Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Emmanuel Saez examines the U.S.' latest income inequality numbers and finds that the gap between the wealthy few and everybody else is still growing. The Equality Trust finds that the UK's tax system is already conspicuously regressive even as the Cameron Cons plan to make it more so. And Tom Clark reviews Anthony Atkinson's Inequality, featuring the observation that even returning to the distribution of the 1970s will require major (if needed) changes to the economic assumptions we've meekly accepted since then.

- Andrew Mitrovica comments on the Cons' pandering to - and repetition of - anti-Muslim prejudice. And Rick Salutin notes that Canada's shameful treatment of aboriginal people arose out of exactly the same view that cultural difference should be treated as barbarism:
If you opt for zero tolerance, you may destroy something that could be useful now or later. The way to handle "barbaric" practices like forced marriage isn't with a cultural blunderbuss; it's by outlawing particular acts like kidnapping and child marriage, which are already illegal here without attacking any specific cultures.

The point isn't who has the better culture. It's that you never know what challenges you may face in the future and what cultural resources might prove useful and adaptable in facing them. If Scott and Macdonald had succeeded in killing the Indian in the child, through the schools program, we'd be without the resources which First Nations cultures afford us now -- and for whatever crises get thrown up by the always ornery future.

On the other hand, the precedents for declaring what's culturally barbaric and therefore dispensable, are pretty scary, as the exhaustive, heart-rending and indeed poetic work of the TRC on the residential schools program, sadly shows.
- Meanwhile, Michelle Shephard reminds us that what little terrorist risk there is to Canadian safety comes primarily from the bigoted right rather than the people they're so eager to dehumanize.

- Amy Minsky reports on the hundreds of millions of dollars the Cons have spent detaining refugee claimants - as they'd prefer to spend a guaranteed $292 per day per immigrant to lock people up than allow anybody to participate in Canadian society.

- Finally, Jeremy Nuttall looks into a single photo op which offers a galling indication of how much public money is being wasted on the Cons' self-aggrandizement. And John Barber reports on Stephen Harper's latest monument to poor taste, while Bill Waiser slams their disregard for history and truth.


  1. The Saez article leaves me wondering about different groupings. I mean, apparently in 2014 the bottom 99% actually made income gains, although not nearly as great as the top 1%. But there are tantalizing hints that the next 10% may have gotten the lion's share of those gains . . . just how far down the scale did any gains get? Was it really broad based, or would you find looking closer that the bottom 70% or so got nothing or less?

  2. I'm not sure exactly where on the scale those additional gains would be found. But Figure 2 under the "top income share series" link suggests that the 90-95 and 95-99 percentiles saw small drops from 2013 to 2014 (in contrast to the gain for the 99+ group).