Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Evening Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Danny Dorling discusses the need for kindness among other attributes to bridge growing gaps in wealth and social status:
Gross inequality creates a lack of respect for the other group – people who are not like us. There is a lack of respect among the rich for the poor, and that will be the same among the poor for the rich. Lack of respect breeds cruelty and hate. Lack of respect is not new and has grown between groups many times before, over religion, race, nationality, social class, sex and sexuality. These older divisions all remain and can be easily reignited, resulting in cruelty and hate, fear, suffering and despair. However, nowadays it is financial inequality both globally and in the UK that is the greatest source of our separation from each other.
- Meanwhile, Yascha Mounk and Roberto Foa report on polling showing the U.S.' lack of trust in its democratic institutions - with an authoritarian streak developing particularly among the wealthy. Robert Reich traces the rise of Donald Trump's destructive politics to the insecurity of the hollowed-out middle class. And Jill Treanor points out how that gross income inequality is demotivating for workers.

- Joe Fantauzzi argues that Ontario should fund a desperately-needed infrastructure program with additional revenue from corporate taxes, rather than selling off public assets:
Given the potential counterproductive nature of privatizing public assets, as flagged by the Financial Accountability Officer of Ontario, the decision to go down that path by the current government is concerning. As well, the failure of past federal-provincial infrastructure funding schemes demands a change of the status quo. Put bluntly, those funding initiatives simply have not in the past and are not presently addressing Ontario’s infrastructure deficit in a meaningful way. That any increases to those federal-provincial programs are contingent on political will is also a drawback. New thinking is required to deal with Ontario’s infrastructure problem. I recommend that the federal government move to begin taxing Canadian overseas corporate assets currently held in tax shelters and share those confiscated revenues with the province of Ontario under the condition that the money be used exclusively for infrastructure spending. I also recommend that the joint provincial-federal rate of Ontario corporate taxation be increased to 2009 levels immediately. Further increases of the rate also need to be considered. Ultimately, a more aggressive tone is clearly needed by government with the Canadian corporate sector, which has demonstrably not fulfilled its end of the low tax bargain since the financial crisis began.
- Finally, Paul Schliesmann reports that Kingston's City Council has become the first elected body in Canada to formally endorse a basic income - and that it did so unanimously.

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