Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dan Gardner writes that the COVID-19 pandemic is exactly the type of rare but severe event which should be the subject of thorough public preparation. And Eric Neudorf explains why so many governments failed to appreciate and act on the severity of the coronavirus even after its dangers were publicly known.

- Adam Almeida notes that Canada's universal public health care has allowed us to fare far better than other countries who rely on private providers. But Kara Grace Hounsell, Marcella Jones, Melanie Spence, Nisha Kansal and Thrmiga Sathiyamoorthy write that COVID-19 also the need to fight to fill in the gaps in Canada's system.

- Robert Green writes about privatization as a pre-existing condition which has created intolerable dangers for people in long-term care. Bruce Arthur points out how COVID-19 was positioned to exploit our current nursing home structure, while Jonathon Gatehouse reminds us that there have been plenty of warnings which have gone unaddressed (or indeed been met with deregulation and declining standards). Andre Picard calls out the ageism involved in the appalling willingness of operators - and a growing number of right-wing politicians - to sacrifice the lives of older residents. And David Climenhaga discusses the need for improved pay and working conditions for long-term care workers both during and after the pandemic, while Scott Gilmore makes a similar case for all of the essential workers risking their own health to keep us supplied with necessities. 

- Jim Stanford discusses how the Bank of Canada could offer far more effective quantitative easing by investing directly in government bonds, rather than relying on bank-shot secondary funding through private financiers to produce desirable public outcomes. And Frances Bula highlights the difficulties faced by municipalities confronted simultaneously with reduced tax revenue and provincially-imposed obligations to balance their budgets.

- Finally, David Dayen points out that the U.S. is allowing banks to seize relief funding to individuals, meaning that the already-meager assistance on offer might never make it to recipients. And Ricardo Tranjan studies how payday lenders are positioned to exploit the dire straits facing Canadian workers to pad their profits. 

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