Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Krugman reminds us of the fraud that is right-wing bleating about deficits:
There have been many “news analysis” pieces asking why Republicans have changed their views on deficit spending. But let’s be serious: Their views haven’t changed at all. They never really cared about debt and deficits; it was a fraud all along. All that has changed is the fact that a Republican now sits in the White House.

How do we know Republicans were never sincere about the deficit? It was obvious, even at the time, to anyone who looked at their fiscal proposals. These proposals always involved giant tax cuts for the wealthy — funny how that worked — offset by savage cuts in social benefits. Even so, assertions that deficits would go down depended entirely on assuming lots of revenue from closing unspecified loopholes and huge savings from cutting unspecified government programs. In other words, even at the peak of their deficit-hawk posturing, all Republicans really had to offer was redistribution from the poor to the rich.
Please, let’s not talk about the wrongheadedness of fiscal policy — about imposing austerity in a depressed economy, then running up the deficit when we’re already near full employment — as a problem of “political dysfunction,” or assert that both parties are to blame. Democrats didn’t block stimulus when the economy needed it, or push a tax cut that will worsen inequality and explode the national debt.

No, this is all about Republican bad faith. Everything they said about budgets, every step of the way, was fraudulent. And nobody should believe anything they say now.
- Thomas Walkom discusses how we shouldn't mistake a few peaks in a fluctuating stock market for more a sound economy. And Doug Henwood expands on the fact that the recent downturn reflects the aversion of wealthy shareholders to any wage growth.

- Meanwhile, Torsten Bell highlights the sheer impossibility of overcoming the effects of structural inequality merely by trying to work and save with an average income.

- Martin Lukacs comments on the Trudeau Libs' eagerness to have an anti-science Trump administration lobby for pipelines. Ricardo Acuna challenges some of the spin being used to try to sell the Trans Mountain expansion, while Elizabeth McSheffery fact-checks Scott Moe's early attempt to use the office of the Premier to serve the oil lobby. And Mitchell Anderson questions why British Columbia (and anybody concerned about protecting our natural environment) should pay the price for Alberta's squandering of past oil revenue.

- Justin Mikulka writes about the gap between promises and reality in responding to spills of diluted bitumen.

- Finally, CTV reports on Trajectoire Quebec's research into the high costs of subsidizing the cost of driving.

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