous households rose to almost $1.3 million in 2012, up $424,000 over 2003.
As big as those numbers are, they pale next to the income growth among the one-in-a-thousand households above them on the income ladder. Those 1,361 households enjoyed an average income of $161 million, an increase of $84.6 million.
The new report is the latest proof that our income tax system is no longer progressive. Instead of tax burdens rising with income, and thus with the ability to pay, burdens fall off as incomes rise into the stratosphere. That doesn’t make sense.
Congress has lavished so much tax relief on the very richest Americans, in fact, that their burdens are falling even though overall income tax burdens are rising, especially for the middle class. And those with the very highest incomes have such abundant resources that they can neither consume much of their income nor find profitable places to invest their wealth.
- Tom McIntosh argues that we should push Canada's province to take the lead on a national pharmacare program rather than relying on the federal government. But I'm skeptical as to how much that will accomplish: after all, much of the problem with the state of pharmacare already comes from the fact that rare examples of localized leadership haven't been followed elsewhere, and indeed right-wing provincial governments have seldom hesitated to retrench on previously-existing coverage in the absence of federal standards.
- Meanwhile, Jeff Reading points out that the elimination of gross iniquities in First Nations health compared to the rest of Canada's population would go a long way toward the pursuit of reconciliation. But Lee Berthiaume reports that the Cons have no intention of lifting a finger to improve social conditions for First Nations even as it agrees to international action.
- Finally, David Climenhaga opines that eliminating corporate and union money from Alberta elections will be a winner for Rachel Notley's government from both a policy and political standpoint.
[Edit: fixed typo.]