Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Alan Freeman notes that the Libs' aversion to raising public revenue may lock in some of the Cons' most damaging actions:
With the new Liberal government facing fierce economic headwinds — plus a billion-dollar shortfall created by its middle-income tax cut, and a growing need for revenue to cover promised spending on everything from infrastructure and veterans to First Nations and refugees — it would seem logical to at least mull the possibility of raising the GST.

That appeared to be what Finance Minister Bill Morneau was doing earlier this week when he gave a convoluted response to a journalist that was interpreted as opening the possibility to a GST hike sometime in the future.

Within hours — probably after a panicked call from the Prime Minister’s Office — Morneau tweeted a climbdown of his own: “Contrary to misleading headlines, we are not considering changes to the GST.”

What Morneau made clear is that the Liberals are scared to death of being slammed as tax-grabbers by the Conservatives. While much of the Harper legacy is being scrapped — his obstinate refusal to take action on climate change, his surly, tough-guy foreign policy — the anti-tax mantra lives on.

It’s notable that the first thing on Parliament’s to-do list after the Liberals’ election win was the middle-class tax cut. The Liberals want Canadians to believe that the government’s tax burden (except on the super-rich) can continue to decline as it has since 2000.
- Eric Jaffe reports on new research showing how social deprivation can keep children from meeting their potential for intellectual development. And the Globe and Mail argues that Quebec should be honest about any plans to eliminate a high-quality, public child care system in favour of pushing parents toward more expensive private care.

- Andrea Germanos reports on the latest Human Development Index rankings which show Norway at the top of the pack.

- And in what may not be a coincidence as to the importance of respect for workers in generating shared prosperity, the ILO highlights Norway's leadership in ratifying a new protocol against forced labour among other conventions protecting labour rights. And Edward Keenan discusses the different sides of a gig economy - and notes that the 1% may be confusing its own ability to engage in highly-paid consulting with the reality facing precarious workers.

- Finally, Branko Milanovic offers a theory as to the limits in how much worse income inequality could get in the U.S.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:58 p.m.

    You said that the Liberals have an aversion to raising taxes. You can add the N.D.P.
    In the Globe and Mail debate in the election, Tom Mulcair said:

    "The NDP is categorical. We will not be raising taxes on individual Canadians. We are going to be asking Canadian large corporations to start paying their fair share. They’re the only Canadians who don’t right now. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper are of one mind. They thought that dropping their taxes by tens of billions of dollars, way below that of our close trading partners, was a good idea; it hasn’t been. But when we do raise it, it’ll be reasonably, and it’ll still be way below what it was under the Liberals, and it’ll even be below the average of what it’s been under the Conservatives.
    We’re also going to make sure that we close some tax loopholes, like the stock option tax loophole brought in by the Liberals, which actually will ensure that people are effectively paying more, not a theoretical amount where they have all these loopholes that they can fall back on. With regard to the difference between the Liberals and us, it’s true the Liberals want to raise individuals’ personal income taxes. The NDP won’t do that. I don’t think it’s fair that someone looking at their pay stub is going to see that 58.75 percent is already gone in income tax. That will be the result of Mr. Trudeau’s plan."
    (in Maclean's website)