Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bruce Johnstone points out that one can't justify Stephen Harper's gross dereliction of duty in addressing greenhouse gas emissions based on any system of principles other than climate change denialism. And Tony Burman criticizes the Cons for burying their heads in the oil sands, while pointing out that we have plenty of work to do as citizens to replace them with leaders who actually contribute to the most important crisis facing humanity.

- Meanwhile, Jeremy Nuttall reports on the NDP's work to stop damaging the planet in the name of unfettered resource extraction - this time focusing on Nathan Cullen's bill to stop tankers from operating off British Columbia's north coast.

- Paul Krugman reminds us why concentrated top-end wealth doesn't actually result in improved lives even for the few who take a perpetually larger share of our resources:
If you feel that it’s bad for society to have people flaunting their relative wealth, you have in effect accepted the view that great wealth imposes negative externalities on the rest of the population — which is an argument for progressive taxation that goes beyond the maximization of revenue.

And one more thing: think about what this says about economic growth. We have an economy that has become considerably richer since 1980, but with a large share of the gains going to people with very high incomes — people for whom the marginal utility of a dollar’s worth of spending is not only low, but comes largely from status competition, which is a zero-sum game. So a lot of our economic growth has simply been wasted, doing nothing but accelerating the pace of the upper-income rat race.
- Neil Irwin chimes in on the sad reality that any economic growth in the U.S. is being skimmed off the top by the wealthiest 10% - meaning that the vast majority of workers and citizens don't have anything to gain from corporatist policies even if they did (contrary to all evidence) contribute to GDP growth. And Jennifer Erickson discusses the middle class squeeze which has seen costs rise even as incomes stagnate or fall.

- Finally, PressProgress exposes how the Harper Cons' belief in the magical effect of corporate tax slashing has proven utterly false in reality. And Truthout makes the case for finally repudiating trickle-down economics in favour of policies designed to improve citizens' lives, while Joe Gunn contrasts our options in reducing either poverty or tax rates.

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