Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Miles Corak argues for a "second-chance" society to make up for the damaging effects of inequality - though I'd argue that while he has the principle exactly right, it's worth defining it as "no person left behind" to avoid any suggestion that people have a limited number of chances:
Canadians need to build a “second chance” society so that the consequences of bad luck or bad choices don’t matter as much.

There is a whole host of ways our social programs built up in an era of stable and steady job growth need to be refitted for a polarized labour market hard-wired to generate inequalities. We don’t just need unemployment insurance, as much as we need “wage” insurance that will top up the earnings of someone with a long work history who is laid-off and forced to take a lower paying job.

We don’t just need quality education, but also full tuition relief through income-contingent loans that tailor repayments and forgiveness to a graduate’s income. Rather than strapping them to low paying jobs to pay-off debts, they need to be given the room to drop back into school to get a different diploma or degree.

We don’t just need infrastructure as make-work or to maintain our bridges, roads, and sewers, but also as social infrastructure to enhance all of our lives, regardless of our incomes: transportation networks that work, housing, neighbourhoods, and parks that buck the market tendency to segregate and separate.

But the final ingredient of Canada’s success needs to be nurtured no less than the twins of social investment and social insurance. That, of course, is a sense of identity that values and even fosters diversity, where newcomers not only “integrate” but the mainstream also bends, adapts, and redefines itself. A broad sense of citizenship, and a culture of community and sharing are all the more important now in an era of inequality.

Ultimately the most corrosive dimension of inequality is that it feeds a sense of entitlement among the lucky, and a sense of shame among the unlucky, and this perverts our long run capacity to collectively invest, support, and care for ourselves and our children. This is the deepest foundation of social mobility in Canada, and something that we should continue to celebrate and value, but also something that we need to continue to nurture.
- Meanwhile, Leah Askarinam writes about the positive results when low-income parents are able to go back to school.

- Mitchell Anderson argues that we should treat real estate as a public resource, while Rob Carrick writes that the promise of homeownership as a source of economic security has proven false for far too many Canadians. And on that front, Luke Kawa reports on Canada's soaring private debt - which is particularly stark in comparison to the U.S. in light of its well-documented real estate bubbles.

- Finally, Citizens for Public Justice offers its suggestions for the federal budget - with a strong focus on both reducing poverty, and tackling climate change. And Jacqueline Howard points out that Canada's Prairies represent one of the regions which stands to be affected most as our climate changes.

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