Assorted content to end your week.
- Nicholas Kristof offers a primer
on inequality in the U.S., while the Washington Post reports
that a think tank looking to fund research into the issue couldn't find a single conservative willing to discuss it. And PressProgress highlights
the OECD's finding that the prosperity gap stands to get a lot worse in the U.S. and Canada alike absent some significant change in course to improve the lot of the 99%:
Increasing levels of economic inequality are the “new normal” and we can expect them to get worse, not better.
That’s the key takeaway from a recent study
on long-run levels of income growth in Canada, Australia and the United States published by the OECD.
The study highlights the explosive rise of incomes in the top 1% over the last 30 years, and their growing share as compared to the bottom 90% and 99%. Authored by eminent Canadian economist and Broadbent Fellow Lars Osberg, it argues “there is no natural upper bound to the real incomes of the top 1% and thus no natural upper bound to their income gap with median households.”
Similar to the findings of French economist Thomas Piketty
and the OECD
, Osberg suggests that the balanced growth of the post-World War II era, which produced a more stable and fairer income distribution, bucked a broader trend in which inequality accumulates and deepens over generations. - Suresh Naidu, Yaw Nyarko and Shing-Yi Wang document
(PDF) how tying a worker to a single employer - as the Cons continue to do through the temporary foreign worker program - serves to suppress wages. And Grace Macaluso reports
on the role anti-poverty groups are playing in pushing for a living wage in Windsor.
- Meanwhile, in what's surely unrelated news, the Cons' CRA intimidation includes a new position
that charities are no longer permitted to work on preventing poverty.
- Don Cayo writes
about the dangers of allowing a government to intimidate critics into silence. And Steve Sullivan reminds us
of the role public interest groups rightly play in ensuring that individual rights are protected:
The courts play an essential role in our democracy by interpreting and applying the laws passed by government — acting as both check and balance on the other two branches of government, the executive and legislative. No true democracy anywhere in the world gives governments unlimited powers. In Canada, the job of the courts is to make sure that what the government does is consistent with the charter and the Constitution. Our legal rights mean precisely nothing if governments can override them simply by passing a law.
Time and again, Canadians have told parties and pollsters that they treasure the Charter of Rights — that it’s part of the bedrock of our society, something that unites us. Harper probably doesn’t agree; his government pointedly refused to celebrate the 25th and 30th anniversaries of the charter’s ascent into law, while blowing millions of dollars to commemorate a war none of us were alive to remember.
Instead of moaning about special interest groups and activist judges, Mr. Albas might want to set aside his copy of the PMO talking points and actually read what the judges are saying
. They called the government’s policy on health care for refugees “cruel and unusual”. They protected safe injection sites because the evidence shows they’re saving lives. They ruled the prostitution laws the government defended were unconstitutional because they put sex workers in danger.
When Mr. Harper thought his charter rights were being violated, he stood on his rights as a Canadian citizen and took the state to court. If the court route was good enough for him, it should be good enough for the rest of us. - Finally, Scott Harris notes
that while decades of constant pro-trade propaganda may have turned support for trade agreements into a default position, Canadians strongly oppose most of the actual details of CETA (among other deals).