Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Tom Parkin discusses the distinction between giveaways to the rich which are perpetually seen as carrying no price, and the expansion of the commons which is treated as intolerably costly:
(O)ffer something that is actually free and things get downright snarky. In the currently Ontario election, the NDP platform includes a free drug plan, free dental benefits and free childcare for lower income households. There’s no fee, toll or service charge. It really is free to the user, paid for through our progressive tax system.

In Horwath’s plan, tax on income over $220,000 goes up one point, tax over $300,000 goes up a second. It’s all accounted for.

Now suddenly come a wave of objections—the service “isn’t really free,” say detractors as if there is some sort of deception.

But just stop. We use lots of great free public services everyday, paid by our progressive tax system.

Roads and bridges. Parks. Schools. Health care. Libraries. Police. Firefighters. Armed Forces. Coast Guard. It’s a long list.

And it we want we can add a free drug plan, dental benefits and child care. And just like our roads and health care, they will be paid through our progressive income tax. There’s no deception.

And these new public services are right. Working people are struggling. Families with two incomes need affordable childcare. Fewer workers get union dental and drug benefits. Wages are stagnant. But executive compensation is skyrocketing. It’s fair.

Boil it all down, here’s the basic point. In our society, free money for rich people requires no explanation. Free public services, even if fully paid for, are an outrage. Go get it at my supermarket.
- But on the bright side, David Climenhaga renews his prediction that the Horwath NDP's plan for a more caring and secure society will win out over Doug Ford's attempt to get the working class to vote for exploitation by the rich.

- Meanwhile, Patrick Greenfield and Sarah Marsh highlight how the UK is criminalizing homelessness. And Justin Wm. Moyer reports on the 7 million Americans who have lost their drivers' licences - and in many cases their ability to legally meet the availability demands of most employers - to punitive traffic debt.

- Finally, The Mound of Sound takes note of the grim milestone that's seen the Earth above its normal temperature for 400 consecutive months. And Damian Carrington offers a reminder that even as the worst effects of climate change loom in the future, humanity's track record involves the widespread destruction of plant and animal species.

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