• Notes on a Butter Republic [Social Democracy]

    … a country can produce agricultural products, be “dependent” by most definitions, yet use that as the basis for permanent elevation into the first world. And in today’s world, Denmark manages to be very open to world trade, while having very low levels of inequality both before and after redistribution. Globalization need not be in conflict with social justice… Denmark, where tax receipts are 46 percent of GDP compared with 26 percent in the U.S., is arguably the most social-democratic country in the world.

  • What Are Capitalists Thinking?

    Back in the days when our economy just grew and grew, we had a government and a capitalist class that invested in our people and their future… And, funny thing, during all this time, socialism didn’t have much appeal. But ever since, the median income picture has been much spottier, hardly increasing at all in inflation-adjusted dollars over 18 long years. And those incomes at the top have shot to the heavens.

  • Why the Ontario Progessive Conservatives aren’t ‘progressive’

    … today’s Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is most certainly “conservative,” but not even remotely “progressive.” … Naturally, there are Red Tories, or left-leaning Conservatives, like Segal, former Ontario Premier Bill Davis and Toronto Mayor John Tory. These individuals promote progressive values, such as social justice, support for a welfare state, and maintaining significant amounts of public funding for social services. Nevertheless, this isn’t what most Ontario Conservatives think, or have ever thought, about political conservatism. To equate one with the other is wrong.

  • Abandoning the red Tory tradition hurting the most vulnerable

    … something cruel and uncaring has developed in Canadian and especially Ontario politics, a new conservatism that has abandoned the paternalism of the red Tory tradition, and replaced it with harshness, division, and a disregard for those who are most in need of our concern and empathy. Whether it’s using dismissive language about migrants, cutting promised minimum wage and welfare increases, or ending guaranteed income schemes, it stinks of something almost Dickensian.

  • Who really rides the gravy train? Not those who were on basic income

    The same week that the basic income project was scuttled, a new report outlined how wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few Canadians, how those fortunes are amassed over generations, and how the country’s tax system helps protect and enlarge those fortunes… “In general, Canada’s tax system is set up to encourage concentration of wealth at the very top,” the report says. That includes a lack of tax on inheritances, low taxes on capital gains and an acceptance of tax-avoiding loopholes. These too are government handouts; we’re just trained not to think of them that way.

  • Growing disconnect between urban and rural Canada

    Where we live is the key determinant of how we think, work, and live. And, as we continue to urbanize, a chasm is growing between urban and rural experiences and perspectives. The data is pretty overwhelming. On a host of measures — ranging from incomes to employment to education to immigration to health to religion to family size to sex — researchers find significant differences… even after controlling for sociodemographic factors as well as ideology. Put more simply: where we live shapes how we vote more than other factors such as age, income, religion, or values.

  • ‘I may end up homeless again’: Six Ontarians talk about their life before, after and, once again, without basic income

    Close to 1,000 Hamiltonians are being left in the lurch after the new Progressive Conservative government announced it is scrapping a basic income pilot program less than one year after it launched… The Hamilton Spectator spoke to six people enrolled in the basic income program, which cost $50 million a year, and heard from several others about what the project meant to them… [and] what’s next?

  • Doug Ford speaks ‘For the People’ – just not low-income people

    … for this particular brand of Progressive Conservatives, “fairness” or “the people” are terms that exclude the 10 per cent of Ontarians who live below the poverty line… Has Lisa MacLeod defined Ford Nation conservatism as the ultimate in exclusionary “avoid the evidence” public policy? Premier Ford deserves better. And so do Ontarians… The pilot project was testing an approach that treated those below the poverty line with respect, as human beings who can manage their own lives.

  • Tories target the poor with bad welfare changes

    These are ideologically driven, deplorable reductions that will create more suffering for the poor, and surely lead to higher costs in the long run as the price of poverty inevitably falls to health care, shelter and justice systems… The savings from these changes are paltry compared to the billions in ongoing costs associated with poverty, and ultimately borne by taxpayers… None of this makes sense; at least not when judged from a good policy standpoint.

  • Social policy-making still stealthy after all these years

    Governments seem to love the stealth approach because history proves they can get away with it − for a while at least… Social policy by stealth has two main dimensions: indexation and complexity. Understanding these dimensions allows us to better understand and design social policy… Today, indexation stacks up pretty well. Most of Canada’s income programs and taxes are fully indexed… However, other programs are still complex. Employment Insurance… the Canada Pension Plan… Welfare remains a labyrinth that seems impervious to reform. The majority of welfare systems remain un-indexed.