Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nathaniel Lewis and Matt Bruenig discuss the relationship between massive inheritances and ongoing wealth inequality. Nick Hanauer makes the case for much higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a plan for improved economic development, while a new Ipsos poll finds that three-quarters of Americans are in favour of that possibility. And Larry Elliott reports on a new IMF study which concludes that a more progressive tax system will reduce inequality without affecting growth:
The Washington-based IMF used its influential half-yearly fiscal monitor to demolish the argument that economic growth would suffer if governments in advanced Western countries forced the top 1% of earners to pay more tax.

The IMF said tax theory suggested there should be “significantly higher” tax rates for those on higher incomes but the argument against doing so was that hitting the rich would be bad for growth.

But the influential global institution said: “Empirical results do not support this argument, at least for levels of progressivity that are not excessive.” The IMF added that different types of wealth taxes might also be considered.
IMF research found that between 1985 and 1995, redistribution through the tax system had offset 60% of the increase in inequality caused by market forces. But between 1995 and 2010, income tax systems failed to respond to the continuing increase in inequality.

It also said inequality should be tackled by giving a more pro-poor slant to public spending.

“Despite progress, gaps in access to quality education and healthcare services between different income groups in the population remain in many countries,” Gaspar and Garcia-Escribano said, adding that in rich countries men with university education lived up to 14 years longer than those with secondary education or less.

“Better public spending can help, for instance, by reallocating education or health spending from the rich to the poor while keeping total public education or health spending unchanged,” they added.
- Michael Nienaber reports on a push by German trade unions to translate productivity gains into reduced hours of work. And Martin Regg Cohn argues that corporate fearmongering isn't a valid reason to avoid ensuring that workers make a living wage.

- Meanwhile, the Mowat Centre and Smart Prosperity Institute study (PDF) how decent work fits into a green economy. And George Monbiot theorizes that a combination of private sufficiency and public luxury could represent the economic model which allows us to reconcile higher standards of living with environmental sustainability.

- Finally, Geoff Leo reports that the Wall government has ordered public servants to use private e-mail accounts to deal with sensitive issues in order to avoid any public record of their actions. And Alex MacPherson notes that the Sask Party has refused (or neglected) to provide information to allow the Auditor General to even assess the effects of its destruction of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company.

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