Friday, August 04, 2017

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Greg Jericho writes about Australia's increasing income stratification and wealth inequality. Matt Bruenig examines what sets the Nordic countries apart from the rest of the world - including high unionization levels and substantial public ownership of industry along with their well-funded social programs. And their success with that formula stands in stark contrast to Noah Smith's observations about supply-side economics:
(R)elatively few critics have focused on what I see as the weakest part of Cogan et al.’s essay -- the claim that lower taxes, deregulation and reduced government spending can boost growth significantly.

Tax cuts have generally proven to be a big bust during the past few decades. Former President George W. Bush pushed through a series of substantial tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, but growth failed to return to 1990s levels. More recently, experiments with lowering taxes at the state level have showed very disappointing results. The most glaring example is Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s tax-cutting program, begun in 2012. In the years since Brownback slashed taxes, the state’s finances have been drowning in red ink. But economic growth didn’t pick up, and Kansas has lagged behind its neighbor Nebraska in both labor supply and income per person...
(P)olicy makers shouldn’t listen to the supply-side orthodoxy. Deregulation could have some positive effects if done right, but tax cuts and austerity -- even if they could both be accomplished at the same time -- are policies with very little promise. To boost growth, the U.S. should look to other policies, like better infrastructure, stronger antitrust enforcement and more investment in research and technology.
- Mike Konczal discusses how public utility regulation produces both economic and social benefits compared to allowing rent-seeking businesses to run amok.

- Keith Reynolds takes a look at how the Libs' ideological focus on P3s resulted in massive avoidable costs for British Columbia.

- Meanwhile, Stephanie Taylor reports that social housing units are next on the Saskatchewan Party's list of public assets to be sold off for private profit. And this as another study demonstrates that the cost of social housing more than pays for itself in reducing the costs of providing services related to homelessness. 

- Finally, Cindy Blackstock and Sebastian Grammond argue that ending funding disparities in child welfare and other areas of social development is a necessary first step toward reconciliation with First Nations. And James Munson reports on the Libs' sudden move to cut First Nations out of consultations on new environmental laws.

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