Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jim Stanford highlights how the Cons are focused on exactly the wrong priority in pushing for cuts at a time when Canada's economy is in dire need of a jump-start:
In the grand economic scheme, a deficit incurred as the economy slows is neither surprising nor undesirable.  But the Tories’ commitment to deficit elimination, no matter what, is all about politics.  First, it justified the big “social engineering” tax cuts (income splitting, so-called child support, etc.) that they announced last year as the centrepiece of their re-election campaign.  (Recall, in 2011 they promised those would go ahead only if the deficit were eliminated; that core promise is now on very thin ice.)  And now it is the most important remaining evidence for their traditional claim to be the “best economic managers.”  The government’s elevation of deficit elimination to all-encompassing priority, and its damaging but inconsistent pursuit of that objective (with unnecessary and damaging cutbacks imposed just as the economy was slowing) should be forcefully critiqued — not the existence of a deficit in itself.

Most curious of all is the government’s implicit and sometimes explicit assumption that merely eliminating the deficit itself will spur macroeconomic recovery.  This, of course, goes against everything we all learned in Macroeconomics 101.  How does not having a deficit do anything to strengthen economic growth?  And if getting to zero deficit means big cuts in public spending and employment, then it will obviously harm growth.
- Meanwhile, Simon Doyle examines the growing evidence that the Cons' economic mismanagement has pushed Canada into a recession.  And Jim Bronskill reports on the billions of dollars being written off by the federal government due to the Cons' lack of interest in maintaining an effective revenue collection system.

- Joe Cressy makes the case for requiring new developments to include desperately-needed affordable housing, while Jordon Cooper makes clear that affordability involves liveability as well as price. And Anna Mehler Paperny points out that we're all less healthy when our health care system is set up to refuse service to refugees.

- Robyn Benson explains why environmental protection is an essential goal for Canada's labour movement.

- Finally, LOLGOP highlights Jeb Bush's gall in demanding that workers put in longer hours to exacerbate the inequality which allowed him to be handed everything he could want for free. And Paul Krugman writes about the Republicans' preposterous laziness dogma in the face of an overworked populace:
It all adds up to a vision of the world in which the biggest problem facing America is that we’re too nice to fellow citizens facing hardship. And the appeal of this vision to conservatives is obvious: it gives them another reason to do what they want to do anyway, namely slash aid to the less fortunate while cutting taxes on the rich.

Given how attractive the right finds the image of laziness run wild, you wouldn’t expect contrary evidence to make much, if any, dent in the dogma. Federal spending on “income security” — food stamps, unemployment benefits, and pretty much everything else you might call “welfare” except Medicaid — has shown no upward trend as a share of G.D.P.; it surged during the Great Recession and aftermath but quickly dropped back to historical levels. Mr. Paul’s numbers are all wrong, and more broadly disability claims have risen no more than you would expect, given the aging of the population. But no matter, an epidemic of laziness is their story and they’re sticking with it.


  1. I'm consistently in awe of TheoCon logic, regarding all of societys ills being able to be explained in totality, in the root cause of those lazy, shiftless, welfare bums. Let's toss out the baby with the bathwater.

    It has occurred to me that the very same Conservatives who would would reduce their own taxes, so that others might not profit off of their hard work...

    are the very same people, at work flogging tickets to this or that, to support their kids hockey team, or school trip to Vienna; in other words, getting someone else to pay for it...

  2. But that involves more work for peons and more profit for businesses rather than taking in sensible tax revenues to begin with. So it's right up the Cons' alley.