Saturday, December 05, 2015

Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Jacqueline Davidson offers a personal account of the experience of living in poverty, including the need to rely on charity to make up for constantly-unmet needs. And Alana Semuels discusses how single mothers in particular have no choice but to rely on social connections to make up for the absence of both public supports and viable employment opportunities.

- Meredith Dost points out that there's strong support for a basic income and poverty relief even among U.S. Republicans who actually face low incomes for themselves - meaning that it's only the wealthier wing of a single party blocking a popular desire for improved social supports. And Sean McElwee comments on new research showing how voter disengagement allows that minority to control Congress.

- Dan Darrah writes that Canada is losing out due to our lack of proper corporate tax enforcement:
 We've almost always been soft on business. Canadian "welfare capitalism" has been around since the 19th century -- think John A. Macdonald's National Policy, which helped line the pockets of commercial interests through the production of the Canadian-Pacific Railway. James Ondrick argued in his fantastic thesis paper "The Erosion of Elite Accommodation" that elite interests -- especially business groups -- have enjoyed a very privileged treatment from the feds, and Canadians have accepted this practice as "legitimate."

We've accepted that well-positioned corporate interests are a part of the "public policy process," Ondrick argues. We respond to these political machinations not with protest, but with one gigantic, seismic nod.

Canada even has the lowest corporate tax rate in the G7.

So, maybe the question is, "have the politicians gone too soft?"

The Canadians for Tax Fairness (CTF) estimated that companies operating in Canada in 2014 held over $199 billion in "assets" -- unpaid taxes -- in havens like Barbados and the Cayman Islands. A grilling Oxfam report found that Canada is one of the biggest "losers" of corporate tax revenue. The "winner" countries are the ones with low-to-none corporate income tax, such as Bermuda, as well as the super-rich.
Giving the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) some power to pry into corporate pocketbooks would be a great start, as would be creating anti-avoidance legislation like the kind being explored in the U.K.

It would surely take some moxie, but for good reason. The not-so-new cash could also be injected into crumbling municipal infrastructure, underfunded healthcare facilities, improved settlement services for soon-to-be arriving Syrian refugees, or perhaps the very ambitious platform Trudeau is now charged with implementing. An easy $199 billion more bones in the federal coffers might ease the stress of doing so.

If not for the revenue, the government should crack down on principle: Canadian taxpayers have been pulling their weight since the first income tax was levied in 1917. Corporations should be, too.
- Tony Burman highlights the connection between climate change and global insecurity. And Tabatha Southey offers a handy classification system for climate-change deniers.

- Finally, Donna Baines and Pat Armstrong offer a survey of options for long-term care which deserve a close look at home.

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