Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your pre-debate reading.

- Dave connects a few more dots as to who's behind Robocon. Guy Giorno helpfully acknowledges that the Cons were supposed to have business-style processes to avoid the exact kind of electoral fraud that's been discovered across Canada - signalling both that they're indeed on the hook for any illegality in their midst, and that they seem to have followed the familiar corporate pattern of prioritizing immediate profit over mere trifles such as legality or human decency. Susan Riley wonders whether Robocon will have much staying power, but I tend to think Warren Kinsella is right in theorizing that it will - particularly as the Cons desperately try to cover up facts which are bound to come to light as the next federal election approaches even when a bit more willingness to acknowledge reality might serve both they and the country better in the long run.

- Erin points out some good economic news which shows that matters are getting somewhat better despite corporate tax slashing rather than because of it. And Paul Krugman continues to expose the completely contradictory claims about corporate taxes which are alternately used by corporate apologists to suggest either that the wealthiest already pay their fair share, or that the brunt of any taxes is felt entirely by workers.

- Which leads nicely to Marc Zwelling's commentary as to how we need to reframe discussion of taxes:
The correct way to talk about taxes is to tie them to the services taxes deliver and the outcomes they generate. Say taxes and services in the same breath. For instance:

* In a Vector Poll™ in 2010, 57 percent favoured more government spending for health care "even if it means higher taxes."

* 56 percent in an Angus Reid Public Opinion survey this year agreed that "even if it means increasing taxes" the federal government "has an important role to play to redistribute the wealth and intervene in the economy." Some 36 percent disagreed, and 8 percent were unsure.

* Despite the Right's 30 years of anti-tax rhetoric, six in 10 people (63 percent) in a 2010 Vector Poll™ say they would rather have good public services even if it costs more in taxes, not lower taxes "if public services are not as good" (37 percent).

Arch-conservatives will continue shrieking about taxes the way the Puritans talked about the Salem witches. But there's no excuse for progressive people to help the Right with burning at the stake.
- Finally, Martin Regg Cohn nicely highlights the absurdity of Alison Redford demanding that Ontario take its side in promoting the tar sands over any other economic development. And that pressure combined with the Cons' service to the oil industry in refusing to work with anybody who might raise concerns about pipeline construction and oil tanker traffic (even with donated money) only amplifies Bruce Livesey's concern that petrotyranny isn't far down the road.

1 comment:

  1. Dan Tan1:35 p.m.

    The conclusion of Zwelling's article touches on a fundamental issue in broader North American politics.

    Neo-conservatives have successfully bypassed those cited polling numbers by appealing to resentment. When they find one imperfection in a program, they rage against it in apocalyptic terms. But more importantly, they tie it into a larger narrative: "Your life sucks because of the government - here's but one example!".

    That strategy is only successful because progressives believe the actual issue is "that one example". They study it feverishly, responding in apologetic & academic tones. Of course, they fail to realize the actual game being played. Even if "that one example" is addressed, the "larger narrative" proposed by neo-conservatives stands unchallenged...only getting reinforced over time.

    It's part of a broader problem of progressives forgetting the broad appeal of rage, simplicity, & tribe thinking (sometimes called populism). There is no shame in embracing these ingredients of communication when the underlying facts & reasoning are sound.

    As Zwelling implies, progressive politicians need to simply boast about the benefits of government action to the tribe. But more importantly, they need to channel apocalyptic rage to where it truly belongs: corrupt lobbyists & traiterous industrialists who oppose Canadian-based industry & worker wealth.