Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Will Wachtmeister reviews Malcolm Torry's book of arguments for a basic income, focusing in particular on social cohesion and innovation as important reasons why individuals should enjoy economic security. But Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel write that the U.S. Republicans (among other parties) are looking to play up divisions based on race and nationality in order to attack the concept of equality - and all too often reaping political gains in the process:
Identifying as ideologically conservative also increases opposition to inequality-reducing action, but the size of that effect is dwarfed by the effect of identifying as a Republican. Perhaps most surprisingly, factors related to income and feelings of economic peril or insecurity have no significant impact on opinions regarding whether government should take action to reduce income inequality.

We find similar results when we examine attitudes toward one of the most effective policies to reduce inequality: government aid to the poor. Again, those with high levels of racial resentment are significantly more likely to prefer decreased federal aid to the poor compared to those with low levels of racial resentment. Unsurprisingly, Republicans prefer that federal aid to the poor be decreased, while Democrats and Independents want it increased.
These results should lead progressives to reconsider the importance of race as a motivating factor on attitudes related to a wide swath of policy issues. Indeed, consideration of race should be central to analysis of even issues, like economic inequality, that seem to not be about race. But further, they show that the idea that Republicans will ever go so far to the right that Americans will reject them is unlikely. The sad reality is that most Americans don’t see a large causal connection between government policy and their lived experiences. Instead, they’ll likely blame the poor, immigrants and blacks.
- Duncan Kinney discusses the economic and social benefits Alberta could enjoy by transitioning toward cleaner energy quickly, rather than doing so only because it has to later on.

- PressProgress looks at yet another study showing that opponents of a higher minimum wage are wrong to presume that fair wages have any substantial impact on job numbers.

- Andrew Coyne reminds us that a more proportional electoral system would encourage true majority governments (composed of one or more parties), rather than the false ones generated by first-past-the-post or alternative vote options.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg writes about the Libs' lack of commitment to do anything about C-51 and other Con intrusions onto civil rights.

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