Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Julian Baggini discusses the importance of talking about taxes as a force for the common good - particularly as a response to (and inoculation against) inane "tax freedom" rhetoric:
(W)e need to counter the subtle ways in which we are complicit in the taxophobics’ game. Think about how every newspaper and news outlet reports the budget. The bottom line is always presented in terms of whether tax changes leave specific types of people better or worse off, usually by mere pennies per week. The most important test of a budget should not be how taxes hit individuals’ pockets, but whether overall government is sustainably improving the state of the nation. Taxing less than we need to is as bad as taxing more than is necessary.

These changes in how we think and talk might strike you as modest and uncontroversial. Proof that they are anything but is that a campaign to start celebrating social solidarity day would today be laughed off as some kind of politically correct joke. Unless and until we make it normal to see taxation primarily as a valuable contribution to our own and the common good, the narrative that government is the enemy and tax is theft will continue to prevail.
- And Thomas Torslov, Ludvig Weir and Gabriel Zucman study the massive amounts of tax revenue being siphoned into tax havens to enrich shareholders at the expense of any contribution to the public interest.

- Toby Helm writes about the latest research demonstrating a connection between rising inequality and decreasing union membership. And Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett comment on how inequality leads to stress and anxiety. 

- Finally, Tom Parkin writes about Ontario's rejection of one form of cynical politics - though it's worth noting that both the Wynne Libs and Ford PCs managed to achieve their end-of-campaign goals which put political interests ahead of the public.

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