Monday, May 07, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Luke Savage comments on Justin Trudeau's phony war against inequality:
His embrace of Keynesian economics has been equally ethereal. In 2015, apparently rebelling against the prevailing economic orthodoxy of austerity, the Liberal leader pledged to stimulate the economy through modest, deficit-financed social investment.

Upon implementation, however, some $15bn was channelled into an “infrastructure bank”, geared to attract private financing. The promises of “socially useful, non-commercial projects like childcare or affordable housing to cash-strapped cities” will take a back seat to those with “revenue-generating potential”. And while investors are likely to see big returns, it is the public who will shoulder much of the risk.

Trudeau has also remained ambivalent towards the kind of big programs that could actually redistribute wealth in a meaningful way. On childcare, for example, he favours a means-tested approach, rather than the universal, public provision of a desperately needed service. And in a 2016 conversation with a low-wage worker he dismissed the prospect of raising the minimum wage, echoing the talking points of the Canadian business lobby: “Maybe everything just gets more expensive or we have jobs leaving. We have to be very careful about that.” (A 2011 University of California, Berkeley study found the effects of raising the minimum wage on prices to be negligible at best. And the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has argued that service sector jobs that tend to pay the minimum wage are by their very nature immobile, which suggests the threat of mass job flight is a myth.)
(W)hile the prime minister calmly informs struggling workers that raising the minimum wage may have unintended consequences, the country’s wealthiest corporate executives get to keep their cushy tax advantages. The phony war rages on.
- Jennefer Laidley offers some suggestions to ensure income security in Ontario. And Eleanor Aigne Roy reports on Jacinda Ardern's push to find shelter for every homeless person in New Zealand before its winter hits - serving as a prime example as to what social policy can look like when it's actually aimed at meeting people's needs rather than putting off action.

- Ethan Trudeau comments on the value of organized labour and cooperative businesses in ensuring that prosperity is widely shared. And Jake Johnson offers a look at the regrets of workers who voted for Donald Trump based on the false promise of right-wing populism.

- Finally, Tabatha Southey writes about the real threat posed by the ignorant rage of the anti-woman alt-right.

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