Monday, February 04, 2013

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday morning reading.

- Sixth Estate is the latest to weigh in on Statistics Canada's findings about inequality:
Progressive taxes are based on the idea that the more money you earn, the more you spend on unnecessary luxuries. Poor people therefore have very low tax rates because the bulk of their income is (or should be) spent on absolutely necessary items: food, clothing, and shelter. Wealthy people have higher tax rates because the bulk of their income is available for discretionary spending. Losing 50% of $1 million per year isn’t remotely as painful as losing 50% of $10,000 per year.

Except that in Canada, the progressive taxation system has clearly been left behind. Over the past 30 years, the income of the top 1% nearly quadrupled, but their tax rate did not increase. The bottom 90% merely doubled, and their tax rate slightly decreased. The most explosive gains were won by the top 0.01% — an elite club which saw their income quintuple since 1982, even as their tax rate actually declined from a peak rate of 46% in 1994 to just 35% today. Some burden!
- And even the Conference Board of Canada can tell there's a problem with poverty and inequality that needs to be addressed:
Linked to inequality is Canada’s high poverty rate, which ranks among the worst of the 17 countries the report looks at.

Canada’s child poverty rate is 15.1 per cent, up from 12.8 per cent in the mid-1990s, earning a ‘C’ ranking – only the U.S. ranked lower. Working-age poverty was 11.1 per cent, up from 9.4 per cent in the late 1990s – the ‘D’ ranking Canada received was the same as the U.S. and Japan.

The Conference Board calls Canada’s rate of child poverty “unacceptable,” and says action needs to be taken.

“Poor children do not eat well, do not learn well and have low chances of escaping poverty when they grow up,” Lafleur said.
- Gaius Publius looks in detail at the evidence showing austerity helps nobody (except a few predatory elites who are more interested in distancing themselves from the masses than any social or personal good). And Paul Adams points out that it's long past time to move past Paul Martin's all-too-successful effort to claim that manageable deficits are a worse outcome than poverty and lost opportunity.

- Finally, Mike Duffy's sad attempt to create a Prince Edward Island paper trail in order to hang onto his Senate seat would be a damning blow to any chamber with a good name to preserve. But who wants to bet that his fellow Con patronage appointees will do anything but circle the wagons around him?

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