Monday, December 17, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- The Guardian's editorial board writes that there's no excuse for political choices which leave people homeless - and no reason not to starting correcting ongoing breaches of the right to housing. And Emily Mathieu reports on the push for Toronto to declare a state of emergency over its persistent homelessness.

- Matthew Taylor comments on how gratuitous austerity has left English children without the essentials of life, including basic food and clothing. And the Economist notes that school nutrition is among the social priorities being slashed by the Trump administration in the name of corporate profits.

- Meanwhile, Brad Delong examines the effect of Trump's corporate tax giveaway, while noting that the corporate shills who claimed that freebies for business would lead to benefits for anybody else have faced no apparent remorse over their predictable failure:
The economists who predicted that tax cuts would spur a rapid increase in investment and sustained growth have now been proven wrong. If they were serious academics committed to their discipline, they would take this as a sign that they have something to learn. Sadly, they have not. They have remained silent, which suggests that they are not surprised to see investment fall far short of what they promised.

But why should they be surprised? After all, it would be specious to assume, as their models do, that investment can rapidly rise (or fall) as foreign investors flood into (or flee) the US. Individuals and firms do not suddenly ratchet up their savings just because the after-tax profit rate has increased. While a higher profit rate does make saving more profitable, it also increases the income from one’s past savings, thus reducing the need to save. Generally speaking, the two balance out.

All of those who published op-eds and released studies supporting the corporate tax cuts last year knew (or should have known) this to begin with. That is why they have not bothered to investigate their flawed forecasts to determine what they may have missed. It is as if they knew all along that their predictions were wrong.
- Finally, David Suzuki points out the health benefits of taking action against climate change. And Karl Nerenberg comments on the need to treat climate breakdown as a civilizational threat, though Fiona Harvey writes that the latest UN agreement falls far short of the mark. And Marc Jaccard highlights the problems with getting hung up on carbon taxes rather than the greater goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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