Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Wanda Wyporska writes that increasing inequality is the main factor behind public distrust and discontent with our politics:
Rising inequality is not inevitable, it is largely a result of the political and economic decisions taken by governments. This is clear from the varying levels of inequality in EU countries, and the processes by which these have come about.
Perhaps the most obvious area in which countries have been more or less effective in keeping inequality in check is taxation and fiscal redistribution. While many European countries have seen top income tax rates fall in recent years, with expected subsequent increases in inequality, more equal countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland have retained top income tax rates of well over 50 per cent. Fiscal redistribution drastically reduces inequality in all developed countries, including the UK and US, but there are significant differences between them. Predictably, the Nordic countries have higher rates of redistribution than the UK, but so do other more equal countries such as Belgium, France, Germany and Ireland.

Taxation and redistribution of income are not the only effective methods by which to tackle inequality. Japan’s redistribution rate is low compared to many other developed economies, but starting from a much lower level of market inequality, it results in a lower overall level of economic inequality. This points towards important measures to reduce inequality beyond ‘tax and spend’ approaches.
In much of Europe and the rest of the developed world, we are at a crossroads. For many, the dividing line is between protectionist nationalism and a globalised, liberalised approach to politics and economics. However, this misses a more important, older divide – between those who wish power and wealth to remain concentrated in the hands of a few, and those who wish to see control and prosperity enjoyed by the many. The lesson from Europe is that there are measures that can reduce inequality that do not involve retreats into nationalist agendas or reduced worker’s rights. If governments are to survive ongoing turmoil and build legitimacy, they will need to look at these and new ideas to build more equal, fairer societies. 
- Drew Brown discusses how the Paradise Papers revelations show the contrast between Justin Trudeau's "middle-class" messaging and his government of, by and for the wealthy and entitled few. Alex Boutilier and Robert Cribb report that the Canada Revenue Agency has been fighting efforts to even calculate how much revenue is being lost offshore. And David Cay Johnston writes that tax rules haven't kept up with the wealth and influence they need to be able to regulate.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh examines the widespread violence and abuse faced by health care workers.

- Dirk Meissner reports on Jagmeet Singh's much-needed message that drug addiction, poverty and mental health be treated as social issues rather than criminal justice ones. And Anne Kingston discusses the lack of logic and compassion in omitting dental care from our public health system.

- Finally, Ethan Cox writes that Valerie Plante's successful campaign for mayor of Montreal should offer an example as to how progressive parties and candidates can win by shifting the frame of political debate.

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