Assorted content to end your week. – Larry Elliott reports on another of UK Labour’s proposals to democratize the economy, this time by giving consumers some say in executive pay. – Alex Paterson comments on the relationship between the housing market and the investments of many pension plans – thoughContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading. – Chris Hughes discusses how progressive politics, including expanded social programs and more progressive taxes, are proving to be a winner for U.S. Democrats in both primaries and general elections. Jacob Bacharach writes about the myth of the U.S. as a particularly wealthy countryContinue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Jovanka Beckles writes that the housing crisis in California – like those elsewhere – needs to be addressed through public investment in social housing rather than giveaways to private developers. – Sharon Riley discusses Alberta’s gigantic problem with unfunded oil production liabilities.Continue reading
What happens when you integrate your military into the fabric of the economy? Why the F-35 debacle of course.Continue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Frances Ryan rightly calls out the anti-choice right for having no interest in the well-being of children once they’re born: (S)mall-state ideology can make it devastatingly difficult for a low-income parent to look after a child. Look at the controversial “two-child” limitContinue reading
This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Scott Gilmore discusses how Canada is actually backsliding in some crucial development goals. And Colin Gordon writes about the inequality growing on multiple fronts around the globe. – Kathy Tomlinson uncovers a Vancouver real estate market rigged to benefit developers and speculators.Continue reading
This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Lucas Chancel points out the myths underlying any claim that corporate globalization does anything but voluntarily exacerbate inequality: It is often said that rising inequality is inevitable — that it is a natural consequence of trade openness and digitalization that governments are powerlessContinue reading
Assorted content for your weekend reading. – Phillip Inman reports on a new UN study (PDF) showing that the inequality caused by austerity results in particular harm to women who are forced to take on more unpaid labour. – David Sloan Wilson interviews Sigrun Aasland about the mix and balanceContinue reading
This and that for your Sunday reading. – The Center for Economic Performance finds (PDF) that increased inequality and concentration among firms in an industry exacerbates disparities in wealth while putting downward pressure on wages. And Frank Partnoy warns that we may be headed for another financial crisis as loanContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – Angella MacEwen offers her suggestions as to what a fair and progressive trade agenda should look like: Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are especially unpopular, as they prioritize investor rights over investor responsibilities. Canada and Mexico have had similar dismal experiences under NAFTAContinue reading
Assorted content for your weekend reading. – Mariana Valverde examines how P3 schemes are putting financiers in charge of deciding what public infrastructure to build, while leaving future generations of citizens with massive bills to pay. And the Star Phoenix’ editorial board rightly warns Brad Wall against selling off Saskatchewan’sContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – Mike Konczal responds to a pathetic attempt to drain the word “neoliberal” of all meaning (which seems to have won favour with Canadian Libs desperately trying to disassociate themselves from their own governing ideology) by discussing its application in both the political andContinue reading
Miscellaneous material to start your week. – The Star offers some lessons from the UK’s election, including the powerful appeal of unabashed social democratic policy. Aditya Chakrabortty discusses how Jeremy Corbyn has changed his country’s politics for a long time to come. And Gary Younge observes that the gains achievedContinue reading
This and that for your Thursday reading. – Christopher Hoy reminds us that as much as people are already outraged by inequality, we tend to underestimate its severity. And Faiza Shaheen writes about the dangers of unchecked inequality which erodes social bonds. – Meanwhile, Andrea Hopkins discusses how Canadians areContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – Dennis Howlett comments on the distortions in Canada’s tax system which redistribute money upward to those who need it least: It’s time for Mr. Morneau to deliver a comprehensive and comprehensible tax strategy that will work in 2017 and beyond because, currently, taxContinue reading
This and that for your Tuesday reading. – David Brin examines the crucial role the public sector plays in driving economic development – as well as the disturbingly large movement seeking to end any further progress – Anna Gorman reports on California’s ambitious plans to improve the health and socialContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – Peter Fleming writes that the promise of entrepreneurial self-employment has given way to the nightmare of systematic precarious work: (T)he move to reclassify people as self-employed follows a very simple formula: it helps reduce labour costs and maximise profits for businesses that wouldContinue reading
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.Continue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- David Dayen wonders whether the Obama administration’s decision to end the use of private prisons might represent the needed start of a movement away from relying on poor corporate services as a substi…Continue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
– David Dayen wonders whether the Obama administration’s decision to end the use of private prisons might represent the needed start of a movement away from relying on poor corporate services as a substitute for public action:
Private prisons experienced more safety and security incidents. They had higher rates of assaults, inadequate medical checkups and compliance, eight times as many incidents of contraband cell-phone smuggling, and often housed new inmates in solitary confinement units, seemingly for lack of space. The report also detailed several grisly incidents since 2008: three riots in one Reeves County, Texas facility in two months; the death of a corrections officer in a riot in Natchez, Mississippi; and the closure of the Willacy County (Texas) Correctional Center, after inmates burned it to the ground.
It’s not hard to figure out why this happens. Private companies win contracts to manage federal prisons by undercutting the Bureau of Prisons’ operational costs. Unlike the government, private prison companies must also take their profit margins out of their budgets. The only way to make that work is to massively drop labor costs, corresponding to a severe degradation of the quality of prison management.
That reflects the problem with privatization as a whole. Private companies must carry out a government function—be it water, parking meters, mass transit, or K-12 schools—at a lower cost than the government can provide it, while taking their profit off the top. Time and again, the results reveal that to be impossible, at least if you want to provide the same quality of service. Yet we keep privatizing. Whether it’s Republicans expanding Medicaid or cash-strapped cities handing over bus service to Uber and Lyft, eventually costs shift from taxpayers to the users of the services, oversight becomes impotent as officials grow reliant on outsourcing contracts, and attempts to maximize profits lead to service breakdowns.
– But CBC reports that the worst is yet to come in Saskatchewan as Brad Wall has publicly put SaskTel up for corporate raiding.
– Jacki Andre discusses the hidden costs of living with a disability – which make it particularly unconscionable for Wall’s Saskatchewan Party to be trying to squeeze pennies out of people who rely on already-inadequate disability benefits.
– Floyd Perras highlights the multiple factors that contribute to (and exacerbate) homelessness. And Rocca Perla comments on the need to include social determinants of health within medical treatment of patients.
– Pat Rich describes the Canadian Medical Association’s rude awakening in finding out that Lib Health Minister Jane Philpott has no interest in its key priorities for improved care. And Alison points out how the Libs are conspicuously trying to wriggle out of their promise to end the unfairness of first-past-the-post politics.
– Finally, Anna MacDonald makes the case for stronger transparency as a means of limiting the harm of global arms dealing. But if there was any doubt that the Trudeau Libs are firmly on the side of weapons proliferation, Helene Laverdiere points out their inexplicable decision to stand against nuclear disarmament.Continue reading