• The Best News You Don’t Know [global poverty rates]

    The number of people living in extreme poverty ($1.90 per person per day) has tumbled by half in two decades, and the number of small children dying has dropped by a similar proportion — that’s six million lives a year saved by vaccines, breast-feeding promotion, pneumonia medicine and diarrhea treatments! Historians may conclude that the most important thing going on in the world in the early 21st century was a stunning decline in human suffering… Internationally, inequality is on the decline because of gains by the poor in places like China and India.

  • The Trudeau Liberals just prioritized one of Richard Nixon’s favourite conservative policies: ‘mincome’

    Had he beaten Pierre Trudeau in the 1968 election, Stanfield promised that a guaranteed annual income was the first plank in his party’s plan to ensure “decent life and equal opportunity for all Canadians.” The conservative reasoning for “mincome” was simple; by cutting poor people a monthly cheque the federal government would suddenly be freed to dismantle the welfare state. “It’s a proposal to help poor people by giving them money, which is what they need, rather than requiring them to come before a government official, detail all their assets and liabilities … and then be given a handout

  • Five lessons from the failing fight against child poverty

    The new federal government’s pledge to implement the Canada Child Benefit while eliminating the Universal Child Care Benefit and the Canada child tax credit is predicted to help Ontario exceed its child poverty reduction target ahead of schedule. Ontario will need its federal partner to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to ending chronic homelessness and expanding affordable housing units as well.

  • Hot!

    Ed Broadbent reflects on the child-poverty pledge of 1989

    Broadbent was encouraged by Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government, which had spent years helping to craft the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the General Assembly only one week prior to Canada’s historic vote. But what he hadn’t counted on was the way the North America Free Trade Agreement would usher in a decade of deregulation and cost-cutting… Twenty-five years on, Broadbent is encouraged by the way inequality has again resurfaced in political discourse… democracies have to deal with this issue,” he said.

  • Hot!

    What America Won in the ‘War on Poverty’

    State and local governments have been laboratories of new initiatives—from work and training programs, to partnerships between local businesses and community colleges, to food banks… Government programs defined not by ideology but by flexibility and the ability to help private and local institutions act—not by giving them grants as the War on Poverty did, but via tax incentives that help run programs—that would be welcome innovation, and the best way to continue the legacy of the War on Poverty.

  • Hot!

    Difference between skiving and striving

    June 28, 2012
    or David Cameron this week, the central dilemma was the potential contradiction between two of those “giant evils”, namely want and idleness. How do you provide “cradle-to-grave” wrap-around care to banish forever the shocking poverty Beveridge had witnessed during the Great Depression, without encouraging a minority to swing the lead? How do you help the needy without undermining work incentives among the merely slothful? …The 1845 Scottish Poor Law Act, like its English equivalent, relied on the idea of less eligibility: reducing the numbers entitled to support by making unemployment as unpleasant as possible

  • Hot!

    Should recent arrivals qualify for Old Age Security?

    September 1, 2011
    I find it hard to distinguish why we should impose residency requirements on Old Age Security but not other public benefits or public spending. Why restrict Old Age Security to long-term residents but not public health insurance? … as the short twenty-year span of contributory Old Age Security taxes fades from fiscal memory, the argument for excluding short-term residents from the benefits received by other Canadian seniors will become harder to make.

  • Hot!

    Why CPP hikes are a bad idea

    February 6, 2011
    The earliest contributors to the CPP made out wonderfully… But the return on one’s CPP taxes become meagre the later one is born. It’s why it resembles a social program and not a true pension plan… The low contribution rates for the pre-baby boom generation had everything to do with demographics. Over the decades, successive governments kept retirement contributions artificially low… The 1997 reforms were meant to address both the unfunded liability in the CPP and partially address the generational imbalance.

  • Hot!

    Individual responsibility and the welfare state

    January 22, 2011
    In Canada in the 1960s and 1970s, when social programs became a defining feature of national identity, as well as a weapon against Quebec separatism, there was much discussion, even in the Progressive Conservative Party, of guaranteed annual incomes, effectively paying salaries to citizens whether they are employed or productive or not. In the United States, more arithmetically sober heads prevailed… , but Europe now faces the problem, with aging and problems attracting assimilable immigration, of only 30-some percent of the population working while everyone else draws benefits of some kind.

  • Hot!

    Let’s refocus on a guaranteed annual income

    Jan. 20, 2011
    Mr. Croll’s description of the situation Canada faced in the 1970s still echoes: “If the social welfare business of Canada had been in the private sector, it would have long ago been declared bankrupt. The reasons are not hard to find. Resistance to change, a stubborn refusal to modernize its thinking, a failure to understand the root causes of poverty, inadequate research and the bureaucracy digging in to preserve itself and the status quo, are some of the basic causes of the dilemma in which we find ourselves today.”