Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne discusses Jordan Brennan's research showing that corporate tax cuts have done nothing to help economic growth (but all too much to exacerbate inequality). And Andrew Jackson sets out the main fiscal choice the Libs will have to make in determining whether to keep going down the same path:
(T)he Liberal platform also envisaged temporary deficits to finance higher spending on social programs such as child benefits, a higher Guaranteed Income Supplement for single seniors, public health care, child care and First Nations programs, and did not increase overall federal tax revenues. The proceeds of the new top income tax rate will be recycled entirely into a proposed so-called middle class tax cut which in fact heavily favours the top 10% and weill not even cover the cost of the middle class tax cut.

Progressives will be expecting the government to deliver on its ambitious social agenda, and will note that this could be easily funded on the revenue side by implementing a modest corporate tax increase, by scaling back the so-called middle class tax cut, and by setting more ambitious targets for the promised Liberal review of tax loopholes for the most affluent. Meanwhile, business Liberals, perhaps including Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, will likely be pushing for less social spending than promised in the platform in order to balance the books on the original schedule.

Platforms are crafted to win elections, but governments must make real choices. The Liberal government should stick to its spending promises, but this will require some adjustment to their taxation plans and stated fiscal goals.
- Meanwhile, even to the extent one wants to presume that the Libs were bound to offer tax cuts of some sort, John Geddes notes that one focused on the lowest income tax bracket would produce far more equitable results.

- Deirdre Fulton comments on the hollowing-out of the U.S.' middle class. The Economist weighs in on the UK Cons' attempts to define child poverty out of existence. And Bethany Farr writes that a strong majority of the UK public considers it important to take action to ensure people have access to food - though sadly their government disagrees.

- Sara Mojtehedazeh exposes how Ontario's provincial government (like far too many others) is contributing to the culture of precarious work in its own hiring practices. And in case we needed more indication that the commercialization of government is based on ideology rather than evidence, CBC reports on Saskatchewan Auditor Judy Ferguson's findings that the Wall government hasn't lifted a finger to measure the effects of the "lean" program it's imposing across the public sector.

- Finally, Bryan Thomas and Colleen Flood write that if we want to improve our health care system, the answer lies in modernizing public structures, not selling out to private ones.

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