Saturday, January 06, 2018

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne discusses the divergence between an upper class with soaring incomes, and the bulk of the population facing stagnation and precarity:
(W)hile the nation’s wealth or GDP looks good, less of it is getting shared around and more and more of it is hoarded at the top end.

Governments are collecting less from the rich and corporations, limiting their ability to share wealth and invest and build things that benefit everyone.

At the same time, household debt levels are at their highest, sitting at 168% last year.

Many Canadians are feeling less secure in their employment, experiencing deteriorating job quality, with almost two-thirds earning less than the average wage. Indeed the share of Canadians earning less than the average wage has continued to climb over the past two decades.

This is directly linked to a rising share of low-wage jobs, according to the CIBC Capital Markets’ job quality report issued in late 2016. So while the job market on the surface looks good, wages are lagging.

Late last fall, Ekos pollster Frank Graves did a deep dive on this widespread feeling of economic insecurity.

Fewer Canadians, he found, identify with being in the “middle class” and more and more Canadians are feeling pessimistic about their futures.

A multitude of tax cuts has not helped assuage the economic angst.
The 2018 World Inequality Report says progressive taxation is crucial to stop rising inequality.

The fact is there is plenty of money in the economy. It’s how that money is not getting shared.
- Michal Rozworski rightly critiques the media's response to minimum wage increases, both in reproducing anti-worker propaganda and in spinning economic analyses to ignore the positive effects of increased wages. David Moscrop offers a reminder of the importance of looking at the effect of policy on people's lives - and particularly workers benefiting from high wages. The Hamilton Spectator weighs in on the obvious benefits of a more fair minimum wage. And CBC has followed up on the treatment of workers at Tim Hortons as a prime example of how unscrupulous employers are trying to twist positive public policy changes into an excuse to further exploit workers.

- Graham Riches writes that John Horgan (and others in power) should be working on ending reliance on food banks, not merely promoting them. And Luke Savage discusses how Toronto's cold snap and resulting discussion of homelessness have laid bare its blithe acceptance of avoidable poverty and insecurity.

- Finally, Brent Patterson argues that the federal Libs need to stop stalling on legislation to reverse the Cons' voter suppression tactics. And Ian Boekhoff reports on the possibility that Prince Edward Island might break new ground in Canadian electoral reform.

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