Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- The Star's editorial board offers a needed response to the Fraser Institute's tired anti-social posturing:
The study’s greatest failing, however – the omission that ultimately renders its statistics meaningless – is that it makes no mention whatsoever of what we get in return for our tax money. Nowhere does the report mention “public services” or “programs,” nowhere “roads” or “schools.” It’s true that taxes as a percentage of our income have risen over the last 56 years, by around 7 per cent, but consider what they have bought: medicare, for instance, and the Canada Pension Plan, to name just two programs established after their baseline year of 1961.

Not only are these and other aspects of our social safety net arguably central to our national identity – the civilization, you might say, for which taxes have been the price. But they have also yielded exceptional value for money.
By delinking taxes from the services they buy, the Fraser Institute has long fed into a false narrative that for decades was in the ascendancy: that any tax is a bad tax and any cut a free good. In recent years, however, that view has begun to fall out of favour, and not just on the left. The IMF, the OECD, and other past champions of austerity have all made the case that the costs of tax cuts often outweigh their benefits and taxes and the collective action they pay for are essential if we are to meet our biggest challenges.

A few years ago it was almost unthinkable that a Canadian politician could run successfully on the promise of raising any taxes ever. But in the last federal election, both the New Democrats and the Liberals promised tax hikes for at least some Canadians that would have seemed political suicide in recent elections past.

The Fraser Institute’s annual anti-tax litany was always bogus. Now, thankfully, it’s starting to look out of touch.
- And Larry Elliott writes about a new study showing that there's both a significant need to collect more public revenue from the rich, and ample room to do so.

- Richard Florida highlights the connection between increasing inequality and rising rents, while Erica Alini reports on the trend of people who can't afford to own a home in larger cities speculating on the value of housing in smaller towns. Kevin Page and Tina Yuan discuss how the next federal budget could deliver a much-needed reduction in poverty and homelessness. And Alan Broadbent comments on the importance of getting the big things right when developing social supports, rather than letting people suffer while policy-making is oriented toward creating a large number of insufficient programs.

- Finally, Tom Parkin highlights how the Alberta NDP's choice to invest in people rather than slashing and burning to exacerbate a downturn has resulted in a far stronger economic position than the opposite strategy from the Sask Party.

1 comment: