Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Afternoon Links

Content goes here.

- Linda McQuaig highlights the reasons for the increasingly large gap between the super-rich and the rest of us:
Common sense tells us it’s wrong that hedge fund manager John Paulson made $3.7 billion in 2007, while a typical nurse earned about $45,000.

Paulson made his billions by betting against the subprime mortgage market, helping trigger the 2008 financial collapse. In what moral universe is he worth as much as a single nurse — let alone 82,000 nurses?

Our tolerance for this sort of absurd discrepancy illustrates our abject submission to the dictates of modern economic doctrine. According to this economic dogma, Paulson’s income — just like the income of a nurse — is determined by natural market forces, and any attempt to adjust incomes amounts to meddlesome interference in the free workings of the marketplace.

It’s a doctrine which has been good for Paulson, and others who dominate the financial and corporate world, while helping to keep nurses — and women in general — much lower down the income pecking order.

But, in fact, there’s nothing natural or innate about the marketplace. The so-called “free market” is nothing more than a set of laws devised by humans.

Change the laws, and you end up distributing income very differently.
- Paul Wells' debate wrapup doesn't draw any strong conclusions, but notes that Stephen Harper and the Cons seem to have figured out that their coalition argument is a losing one once it faces the slightest challenge:
Perhaps the most agile combatant onstage was Layton. The polls so far suggest he’s in some danger of losing seats and declining in his share of the popular vote, for the first time since he became NDP leader in 2003. Here he was able to act out the role he claims is his: more principled than Ignatieff in his opposition to Harper, yet somehow better able to work with any party that wants to play. “Mr. Harper thinks the idea of people working together is somehow a bad idea,” he said. “He calls it names.”

The name Layton referred to was “coalition,” the spectre Harper has preferred to brandish at every stop. Oddly, Harper didn’t talk about a coalition here until an hour into the debate, and only then in response to accusations from Duceppe and Layton, who said Harper was perfectly happy to scheme with them in 2004 against Paul Martin.

Harper has lately talked a little less about a formal, contract-on-paper “coalition” to usurp the power he feels is his, and a little more about some looser arrangement of opposition parties against him. That saps his argument’s ability to scare but increases its plausibility. Duceppe turns out to be a keen student of parliamentary democracy: “When you say that the party with the most seats forms the government,” the Bloc leader reminded Harper, “you forgot something: that party has to have the confidence of the House, with the Speech from the Throne. Otherwise, there is no democracy at all.”
- Meanwhile, CBC's At Issue panel reviews the debates as well - with all comers agreeing that the NDP has positioned itself nicely for the rest of the campaign to come.

- And finally, Greg highlights the Cons' selective outrage over special ballots - even as they've succeeded in shutting down the preferred means of enabling students to vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment