Saturday, May 07, 2016

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- David Rosen discusses the connection between poverty and more general social exclusion:
Poverty is a form of social powerlessness.  The poorer you are, the weaker you are, the harder your life; everything is about survival.  Poverty can be analyzed in two complementary ways – who and where.  By “who,” poverty refers to people based on their gender, race and age; by “where,” poverty refers to the location it is experienced, whether in cities, suburbs or rural areas as well as different parts of the country.  Both who and where are relative concepts reflecting the social structure of inequality.

The poor pay dearly for their poverty.  Most troubling, their lives are insecure, a constant struggle not simply to make ends meet but to live day-to-day.  Little can be taken for granted, whether a job, a home or one’s health.  Education is a luxury; obesity a common condition; drug use – and overdoses – a way to blunt the pain; suicide increasingly is a way out; and mortality rate for the poor are on the rise.

Poverty in America continues to be a hidden crisis, at once widespread, deepening and evermore painful.  In 1964, Pres. Johnson called for a “war on poverty” and now, a half-century later, one can only hope that Mrs. Clinton — if she wins in the November beauty contest — will champion a 21st century “war on poverty,” but one that addresses what Harrington identified as the systemic “culture of poverty,” the underlying racism and inequality that institutionalizes poverty.
- Alan Thomas studies some of the institutional changes needed to reduce gross imbalances in both income and political power. And Fern Hill compares our immediate (and laudable) response to the crisis facing displaced residents of Fort McMurray against our blithe acceptance of the unmet needs of so many other Canadians.

- Robert Sweeny catches the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals trying to pull a fast one on the public by leaving massive cuts and corporate giveaways out of their budget announcement. And CUPW notes that contrary to the spin from Con and Lib governments alike, Canada Post continues to be highly profitable (with obvious room to become more so by adding in postal banking).

- Leslie Young reports on the Auditor General's findings that Canada is doing a woeful job of collecting and maintaining the data needed to provide public services.

- Finally, the Leader-Post editorial board calls for Brad Wall and his party to start complying with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by eliminating religious ceremonies (including a daily prayer) from legislative proceedings.

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