Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Talia Lavin writes about the value of shifting the Overton window to enable serious discussion of higher tax rates on the people who have far more money than they could possibly need:
I think about how we view the rich, so often born into the aeries of luxury, as inherently deserving of their station. They’re coddled by their birth and by our tax code. They’re buoyed by our admiration: They’re “makers” and “doers” and winners of philanthropy awards, because they have enough money ― parked in ways such that it swells and effloresces into yet more money ― that they can throw their pocket change at the rest of us and be feted for it. We clap and call them “job creators,” even when the only jobs involved are for lawyers and the kind of accountants who know the differential tax-sheltering benefits between the Cayman Islands and Cyprus.
I think of the old, cracked windows on public trains that swelter in summer and freeze in winter and are beset with ever-longer delays. The ruts in our roads, the poison in our water, the fires in our forests, the plastic in our seas. I think of the things all that hoarded cash could heal and build and fix.
That’s when I’m grateful for even the smallest breath of air in our political discourse, a way to sweep away some of the poisonous rhetoric that blames the poor for their poverty and lauds the wealthy for circumstances most of them had no hand in creating.
I am sick of it, I am so sick of it I could scream an unending scream that might shatter even the reinforced imported Italian glass of a hedge-fund manager’s midcentury modern gut-renovated Manhattan penthouse that once belonged to an old woman whose rent control died when she did. With my own stubby hands, I want to break open the myth that those who outearn us are our betters. I want to break open the coffers of the wealthy and let us use it to save ourselves.
I’m so angry I want to smash the Overton Window that some courageous politicians are shoving at with their shoulders. Outside it the air is cool, and heavy with promise.
- Andrea Flynn and Susan Holmberg comment on the need to finally live up to FDR's rights-based vision in ensuring that people's basic material needs are met. Lori Culbert reports on Vancouver's attempts to wrestle with child poverty, while Hadlen Freeman observes that the longstanding problem of homelessness affects people doing precarious work in the new economy. And Kelly Crowe discusses how the revamping of Canada's food guide does nothing to help people who are unable to afford to follow it.

- Leyland Cecco highlights how pipeline protests are calling needed attention to the rights still held over unceded territory.

- Meanwhile, Charlie Taylor notes that Ireland's Strategic Investment Fund has joined the ranks of major public investors who have decided they can do better than to fund fossil fuel development.

- Finally, Dr. A.J. discusses how deliberate and avoidable austerity has left Nova Scotia with a crumbling health care system - while opening the door for profit-based health services which will only exacerbate the problem.

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