Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- I'm sympathetic to Greenpeace's argument that Bruce Carson should be seen as having lobbied the Cons on the tar sands as well as on water. But I'm not sure it entirely holds up based on another of the most obvious loopholes in the Cons' lobbying scheme.

Based on the regulations designed by the Cons, if the government asks for input from a person or group, the resulting discussion doesn't count as lobbying. Which means that the Cons' lobbying rules serve mostly to impose additional obligations on anybody presenting a message they don't want to hear, while ensuring that their cronies can pitch and develop self-interested schemes at the Cons' invitation without having to disclose a word of it.

- In case there was any doubt, even the Cons' numbers confirm that corporate tax measures have been by far the least effective form of stimulus over the past several years - to the point where they feel obliged to include a vague footnote about their having "among the higher multiplier effects in the long run" to justify the obvious lack of near-term benefit. Notably missing, of course, is any actual comparison of the multiplier for any other type of investment.

- While I still take the view that a real defence of a coalition stands to benefit all opposition parties, John Geddes is right in noting that more talk of cooperative politics is ultimately a plus for the NDP:
The coalition issue remains so novel in Canada that how it might play out over a full campaign is impossible to predict. Public opinion turned against the concept in the fall of 2008, but a senior NDP campaign strategist says debate surrounding it could actually help them in an election. The NDP has long struggled against the reluctance of many voters to cast a ballot for a party that doesn’t stand much chance of winning. If the possibility of a coalition with the Liberals gains wider acceptance, the strategist says, then Layton’s platform will be have to be viewed more seriously as a potential part of that government policy. Winning outright won’t be everything anymore. Some NDP organizers hope that realization will force the media, and the public, to pay closer attention to Layton’s positions on the issues.
- Finally, Linda McQuaig highlights the glaring gap between the supposed need to give the wealthy everything they could think to ask for and more, and the expectation that everybody else will pitch in to make up the difference:
(W)hy is greed and love of money considered good in the case of a wealthy investor, while the wider desire for simply a decent living standard is increasingly considered an expectation that may have to be curbed in ordinary citizens?

As deficits pile up, we are soon to be inundated with the message that we are living beyond our means and must learn to do with less.

Certainly, our small wealthy super-elite seems determined to ensure that nothing gets in the way of its right to fully indulge its greed, and that the burden of deficit-reduction is imposed on others.
(T)here’s nothing “realistic” about the conclusion that the middle class — either here or in the U.S. — must learn to do with less, that we must accept a world where parents are forced to choose between affording their retirement and sending their kids to college.

Both Canada and the U.S. were deficit-free not long ago. Indeed, Canada was running major surpluses until the 2008 Wall Street crash sent the world economy reeling.

What is unsustainable is society’s willingness to accommodate the greed of the super-rich.
The solution isn’t to censor (Kevin O'Leary) and his billionaire friends, simply give them less air time and tell them, sweethearts, we’re just going to have to raise your taxes.

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