Thursday, June 04, 2015

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Genevieve LeBaron, Johanna Montgomerie, and Daniela Tepe-Belfrage write that inequality is getting worse in the UK based on class, gender and all kinds of other grounds, while a supposed "recovery" isn't benefiting anybody except the people who least need it:
(E)conomic policies associated with ‘recovery’ in the UK have deepened inequality and exclusion along the overlapping lines of class, gender, race, ability, age and sexuality. Sweeping welfare reforms, for instance, are disproportionately targeting women and low-income couples with children, with particularly dire consequences for single mothers. The newly imposed ‘bedroom tax’ – which has reduced housing benefits for thousands of tenants, while requiring many thousands more to transfer to smaller homes – has had especially devastating consequences for disabled tenants, who have lost homes adapted to support their disability.

One key reason that these social, financial, and emotional costs of recovery remain hidden is that the typically narrow focus on national level of debts, deficits, taxes and expenditure tends to overlook changes at the micro-level of the household and daily life. It is here that the human costs and broader social challenges of recovery become apparent. For many, rising hunger forces individuals and families to choose between heating and eating; employment has become so precarious and poorly paid that even those with jobs are struggling to pay bills; and still others are trapped in abusive forced labour relations, which have become endemic in certain UK industries.

In short, the UK’s economic ‘recovery’ has come at a high social, emotional and financial cost for those who can least afford it, while leaving the wealthy to stockpile ever-larger sums of cash. We can expect these tendencies to become even more pronounced under the deepening austerity agenda of the new Conservative government, unless a counter-narrative can elucidate the true human costs of this growth model and inspire action towards an alternative.
- Meanwhile, the New York Times finds that a strong majority of U.S. voters are looking at inequality as one of their top concerns for the 2016 election. And Sandy Garossino reports on Christy Clark's decision to set up permanent tax giveaways to B.C.'s richest few who can afford posh private schools, even as public education is slashed to the bone.

- CBC reports on the disproportionate number of women of aboriginal descent in Canadian prisons, while Max FineDay discusses the connection between the social determinants of health and the difficulties facing indigenous Canadians. But Shiri Pasternak and Anna Stanley note that the Cons are going out of their way to stack the deck even further against First Nations by cutting off support for their participation in consultation with developers, while funding industry to strengthen its hand.

- Canadian Doctors for Medicare summarizes new research showing how inadequate income and nutrition feed into health care costs. And Martin Regg Cohn rightly questions how we can claim to have a complete universal health care system without including pharmacare.

- Finally, Jesse Brown reports that at least one RCMP officer has made it abundantly clear to peaceful protesters that they stand to be labeled as terrorists under C-51. Ed Broadbent argues that it isn't too late to fight back against the Cons' terror tactics. And Steve Sullivan writes that even some of Stephen Harper's ideological allies are doing just that.

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