- Elias Isquith talks to David Madland about the connection between increasing inequality and the breakdown of trust in the U.S. political system. CBC and Larry Elliott follow up on the IMF's findings about the economic damage done by income and wealth disparities. And Philip Longman thoroughly examines the cross-generational inequality which is putting every generation after the Baby Boomers at a severe disadvantage:
Start, for example, with the twentysomethings of 1979. They had a lower real income in 1979 than twentysomethings did in 1969. And as fiftysomethings now, they not only make less money than they did when they were fortysomething, they are also far worse off as a whole than were the fiftysomethings of 2005. This generalization applies to white members of this cohort and even more so to those who are African American or Hispanic.- Meanwhile, Adnan Al-Daini comments on the futility of pretending that government budgeting is comparable to that of a household.
Today’s fiftysomethings may be part of the first generation in American history to experience this kind of lifetime downward mobility, in which at every stage of adult life, they have had less income and less net wealth than did people who were their age ten years before. Yet these mid-wave Baby Boomers shouldn’t feel too sorry for themselves. That’s because, as we shall see, they were far better off as twentysomethings than were subsequent cohorts of Generation X twentysomethings, and especially better off than today’s Millennials.
These vastly different economic trajectories experienced by today’s living generations are basically unprecedented. Throughout most of our history, inequality between generations was large and usually increasing, to be sure, but for the happy reason that most members of each new generation far surpassed their parents’ material standard of living. Today, inequality between generations is increasing for the opposite reason. Though much more productive and generally better educated, most of today’s workers are falling farther and farther behind their parents’ generation in most measures of economic well-being.
If it were just a matter of the old getting richer while the young get poorer, it would not necessarily be so bad. Under that scenario, most of us might struggle financially until we grew old, but we could at least look forward to realizing a variant of the American Dream in retirement. But that’s not how these trends are playing out. The downward mobility of today’s younger Americans leads to the downward mobility of tomorrow’s older Americans, making the problem of growing generational inequality truly dire. It’s time to get clear about just what’s been going on and what we can do about it.
- Ryan Meili interviews Harry Leslie Smith about the realities of life without a universal health care system, and the importance of preserving and improving the one we now enjoy.
- Katie Valentine looks at research showing a connection between environmental consciousness by legislators and cleaner air. And Geoff Dembicki notes that the Cons' environmental negligence is leading Canadian civil society to start taking action.
- Finally, Frances Russell writes that the Cons are looking to block Canadians' votes in the upcoming federal election. And Evan Leeson makes the case for voting for what we want, rather than allowing "strategic" arguments to push us toward the world of all possible worlds:
In the Canadian context strategic voting is anachronistic because it seeks to STOP HARPER. Again, we didn’t. You can’t stop a train after it has left the station and arrived at the destination. The opportunity is gone and strategic voting in this sense is living in the past and refusing to come to terms with where we have arrived.Strategic voting creates a negative frame because it takes the seed of positive creative energy in people who want change and plants it in negativity and fear. It says: “If we don’t vote together to stop Harper he will do bad stuff”. That’s negative and fearful. Plus, he already did.In fact, the Unstoppable One has now turned his attention to making sure that he can stop us. He wants to ensure the things he did cannot be undone aka retroactively stopped. Bill C-51 is a big part of that. C-51 is about locking it in....Here’s the thing about strategic voting. Things are different now. We can’t stop Harper. We can’t stop him because he’s accomplished his goals. Stick a fork in us. He’s done.So, enough with defining our future in the negative. What we need now is a new Prime Minister and new governing party with a plan and a mandate to build Canada anew.So what is the new approach?It’s simple, really. I believe hope is better than fear. I’m voting from the heart. I’m voting for what I believe in. I’m voting for the Canada I want. I hope you will too.