Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman rightly points out that it's to be expected that Republican establishment figures would line up behind Donald Trump since he shares their top priority of handing still more money to the richest few. And Emine Saner highlights how strong inheritance taxes would help connect children of privilege to the society around them.

- Meanwhile, Neil Gross comments on the decline of the U.S. union movement as a contributing factor to the rise of the xenophobic right.

- Kendall Worth makes his case for a basic income. And Ursula Huws discusses the need for our social safety to adapt to an economic where people are expected to get by without secure, full-time employment:
For workers hovering precariously on the edge of survival trying to patch together a livelihood from multiple jobs, never sure when the next piece of work or income will show up, a benefits system in which the only categories are “employed” or “seeking work” is of little help. At the same time, daytime television programmes such as Saints and Scroungers, Benefits Britain: Life on the Dole, and Benefits Street drive home the message that there is no middle ground: you are either a hardworking taxpayer, or a lazy scrounger. In times of austerity, when governments aim to save money wherever they can, this is a convenient message. But the reality is not so simple.
We should go back to the drawing board and develop a system that provides basic security and dignity for all while still allowing for work to be organised flexibly. One possible solution is to give everybody a basic income – a guaranteed minimum income for everyone, available as a right. This would raise the standard of living and reduce poverty among the most vulnerable, but would also allow workers to move flexibly in and out of paid work, education and care work without being subjected to the expensive, demeaning and dysfunctional inquisitorial procedures of the current benefits system that sees only the largely exclusionary categories of “work” and “claiming benefits”.
- Shaurya Taran points out a stark example of the costs of homelessness - and asks why we're absorbing both the health and human costs rather than providing needed housing.

- Finally, the Globe and Mail reminds us not to overreact to the barely-existent risk of harm from terrorism in Canada. And Murtaza Hussain points out that the example of Aaron Driver looks to have been based on a lack of psychiatric care and other social supports for a single individual, rather than any meaningful type of organization.

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