Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Matt Bruenig examines who is living in poverty in the U.S. - and how policy choices result in many people who can't feasibly earn wages being stuck below the poverty line:
(C)hildren, elderly, disabled people, and students make up around 70 percent of the poor. If you add in carers and those already fully employed, the number goes to around 90 percent. There is room to activate some of these folks into the labor market, especially carers through the provision of child care and paid leave benefits. But for the most part, the poor are people who cannot and should not work.
(B)enefits already do a lot to hold down poverty. The official poverty rate in 2016 was 12.8 percent. Without benefits, it would have been 21 percent.

If we want to build on that kind of success, what we need to do is expand the coverage of the welfare state as well as the generosity of its benefits. Every child should get a modest monthly stipend paid to their parents. Minimum benefit levels for old-age and disability pensions should be increased. Students should get a living grant. Carers should get paid leave and caretaker allowances. Unemployed people should get higher benefits, and some minimum level of benefits should be available to new labor market entrants who have not yet secured a job. It is through these kinds of reforms that serious poverty reduction will ultimately be made.

Until we come to terms with the fact that market income distributions inherently leave out a massive swath of society, our system will continue to fail its poor people. Markets are not designed to get income to where it is needed. It is up to society to construct programs to do that.
- Michael Sisak and Emily Schmall report on a prime example of the U.S.' continued disaster capitalism, as FEMA has been selling off disaster trailers at cut-rate prices even as it's been scrambling to providing housing in responseto this summer's spate of hurricanes. And Josh Boak discusses how the Trump administration is pushing corporate tax giveaways in the face of abundant evidence they'll serve only to further enrich those who already have the most.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood examines the state of NAFTA negotiations and concludes that there's no realistic prospect of reaching a meaningfully progressive agreement.

- Stephanie Taylor reports on the high rates of opioid poisoning in Regina and Saskatoon.

- Finally, Bruce Livesey reports on institutional racism and bigotry within CSIS and the RCMP which is both preventing them from addressing real threats, and resulting in the rendition and torture of innocent people based on their race and religion.

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