Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Babad writes that we should be glad to see jobs being created in the public sector since the private sector is doing nothing to offer opportunities for Canadians. And Andrew Jackson discusses how Quebec's progressive economic model has served it well, while offering an example which other provinces should be eager to follow.

- Konrad Yakabuski weighs in on the need for pharmacare to make an essential element of health care universally accessible. But while Brent Patterson agrees that we should be pursuing pharmacare, he also warns that ill-advised trade agreements may complicate its implementation.

- BJ Siekierski points out that two top Statistics Canada officials see our economic problems as revolving primarily around the working class rather than the middle class, while PressProgress finds even Harper loyalists questioning an income splitting scheme designed to benefit those who need its least. And Paul Rosenberg discusses the challenges of fighting back against voodoo economics:
“The problem with our politics is President Obama and the people who surround him, don’t represent an alternative to trickle down economics, they are trickle-down-lite,” Hanauer told me. “They’re sort of kinder-and-gentler trickle-down economics. They can talk a little bit about the importance of the middle class, but, in my opinion, they haven’t quite seen clearly that they’ve gotten cause-and-effect reversed. They still think that a thriving middle class is an effect of growth, a consequence of growth, and the truth is in a technological, modern economy, a thriving middle class is the cause of growth…. The middle class creates rich people, not the other way around.”

This used to be well-understood by everyone. During America’s long post-World War II boom, the incomes of all levels growing approximately equally—though slightly slower at the very top. “That’s how you sustain virtuous cycle of increasing returns which capitalism can be. Capitalism can be constructed in a way so that everyone does better all the time. It’s a beautiful thing,” Hanauer said. “But if the power dynamics change in really extreme ways, as they have in the last 30 years, and all of the value of enterprise is sucked out by a few owners and the senior managers, then you basically killed the goose that layed the golden egg.” That’s what stock buybacks are all about.
- The CP reports that even the Calgary Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the vast amounts of resource wealth wasted by the province of Alberta.

- Finally, Chris Chambers reports on Amnesty International's polling into the effects of mass surveillance - which show both relatively little support for a Big Brother state, and a high risk that people will be reluctant to access needed information when it's in place. And Nora Lamontagne and Justin Ling offer a must-read on the massive waste of time and resources poured into infiltrating and investigating a small group of Quebec leftists.

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