Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- In his Arnold Amber Memorial Lecture, Alex Himelfarb offers his take on the dangers of austerity and the loss of collective action:
1. Austerity is toxic.
2. It is built on a lie, and on a withered idea of freedom and a hollowed out notion of citizenship.
3. Austerity is self-perpetuating, trapping us, stunting our political imagination.
4. We nevertheless do have alternatives. There are always alternatives. Big change is hard, but given the risks, the stakes, the opportunities, big change is urgent, and bold is exactly what’s needed if we are to meet our challenges and break out of the austerity trap.
5. A new generation of leaders is giving us reason for hope, though clearly there’s no reason for complacency.
Right wing governments embrace deficits.  They need them to justify cuts to vital services, cuts that they couldn’t sell otherwise. They create them through their tax cuts, occasionally aided by accounting tricks. At the same time they describe these self-induced deficits as poisonous. There are, we are told,  both moral and economic imperatives for eliminating deficits and balancing budgets. Otherwise the sky will fall. Spoiler alert. It won’t. We are told that governments are like households and must live within their means, an analogy that would be more apt if households like governments could print money. Households can’t. Governments do.  Austerity isn’t simply the consequence of tax cuts, it may often be their purpose.
- Bernie Sanders discusses the need for political leaders to understand and meet the needs of the working class, rather than assuming that governance consists solely of catering to the wealthy. And Mathew Lawrence writes that Sanders' plans to empower workers could be just as effective outside the U.S. context, including in the UK.

- Meanwhile, the New York Times' editorial board calls out Donald Trump for going out of his way to further distort the balance of workplace power in favour of employers.

- Katie Hyslop reports on new polling showing that a large majority of British Columbia oppose tax breaks for elite private schools, particularly in the context of constant cries of poverty when it comes to the public school system.

- And finally, Crawford Kilian reviews Dave McGrane's new book on the evolution of the federal NDP.

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