Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- tcnorris highlights how the Cons' gratuitous cuts are undermining their hopes of staying in power. And Eric Pineault discusses the costs of austerity for Quebec in particular and Canada as a whole:
(C)utting into spending slows down growth and keeps the economy in a stagnation trap. The resulting underemployment equilibrium puts a lot pressure on household revenues just as those same households are getting into debt. We are thus faced with a second paradox: in a stagnating economy, trying to use austerity to reduce public debt also translates into an increased burden of private debt.

Conversely, a credible and efficient economic stimulation policy grounded in strategic public investments, the maintenance —or possibly the expansion— of public spending, and the modernization of taxation so that it efficiently retains the necessary revenues to validate those expenses and investments (revenues which currently accrue as unproductive savings, notably in businesses) would have a huge impact on growth that would translate into an increase in both denominators, i.e. the GDP and the income of a majority of households. Our current government has decided against promoting such an economic policy, which would incidentally enable us to initiate an ecological shift.
When an economy is stuck in a stagnationist trajectory, choosing austerity is very costly. This cost —in lost economic growth, in weakened households burdened with debt, in under-equipped productive businesses, in uncreated quality jobs, and in disorganized public services— is not the temporary burden of a generation that has to tighten its belt for the sake of the future. Actually, austerity will leave permanent marks on our society. This is a cost with which Quebec’s economy will have to reckon for years to come. The longer we engage in this economic experiment, the longer the effects will last, and the more the inheritance left to future generations will be measly and poor.
- Meanwhile, Peter Geoghegan makes the case for a basic income.

- Angus Reid examines the need for a national pharmacare program to ensure that Canadians can afford the medications they've been prescribed. And Jane Taber notes that pharmacare is popular with voters in addition to being needed from a policy perspective.

- Evgeny Morozov writes that personal privacy is just the latest right to be trampled in the name of corporate control and free trade. And Marc Lee examines how much B.C. has given away in order to try to induce Petronas to extract its natural resources merely in order to be able to claim to have made a deal of some kind.

- Finally, Leilani Farha comments on Canada's deteriorating human rights record. But we shouldn't be surprised to see right eroding when we're governed by a party which (as Michael Harris points out) is focused on dehumanizing anybody who doesn't fall within its list of priority supporters.

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