Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- David MacDonald studies the effect of the Cons' income-splitting scheme, and finds that it's oriented purely toward funnelling money toward the top of the income scale:
“Income splitting creates a tax loophole big enough to drive a Rolls Royce through. It’s pitched as a program for the middle class but in reality it’s an expensive tax gift for the rich,” says Macdonald. “The upper third of Canada’s richest families would receive $3 of every $4 spent on income splitting.”

The study finds seven out of ten senior families get no benefit at all from pension income splitting and the richest 10% of senior families receive more than the bottom 70% combined. The cost of pension income splitting for senior couples in 2015 is estimated at $1.7 billion ($1.2 billion federally and $500 million provincially). In contrast, it would cost $1.5 billion a year to lift all Canadian seniors out of poverty.

The study examines the Conservative plan to extend income splitting to families with children under 18 and finds:
  • 86% of all families would gain no benefit whatsoever from this tax loophole.
  • The richest 5% of families would see more benefit than the bottom 60% of families combined.
  • The bottom 60% of families would receive, on average, $50. The richest 5% of Canadian families — those making over $147,000 — would see an average benefit of $1,100.
  • This loophole would cost the federal government $3 billion in lost revenue and an additional $1.9 billion provincially — for a total revenue loss of $4.9 billion in 2015 alone.
- Ian Welsh offers up his four principles necessary for genuine prosperity - featuring fairness, kindness, generosity and a focus on the future as an antidote to the corporate attempt to make a virtue out of greed. Which leads to my further observation that we'd be better off with more Ian Welsh.

- Meanwhile, Paul Krugman observes that U.S. voters are starting to recognize their country's class structure (and to develop due skepticism about policies intended to further the concentration of wealth at the top). And Tim Hudak may be facing the same lesson, as his attacks on workers run into the reality that organized labour produces better outcomes for the population as a whole.

- But David Atkins notes that there's a long way to go in protecting workers' rights and well-being - and that the focus may need to include global treaties which remove any opportunity for employers to seek out havens for employee abuse:
The lesson should be obvious: the more international and legally binding the agreement, the more helpful it will be to workers in developing nations. The more expansive and multi-party the treaties are, the less competitive labor arbitrage risk will entail for any nation that improves factory conditions. Voluntary commitments from multinational corporations will do little to prevent the next tragedy.

Labor and worker protection agreements are in their infancy at the highest international levels. But with multinational corporations increasingly able to use labor arbitrage to manufacture products in nations with the weakest worker protections, the international community must take a stand in creating legally binding, global treaties that are proactive in nature, and carry negative trade consequences for those nations that choose to flout or ignore them.
- Finally, Jennifer Hollett talks about her political experience so far:

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