Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Wanda Wyporska writes that growing inequality is primarily the result of political choices:
If it seems ridiculous that 1,000 people work harder or offer more value than 40 per cent of the population, that’s because it is.

This level of inequality isn’t natural or desirable, it’s not about fair competition between people of differing abilities, or about people’s relative ‘productive capacity’ or any of the myriad excuses offered by inequality apologists. It is true that certain, perhaps inevitable, changes to our economy and businesses have exacerbated inequality – we know for example, that the changing nature of jobs has, in part, led to greater inequality.

However, the real drivers of inequality have come from political choices. These include a sustained attack on trade unions and the role of collective bargaining in driving up low wages, a relentless cutting of high-rate tax levels paid by the wealthiest, and the wholesale attack on social security.

Unfortunately, our current Government appears to have committed to similar policies. A planned increase to the income tax threshold will benefit better-off households, as will the expected increase in the higher rate threshold. At the same time, the roll-out of Universal Credit will see many low-income households have their support cut. A recent report from the Resolution Foundation estimated these policies would see inequality increase to record levels by the end of the current parliament.

Inequality widens the rungs on the ladder, making it harder and harder for people to move up. Moreover, the fear of falling back and forfeiting social status is increased, creating additional pressures and stresses on us all, even the well-off. Worst of all, inequality makes it harder for people to understand and appreciate the lives of those on different rungs of the ladder to them. In effect, greater equality is the glue that binds us, and weakening this glue causes social relations to unravel.
- Alan Freeman discusses the many tax goodies oriented toward the wealthy which the Trudeau Libs have no apparent interest in eliminating. And Will Fischer and Barbara Sard note that the U.S.' spending on housing provides far more to wealthy property owners while doing virtually nothing for people who actually need assistance.

- Brent Patterson writes about Alberta's ban on for-profit plasma clinics, while wondering when other provinces will also work on taking the profit motive out of the supply of plasma. And Don Davies makes the case for a universal national pharmacare program.

- Finally, Mariam Baldeh points out how the harmful consequences of discrimination include poor health outcomes.

1 comment:

  1. A helpful examination of the dominant role governments play in fueling inequality can be found in Stiglitz' "The Price of Inequality."