Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Scott Clark and Peter De Vries discuss the need for a Canadian economic plan which involves investment in the long term rather than politically-oriented payoffs only within a single election cycle. And Joseph Stiglitz points out the obvious need for a global system of investment and financial regulation which better puts existing resources to work:
(D)eveloping countries and emerging markets have demonstrated their ability to absorb huge amounts of money productively. Indeed, the tasks that these countries are undertaking – investing in infrastructure (roads, electricity, ports, and much else), building cities that will one day be home to billions, and moving toward a green economy – are truly enormous.

At the same time, there is no shortage of money waiting to be put to productive use. Just a few years ago, Ben Bernanke, then the chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, talked about a global savings glut. And yet investment projects with high social returns were being starved of funds. That remains true today. The problem, then as now, is that the world’s financial markets, meant to intermediate efficiently between savings and investment opportunities, instead misallocate capital and create risk. 
Private investment is important, too. But the new investment provisions embedded in the trade agreements that the Obama administration is negotiating across both oceans imply that accompanying any such foreign direct investment comes a marked reduction in governments’ abilities to regulate the environment, health, working conditions, and even the economy. 

The US stance concerning the most disputed part of the Addis Ababa conference was particularly disappointing. As developing countries and emerging markets open themselves to multinationals, it becomes increasingly important that they can tax these behemoths on the profits generated by the business that occurs within their borders. Apple, Google, and General Electric have demonstrated a genius for avoiding taxes that exceeds what they employed in creating innovative products. 

All countries – both developed and developing – have been losing billions of dollars in tax revenues. Last year, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released information about Luxembourg’s tax rulings that exposed the scale of tax avoidance and evasion. While a rich country like the US arguably can afford the behavior described in the so-called Luxembourg Leaks, the poor cannot.
- Doug Cuthand argues that western Canada needs to start paying far more attention to how resource policy affects our climate among other issues of long-term sustainability.

- Justin Miller discusses the importance of a $15 minimum wage in a banking sector which has been slashing wages for ages - offering an analysis which applies similarly to the federal minimum wage in Canada. Lydia DePillis and Jim Tankersley point out that the $15 level (unlike increases at substantially lower levels) would have a ripple effect large enough to grow the middle class. And Julie Alderman refutes the latest Republican anti-labour talking point by documenting how unionized workplaces offer far more fair wages for women.

- The CP lists the people who were in the loop about Nigel Wright's payoff to Mike Duffy at the time Stephen Harper previously claimed only two people were involved, while CBC compares what Harper said before to what's being proven now. And Justin Ling, Karl Nerenberg, Tonda MacCharles and Bruce Campion-Smith, Althia Raj look in more detail at the role of the inner circle of the PMO. [Update: And Andrew Coyne notes that the Duffy payoff can be explained only by the desire of Harper and his handlers to avoid having an unbiased audit look into his other expenses.]

- Finally, Anna Mehler Paperny reports that a growing number of Canadians want to see change in this fall's election and are happy to see parties cooperate toward that end. And Kyle Duggan examines a high level of voter interest which bodes well for turnout this October.

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