Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Michael Kraus, Shai Davidai and A. David Nussbaum discuss the myth of social mobility in the U.S. And Nicholas Kristof writes that inequality is a choice rather than an inevitability:
Yet while we broadly lament inequality, we treat it as some natural disaster imposed upon us. That’s absurd. The roots of inequality are complex and, to some extent, reflect global forces, but they also reflect our policy choices.

In his new book, “The Great Divide,” Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, includes two chapters whose titles sum it up: “Inequality Is Not Inevitable” and “Inequality Is a Choice.”

“I overheard one billionaire — who had gotten his start in life by inheriting a fortune — discuss with another the problem of lazy Americans who were trying to free ride on the rest,” Stiglitz writes. “Soon thereafter, they seamlessly transitioned into a discussion of tax shelters.”

Say what?

We as a nation have chosen to prioritize tax shelters over minimum wages, subsidies for private jets over robust services for children to break the cycle of poverty. And the political conversation is often not about free rides by corporations, but about free rides by the impoverished.
- Sean Illing duly calls out David Brooks' attempt to paint the effects of systemic poverty as personal moral failings. And Jason Silverstein notes that racial health disparities have everything to do with social conditions rather than genetics.

- Anita Burke comments that we should be embarrassed by the pathetic response to the English Bay oil spill and resulting environmental damage. But Stanley Tromp reports that the spill didn't tell the U.S. anything it didn't know, as it's been concerned about the Cons' neglect of the possible effects of marine oil spills for years.

- Meanwhile, Dean Beeby reports that the Sierra Club is just the latest environmental group coming under attack by the CRA.

- Adrian Morrow reports on polling showing that Ontarians want nothing to do with the Wynne Libs' privatization schemes. And rightly not, given how a similar plan to shuffle funding into corporate profits rather than the public interest is harming public transportation safety in Ontario and Saskatchewan alike.

- Finally, Jonathan Goldsbie offers another take on George Lakoff's advice to progressives in framing political messages.

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