Monday, October 05, 2020

Monday Morning Links

 Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Alex Himelfarb, Andrew Jackson and Brian Topp write about the need for a tax system which collects a fair share from the wealthiest in order to fund the recovery and renewal we should be demanding. And Ben Steverman reports on Raj Chetty's work showing how the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately hurt people who were already falling behind.

- Bruce Campbell writes about the positive ideas hinted at in the federal throne speech, while also warning of the Libs' propensity for deferring to elites who would rather see everybody else's lives get more precarious as long as it enhances their own wealth and power. And Scott Schmidt highlights W. Brett Wilson as a prime example of how the reactionary instinct is based on nothing more than trying to protect undeserved and unfair wealth and privilege based on the assumption that it's normal:

COVID presented a new way of looking at our society and oligarchs like Wilson desperately need you to forget the realities you’ve been presented with this year. Before the pandemic, it wouldn’t be hard for a man like Wilson to convince the public that the unemployed or down-on-their-luck were on their own, that they somehow contributed to their situation and the rest of us weren’t responsible for getting them back on their feet.

The pandemic should have shattered that mirage entirely the moment we hit lockdown and sent millions of our family, friends and neighbours into unemployment.

“Wait a minute,” we were supposed to say. “Could it be that people aren’t always at fault when they lose their job? Is it possible that circumstances beyond one’s control can thrust them into poverty? Maybe we should ensure these people have nothing to worry about financially in case this happens to me one day.”

Wilson wants you to forget that. Wilson wants you competing, blaming, fighting; he wants it because that’s how he’ll gain even more wealth. People like Wilson want society back to where it benefits them the most – one where individuals are in constant competition.

Wilson wants to own businesses where he can pay people low wages at part-time hours so he can maximize profits for his already massive bank account, all the while acting like he’s just another boot-strap go-getter who scraped and clawed his way toward that fortune. And now he’s claiming to be mad at the government for paying people to stay healthy and safe because that’s apparently more than he is willing to offer those same people to spend their days feeding his profits.

It’s been a long, trying year for everyone – especially those who lost their job – and it’s easy to see why people want to “get back to normal.” Just remember that the “normal” Wilson wants is the one where he gets rich off your labour and then sticks you with a bill when he’s done.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood points out how the Libs aren't showing any of the needed urgency when it comes to abating a climate breakdown. David Suzuki draws a connection between carbon pricing and soap in a pandemic as a simple and necessary (if insufficient) part of an overall plan to improve outcomes. And Emily Eaton writes about the desperate need for a realistic appraisal of climate change in Saskatchewan to replace myths designed to excuse as much carbon pollution as the oil sector can spew.

- Finally, Indi Samarajiva writes that the U.S. is facing a decline familiar to people who have lived through descents into violence and war. And Scott Gilmore discusses the parallel sicknesses facing Donald Trump and the U.S. generally.

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