Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week. – Annie Lowrey writes about the affordability crisis which has left most Americans in dire financial straits even as aggregate economic numbers look reasonably strong: (B)eyond the headline economic numbers, a multifarious and strangely invisible economic crisis metastasized: Let’s call it the Great Affordability

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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading. – CBC News highlights how cost-of-living issues look to play a key role in Canada’s federal election. And Jerry-Lynn Scofield points out that current asset valuations and economic assumptions are based on an entirely unsustainable combination of public, private and corporate debt loads.

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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading. – Lana Payne points out the options to make life genuinely affordable for Canadians – while noting that the Cons’ usual tax baubles don’t make the list. And PressProgress both reveals Doug Ford’s plans to slash Ontario’s already-insufficient housing supports, and lists Brian Pallister’s

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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading. – Robert Borosage discusses why we shouldn’t let conveniently one-sided calls for civility silence debate over progressive possibilities. And Alex Ballingall reports on the affordability anxiety which demands an effective political response rather than a contemptuous dismissal: In a memo outlining the results,

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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Christopher Ingraham points out that while many luxuries are getting cheaper with time, the necessities of life are becoming much more difficult to afford:

Many manufactured goods — like TVs and appliances — come from overseas, where labor costs are cheaper. “International, global competition lowers prices directly from lower-cost imported goods, and indirectly by forcing U.S. manufacturers to behave more competitively, with lower prices, higher quality, better service, et cetera,” Perry said.

On the flip side, things like education and medical care can’t be produced in a factory, so those pressures do not apply. Compounding it, many Americans are insulated from the full costs of these services. Private and public insurance companies pay most medical costs, so there tends to be little incentive for individuals to shop around for cheaper medical care.

In the case of higher education, the nation’s massive student loan industry bears much of the upfront burden of rising prices. To the typical 18-year-old, a $120,000 tuition bill may seem like an abstraction when you don’t have to start paying it off until your mid-20s or later. As a result, the nation’s college students and graduates now collectively owe upward of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

“Prices rise when [health care and college] markets are not competitive and not exposed to global competition,” Perry said, “and prices rise when easy credit is available.”

Hence, our current predicament. We can afford the things we don’t need, but we need the things we can’t afford.

– Alex Usher notes how one of the same cost pressures applies in Canada, as universities losing public funding are squeezing students for massive tuition increases. And Lindsay Kines reports that the Clark government’s decision to make life less affordable for people with disabilities in British Columbia has led to 3,500 people giving up their transit passes.

– Natalia Khosla and Sean McElwee discuss the difficulty in addressing racism when many people live in denial of their continued privilege.

– Paul Wells comments on SNC Lavalin’s long track record of illegal corporate donations to the Libs and the Cons.

– Finally, Gerry Caplan points out how Justin Trudeau is dodging key human rights questions. And Mike Blanchfield reports that the Libs’ willingness to undermine a treaty prohibiting the use of cluster bombs represents just another area where they’re leaving the Cons’ most harmful policies untouched.

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