Monday, June 01, 2015

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Janelle Vandergrift reminds us that we should see ourselves as participating citizens, not mere taxpayers:
Taxes are a way to pool our resources and develop common infrastructure that can have a positive impact on us all. They build our roads and bridges, pay for our police and firefighters, offer support for raising children, provide income security and housing for people who are poor, contribute to foreign aid, and help to ensure our environment is clean and safe. All of these things are much cheaper and effective when we pay for them collectively. The taxes paid by previous generation benefits us today and the taxes we pay will hopefully benefit the generations of tomorrow.

"Taxes for the Common Good," a recent report from Citizens for Public Justice, summarizes up-to-date information on the costs and opportunities afforded by various federal tax policy options. It highlights the positive role taxes play in a democratic society.

Lower taxes are often promoted as the solution to all social problems, but rarely do we hear the risks. We don't hear about the good of programs paid for with tax dollars. We often forget the fact that we are the ones who benefit from the services and infrastructure that tax dollars provide. For more than two-thirds of Canadians, the benefit received from public services is equal to more than half their incomes. Corporations, who have seen record profits while their tax rates have fallen to record lows, benefit from our common infrastructure, too. They benefit from our stable economy and government, our roads and bridges, and from workers who have been educated in our schools. Yet, it seems that few are asking what is the real cost of tax cuts or who pays the price.
- Louis-Philippe Rochon nicely summarizes why we shouldn't believe austerity economics for a second - though we shouldn't kid ourselves into thinking that the Cons and their political cousins won't still continue to push it to the exclusion of any positive social development. And Thomas Walkom talks to the Democrats' chief economist on the U.S. Senate budget committee about the futility of obsessing over deficits when economic conditions cry out for public investment.

- Michelle McQuigge reports that the Cons are once again going out of their way to turn citizenship into something which can be stripped away at the whim of a government looking to fabricate enemies.

- Claire Cain Miller writes that a work culture which expects employees to be available around the clock leaves little room for families to be functional. But Bryce Covert points out that paid paternity leave would work wonders to ensure that women aren't penalized in their career prospects for having children - both in its direct effect on families' choices, and in its broader effect on work culture.

- Finally, Harry Leslie Smith comments on the absurdity of trying to replace with politics oriented solely in implausible aspirations. And for those looking forward to Smith's upcoming Canadian event series, the Broadbent Institute has details here.

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