Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Nathaniel Lewis laments the state of the U.S.' woefully insufficient social supports, while emphasizing the importance of public social spending in particular:
(P)rivate “social spending” is, for the most part, regressive and narrowly distributed. Households are bearing the cost directly for the goods and services that they themselves consume (like health care).

Public social spending is different. Often (though not always), it is a transfer of funds from the better-off to the worse-off. Think of a progressively funded, single-payer system. You get health insurance whether you have a job or not, and if you have a low-paying job, it will cost proportionally less than if you had a high-paying job.
There is a strong, direct relationship between public social spending and poverty reduction. This is even more impressive when you consider that “public social spending” does not automatically mean “progressive.”
...(P)ublic social spending does not just reduce poverty. It also creates a more equitable environment for society as a whole.
(I)t follows fairly obviously from the above that the US should be making large outlays on social welfare that it currently is not making. While other wealthy countries apparently view their inhabitants as part of a society with universal needs, the US largely leaves its people to fend for themselves.
- Elizabeth McIsaac writes that social assistance should be a key point of comparison for Ontario voters in this year's election. And David Pfrimmer points out that the federal Libs are again kicking the can down the road rather than putting any meaningful resources into fighting poverty.

- Meanwhile, Peter Martin reports on new research estimating the cost of Australia's tax giveaways to the rich at $68 billion per year. And Andrew Leigh notes that the current government's plan is only to make matters worse - even in the face of opposition from four out of five citizens.

- Marshall Steinbaum, Eric Harris Bernstein and John Sturm study (PDF) the economic and social harms resulting from corporate monopolies.

- Jia Tolentino highlights the perversity of a gig economy which treats the eradication of "life" from any attempt at work-life balance as a plus. 

- Finally, Ian Capstick offers a worthwhile read on the dangers of looking at politics solely through a partisan lens - particularly to the extent the result is to limit empathy toward political competitors.

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