Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ed Finn comments on the massive amounts of public money being funneled toward Canada's wealthiest corporations:
When it comes to listing countries on the basis of the social services they provide to citizens compared to the subsidies they heap on corporations, Canada doesn't fare well.

A study from the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy published in January reports that our federal government and the four largest provinces spend $29 billion a year subsidizing business firms.

The study's author, John Lester, says that half of these huge subsidies fail to improve economic performance and therefore constitute a colossal waste of government revenue.
While Ottawa and the provinces maintain and even increase the amounts of their tax revenue expended on business subsidies, they have proportionately limited their spending on social services.

The latest OECD report on the social expenditures of its 34 member countries ranks Canada 24th for the relatively low 17.2 per cent of GDP it spent on social services in 2016. Most of the 23 countries that surpass Canada have social spending rates of 23 per cent of GDP or more. Some, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Belgium, Italy and Ireland, have rates higher than 28 per cent. Incredibly, even the United States ranks above Canada with a social spending rate of 19.3 per cent of GDP.

The preference of Canadian governments to serve the interests of big business and the rich elite rather than the broader public interest has had appalling consequences. They include our ailing health care system, our lackluster performance on the environment, our mistreatment of indigenous peoples, and, most of all, our disgracefully steep rate of child poverty and our abysmally low level of child care.
- Elizabeth McSheffrey reports on the growing gap between the billionaire class and the rest of us. Jordan Weismann discusses the link between corporate monopsony and stagnant wages. And Alana Semuels takes note of a growing class divide within the U.S.' labour movement, which is holding its ground among white-collar workers while struggling to organize their blue-collar counterparts.

- Bridget Yard points out the squeeze facing Saskatchewan's low-income residents whose stagnant incomes need to be stretched to cover higher prices and regressive taxes.

- Laurie Monsebraaten examines the gap between the needs of Toronto's homeless citizens. And the
Telegraph reports on Jeremy Corbyn's simple and direct plan to provide houses to the people who need them.

- Finally, Edward Keenan explains why Patrick Brown and other politicians who recognize the need to address perception in every other aspect of their public presentation can't expect the benefit of the doubt in the face of credible accusations of sexual exploitation.

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