Thursday, May 08, 2014

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Michael Hiltzik points out new research showing that business-focused policies do nothing at all to encourage any positive economic outcomes: in fact, a higher rating from ALEC for low-tax, low-regulation government correlates to less economic growth. But Kevin Drum highlights what the corporate agenda is really intended to accomplish:
(A)lthough a high ALEC-Laffer ranking may not stimulate any actual growth, does correspond to reduced taxes on the wealthy and slashed spending on state services that benefit the poor and working class. In other words, it may not affect growth, but it sure is a good deal for the rich. And that's what counts, isn't it?
- Meanwhile, the corporate lobby seems to have long since decided that truth and falsehood are irrelevant as long as one can afford to drown out competing voices. On that front, Donald Gutstein discusses how former tobacco shills are now being funded by the Fraser Institute to shout down any effort to encourage healthy eating and combat obesity - and receiving nothing but free, unquestioning publicity from the media for their efforts. Similarly, Barrie McKenna dutifully transcribes the request of the big three telecoms to avoid the type of competition which provides consumers with a fair deal in selecting phone and wireless service.

- Fortunately, at least one media outlet is a bit more questioning of corporate choices, as CBC's Don Pittis lists a few of the reasons why business interests are standing in the way of meaningful action on climate change.

- Richard Eskow wonders why more political voices aren't fighting to protect public services and the workers who provide them:
The facts are these: Given the growth of the population, stagnating wages, persistent long-term unemployment, and a host of other factors, we should be adding twice as many jobs per month as we are currently seeing. Instead, government – the one area of our economic life over which politicians have direct control – is shedding jobs instead of adding them. This worsens the overall economy while depriving the public of much-needed government services.

What’s more, the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that it will take $3.6 trillion to restore our nation’s infrastructure. We need the jobs, and the infrastructure needs repair. The president and his party should be hammering the message home every day: we need government jobs, and we need them now.

President Obama should be fighting to preserve current public-sector jobs and create new ones. Instead he’s given to repeatedly boasting, as he does in his latest budget proposal, about the fact that under his proposal “discretionary spending will fall to its lowest level as a share of the economy in more than 50 years.”

That’s nothing to brag about – and it’s the wrong message at the wrong time.
- Carol Goar writes that a higher-cost, lower-service Canada Post is receiving a chilly reception from businesses and citizens alike - again raising the question of why the Cons insisted on that approach rather than allowing a postal bank to provide more for less.

- Finally, Andrew Coyne writes that debates should be given a far more prominent - and legally-entrenched - place in election campaigns.

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