• Wage wars, trade wars, and virtual economic reality

    Statistically, the provincial economy is the strongest in decades. Ontario’s 5.5 per cent unemployment rate is the lowest this century, economic growth has been best in the West since 2014, interest rates are low and the budget is balanced. Tell that to vulnerable workers. Or the venerable Ontario Chamber of Commerce… Even the latest uproar over the minimum wage appears to be a battle of perception versus performance — or virtual reality versus economic reality.

  • Universal health care’s humble origins

    Viewed solely in economic terms, Britain could not afford the NHS in 1946. That the NHS was created speaks to a conscious decision on the part of government to prioritize health care and social services. Ultimately, what a society can or cannot afford is a policy decision… / The creation of the NHS was a courageous decision by the Labour Party to radically improve the lives of British people. It benefited most sectors of society – hence the continuing broad support for it.

  • Big little lies

    Yes, it turns out, small business creates lots of new jobs. But small business also destroys lots of jobs, because so many tiny companies go bust. If you look at the net number of jobs generated, small firms’ ability to create employment is nothing special… Handing out special favours to small businesses rewards companies for staying tiny and relatively inefficient rather than pushing them to grow and achieve economies of scale.

  • Imagining an alternative to growing global inequality

    If the global growth in income inequality keeps on at its current pace, populist and nationalist trends around the world will flourish… 82 per cent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest 1 per cent of the global population. The poorest half of the world’s population — 3.7 billion people — saw no increase at all… the wealth of the billionaire class has risen by an annual average of 13 per cent since 2010, over six times faster than the wages of average workers.

  • Many Working Families Face Tax Trap

    Working parents with children—particularly low-income families— face prohibitive tax rates that discourage taking on extra employment to get ahead, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Two-Parent Families with Children: How Effective Tax Rates Affect Work Decisions” author Alexandre Laurin finds that mothers and poorer families are the most adversely affected by this tax trap.

  • Biting cold exposes deeper rot in Toronto’s attitudes to poverty

    … fixing short-term inadequacies will have to be paired with a more sweeping strategy involving all three levels of government to improve income security, strengthen mental health, addiction, and overdose prevention services, and make affordable housing the national priority it used to be. None of these things can or will happen until we acknowledge that the austerity consensus in public policy has been a failure; that real efficiency means actually meeting human needs rather than perpetually looking for and inventing new ways to cut public spending

  • Why a guaranteed minimum income is a better option than raising the minimum wage

    Rather than blithely decreeing that employers must pay their employees an amount the rest of us think appropriate, and hoping it all works out for the best, the option is open to us as a society to put our money where our mouths are: to finance a decent minimum income for all with our taxes — which unlike wages are not so easily avoided. Maybe this latest increase in the minimum wage will prove less harmful than feared, but it is certain to be more harmful than the alternative: a minimum income, socially guaranteed and socially financed.

  • Now, more than ever, we need to solve Ontario’s health-care crisis of capacity

    Our health-care system is simply too lean. Ontario needs more hospitals, more rehab facilities and more long-term-care beds. We need health-care professionals to staff all these new sites, plus ease shortages at the ones we already have. This will mean money… enthusiasm for new large expenditures will be limited. But we can’t deny reality.

  • It’s 2018 and time for tax reform focused on fairness

    Mr. Trudeau, will you commit in the next budget to tackling unfair tax rules, specifically through eliminating the preferential treatment of stock options and increasing the inclusion rate for capital gains for CEOs? In short, will you commit to bringing some fairness back into the tax treatment of top business executives, billionaire investors and the wealthiest in Canada? It’s time to put an end to the special set of rules that exclusively benefit the affluent and well-connected.

  • Disruption we can get behind

    The main innovation of most self-declared disruptors is that they’ve found a way to take an even bigger share of the wealth from the workers who produce it than was possible before we all carried around the internet in our pockets. It’s not the disruptors who are the biggest problem, it’s the inequality—in incomes, in power and in access to scarce resources—which is worsening in Canada, to the benefit of a small number of established and disruptive elites alike.