Friday, January 03, 2014

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ryan Meili highlights the need for a plan to address poverty - rather than the customary bromides about a rising tide lifting all boats:
Elimination of poverty requires more than a growing economy; it requires a dedicated plan. When more jobs are available, some people’s living conditions improve quickly. However, the accompanied increase in cost of living can send some families into deeper poverty than before, a rising tide that swamps the smaller craft. And that continued and deepening poverty costs us all dearly.

As most provinces have realized (all but BC and Saskatchewan have introduced comprehensive poverty reduction plans), poverty doesn’t just go away on its own. Those provinces that have dedicated resources and meaningful measures have seen that investment pay off in significantly fewer people living in poverty, and decreased costs as a result.
- Meanwhile, Amy Goodman interviews Letitia James about the new gilded age of inequality. And Zoe Williams points out that free-market zealotry tends to lead to higher expenses for the people who can least afford to pay them:
(T)his is merely part of a pattern; it even has a name, The Poor Pay More, and has been an observable sociological pattern since 1967, when it was systematised by sociologist David Caplovitz. You can see it in the £2 courgettes from those same convenience stores, in the unit price of energy for those paying on a meter, in the astonishing fact that the poorest decile pays the most tax...

And there's the point – where you have no options, you get ripped off. It is in the nature of the market dynamic that the buyer's power resides in two places: first, not especially wanting the product, and second, being able to go elsewhere for it.

When your need is high and your options are few, you are essentially going to the table not just with a poor hand, but the wrong number of cards; you're going to get fleeced.
- After promising not to cut tax enforcement, the Cons are doing just that - presumably in the hope that once they've sufficiently hacked away at the public service, there will be nobody left who can tell the difference between the "more" auditors promised and the "less" actually employed. 

- Finally, Dave offers an all-too-convincing take on how Stephen Harper views the Canadian public - and what that means for the prospect that he'd voluntarily step away from power.

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