Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Citizens for Public Justice provides a useful set of fact sheets on the importance of tax revenues in funding a civilized society. And Daphne Bramham follows up with a look at what we've lost from tax cuts - and the public demand for more tax fairness:
Tax cuts during the past decade have meant that $45 billion has been trimmed from government spending and programs each year since 2006 and almost 30,000 jobs have been lost.

One reason Canadians willingly pay taxes is they believe it’s a fair system. But as the fact sheets point out, the system has been skewed for the past 15 years. It’s not so much by the tax rates themselves; it’s because of two other changes. The first are what the group calls “boutique tax credits” and deductions that favour middle- and upper-income earners.

The second is a shift to regressive taxes such as sales tax, property tax and fees that disadvantage low-income earners.

It’s at the point where some middle- and high-income earners now pay a lower percentage of tax than some of the poorest families, according to research by the OECD.
The idea behind those tax cuts was that the money would be invested in improvements and upgrades or hiring more people. But that didn’t happen. Most of the money has gone into bank accounts.

When corporate taxes fell to record lows between 2000 and 2014, total cash reserves of private, non-financial corporations increased nearly 370 per cent to $673.5 billion, according to Statistics Canada.

So it’s hardly surprising that recent polls indicate that nearly three-quarters of Canadians support raising corporate tax rates.
- Digby highlights some of the Republicans' more recent efforts to demonize and attack the poor. And concerted attempts to dehumanize the poor only figure to exacerbate the "inverse care law" - which, as Julian Tudor Hart points out, results in a pattern of market-based health care services being least available where they're most needed.

- Ella Bedard writes that insecure and precarious work is the new normal. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the barely-existent help Ontario workers receive when they report employer abuses.

- Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew nicely boil down the Trans-Pacific Partnership's dangers for Canada. And C. Robert Gibson and Taylor Channing expose the business sector's efforts to buy U.S. Senate votes to wave the TPP through.

- Finally, Brent Patterson reminds us that public participation is key to the election results we want - particularly given the Cons' focus on suppressing turnout. And Bob Hepburn writes about Mel Hurtig's efforts to push for a change from continued Harper government.

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