Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- No, it isn't much surprise that poll respondents may think we've moved to the right as a country: after all, Con propaganda (largely echoed by the media) has been declaring that for years. But as Warren Kinsella notes, that perception bears no resemblance whatsoever to Canadians' opinions about actual issues.

- Thomas Walkom points out the glaring gap between what Don Drummond rightly suggested should be done in allocating, and what his recommendations would actually do:
Don Drummond, Ontario’s adviser on everything, says the harsh government spending cuts he wants must be seen as fair to succeed — they must hit everyone.

In fact, they almost certainly won’t. The well-off will fare better than the poor and middle class. Public sector employees will be hit harder than those in the private sector.

Groups with political clout — such as the multinational pharmaceutical firms that charge prices Drummond deems too high — are sure to successfully resist proposals that they share the pain. They’ve done so before.
That the rich will fare best under Drummond is true by definition.

The well-to-do depend less on government programs than the poor and middle class. That is a fact. Drummond’s call for government to roll back the Ontario Child Benefit will hurt poor families who receive the subsidy. It will not affect the rich who do not.

Nor are the wealthy being asked to chip in through higher progressive taxes. Drummond did advocate that some taxes, including those on property and gasoline, be hiked. He even wants a special tax (he calls it a user fee) levied on rural parents who bus their children to school.

But these kinds of regressive taxes hit the poor and middle class proportionally harder than the rich. A surtax on high-income earners could correct that bias. But Premier Dalton McGuinty specifically told Drummond to stay away from such remedies.
- pogge wonders how ministers with no clue what's in the bills they're demagoguing about fit into the Mostly Competent Government promised of the Cons. And Dr. Dawg anticipates what's coming next on the legislative front.

- Finally, Stephen Maher and Don Martin are among the latest commentators to criticize the Cons' obsession with online surveillance. And the Ottawa Citizen notes that at least some parts of the Cons' bill - though not the most galling ones - can be traced directly to legislation introduced by the Martin Libs.

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