Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Claire Connelly calls out the perennial right-wing spin that there's always money available for corporations or the security state, but that anything which would actually help people is invariably unaffordable. And Jim Pugh discusses how Republicans are looking to punish and impoverish the working class by putting up unreasonable barriers to social benefits:
While setting more unemployed Americans on a path to employment and economic self-sufficiency is a positive goal, the threat of withholding food is a highly ineffective way to encourage workforce participation. Some of the most common barriers to employment are insufficient education or skills, mental health issues, hiring biases and a lack of job opportunities. Fear of not having enough to eat does nothing to overcome those obstacles.

When people are hungry, they're frequently unable to focus, which makes it harder for them to get a job, not easier. Instead of boosting employment, this proposal would act as a barrier rather than an incentive.

The actual impact of this policy change would be to punish hungry Americans. In many regions of the country, people are struggling to find full-time work, but can't. While the overall unemployment rate sits at a low 3.8 percent, the rate of involuntary underemployment is more than twice that, and exceeds 10 percent in many states and counties. This proposal would leave those who are unable to find a job with neither income nor food assistance.

Instead of adding poorly-designed restrictions to SNAP, we should be pursuing evidence-based policy changes to increase the effectiveness of our social programs. As someone who works on universal basic income policy, I've spent years studying the effects of unconditional benefits, i.e. what happens when you offer people support without any requirements on their behavior. Every analysis has arrived at the same conclusion: When you give people benefits without strings attached, they use them for productive purposes. The vast majority of people want to do well in life, and they’ll make the most of any support they receive.
- Michael Rozworski's letter to the editor neatly summarizes the folly of reversing long-overdue increases to Ontario's minimum wage. And Kate Davidson comments on the importance of paying a fair minimum wage to service workers, rather than pointing to the illusory promise of tips as an excuse to grind people into poverty.

- Arian Taher discusses the radical difference between Adam Smith's humane ideal of capitalism, and the corporatist version which artificially concentrates wealth and power.

- Finally, James Wilt highlights how Doug Ford's false majority offers a compelling example in favour of British Columbia's electoral reform vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment