Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Philip Berger and Lisa Simon discuss the health and social benefits of a guaranteed annual income:
At the community level, poverty also has deep and lasting impacts — some visible, some not. We've seen these visible impacts in Simcoe County Ontario, where one of us works. One in four single-parent families experience moderate or severe food insecurity at some point every year. A family of four receiving Ontario Works would have to spend 93% of their monthly after-tax income on rent and nutritious food alone, leaving little remaining for all other necessary expenses.

We see the population health impacts too, where those living in the fifth of neighbourhoods with the lowest income had a death rate from preventable causes more than 50% higher than those living in the fifth of neighbourhoods with the highest income. Self-rated mental and physical health were also significantly worse among those living in the low-income neighbourhoods.

None of this is surprising, given the strong impact that income has on health at all ages, demonstrated over decades of research. For example, it has come to be understood that the experience of poverty in early childhood can lead to what is termed "toxic stress", with profound implications for physical and mental health from childhood to adulthood.
In addition to providing an effective policy response to poverty and inequality, a basic income guarantee would be a key societal support in the face of rising precarious employment in Canada. Given the trend towards fewer opportunities for secure, permanent jobs providing living wages and benefits, a basic income guarantee could help to buffer the effects of precarious employment by protecting people from slipping into poverty during challenging times.
- Meanwhile, Bryce Covert discusses how citizens can get trapped in neighbourhoods facing concentrated poverty - and how we all stand to gain from avoiding that type of concentration.And Emily Badger contrasts the depth and concentration of poverty by race.

- The Star calls for a crackdown on temp agencies who serve to eliminate stable jobs in favour of precarious ones.

- Zoe Williams argues that Jeremy Corbyn is offering a needed antidote to austerian politics.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg reminds us about Stephen Harper's broken promises surrounding the Senate, while Paul McLeod and Emma Loop expose his plan to take complete control of the supposedly-independent upper chamber. And James Sprague points out that Harper's long campaign may result in his losing the parliamentary privilege which would otherwise shield him from being required to testify in the Mike Duffy trial.

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