Saturday, October 01, 2016

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- In The Public Interest studies how the privatization of services leads to increased inequality:
In the Public Interest’s analysis of recent government contracting identifies five ways in which government privatization disproportionately hurts poor individuals and families...
  1. Creation of new user fees: The creation of new user fees to fund public services disproportionately impacts the poor. As government budgets have declined, some jurisdictions have tried outsourcing services to private companies and allowing those companies to charge fees to the end-user to subsidize or completely fund the service. Many of the services that use this contracting and payment structure are those that poor individuals and families must use or are subject to through their interactions with the government.
  2. Increase in existing user fees: Residents of jurisdictions that have privatized critical public services such as water or transit have experienced steep increases in their rates—such increases particularly harm low-income residents and those on fixed-incomes.
  3. Privatization of the social safety net: Programs that provide and deliver critical support to the poor are often the subject of privatization experiments, many times with tragic results. Because these programs assist those who have little to no political power, these programs are low hanging fruit for privatization.
  4. Decreased wages and benefits: Privatization increases income inequality through the decline of contracted workers’ wages and benefits. When governments directly provide a service, they often provide living wages and decent benefits to workers. When private companies take control, they often slash wages and benefits in an attempt to cut labor costs, replacing stable, middle class jobs with poverty-level jobs.
  5. Increased socioeconomic and racial segregation: The introduction of private interests into public goods and services can radically impact access for certain groups. In some cases, as the public park example in Section 5 shows, privatization can create parallel systems in which one system propped up by private interests typically serves higher-income people, while another lesser quality system serves lower-income people. In other cases, the creation of a private system, such as charter schools in a school district, siphons funding away from the public system meant to serve everyone. In some situations, poor individuals and families can lose access to the public good completely.
- Meanwhile, Robert Benzie and David Rider note that Kathleen Wynne seems happy to give away public money to subsidize the privatization of Ontario Hydro in the name of managing public money.

- CBC reports on the Saskatchewan Party's decision to undermine the operations of Saskatoon's Lighthouse shelter - with no regard either for the people who rely on it, or the social costs of addressing their needs through other avenues such as police or health care resources. And PressProgress points out the revenue problems facing cities in providing the services citizens need.

- Sean Kavanagh reports on the difficulties facing Manitoba's low-income workers due to the lack of any adjustment to the province's minimum wage. And Paul Karp discusses the difficulties in trying to enforce basic health, safety and employment standards in the gig economy.

- Rafael Correa highlights the need for the international community to work together in ending the abuse of tax havens.

- Finally, Brian Kahn writes that our atmosphere appears to have passed the 400 parts per million carbon dioxide threshold permanently - marking just one more example of the irreversible damage we've already done to our environment. And Kevin O'Connor offers a reminder that Saskatchewan is the worst offender going when it comes to carbon pollution, while Joe Romm points out the plummeting prices that are making renewable energy into the clear choice for the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment