Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Scott Santens discusses how a basic income could help to foster social cohesion. And Jared Bernstein confirms the seemingly obvious point that properly-funded social programs work wonders in reducing poverty.

- Bill Curry reports that activist groups are seeking answers about what their much-hyped "social infrastructure" will actually include. And Tom Parkin is rightly concerned that lower-income Canadians aren't on the Trudeau Libs' radar.

- Thomas Walkom writes about the danger that the Libs will severely harm Canada's public sector in response to economic stagnation. And Karl Nerenberg reminds us how much needs to be done just to reverse the damage done by the Cons - assuming Trudeau actually wants to change anything in substance.

- Thom Hartmann comments on the role corporate greed played in California's giant methane leak. And Sarah Lazare reminds us that even if we set aside the cartoon villainy of the likes of Martin Shkreli, price gouging is the norm within the pharmaceutical sector.

- Meanwhile, Yessenia Funes talks to Stephen Bezruchka about the health problems caused by inequality at all points on the income spectrum.

- Finally, Andrew Coyne provides a response to the first-past-the-post apologists who think there's nothing wrong with a political system designed to hand absolute power to parties supported by a minority of voters:
How about this: in a democracy, each person’s vote should count for as much as every other. This strikes me as one of the core promises of democracy. Universal adult suffrage — “one person, one vote” — is a foundational principle of every modern democratic state. And yet, while it is true that every adult citizen can vote in Canada, it is demonstrably not the case that every vote counts equally.
The issue here is not fairness among the parties. Rather, it is the unequal treatment of different voters that represents a fundamental breach of the democratic promise.

Notice also the source of that inequity. The present system rewards parties that can bunch their votes geographically, compared to parties whose support is more evenly distributed, since only the party with the most votes in each riding is represented. So parties that take an aggressively regional approach to politics — as Reform and the Bloc did — benefit disproportionately, at the expense of parties with a broader national outlook.

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