Showing posts from February 23, 2014

The Mobility Myth

See the original article here.
[The Commonweal, or, that which we have completely forgotten about: " any capitalist society most people are bound to be part of the middle and working classes; public policy should focus on raising their standard of living, instead of raising their chances of getting rich." *RON*]

Since at least the days of Horatio Alger, a cornerstone of American thinking has been the hope of social mobility—the idea that, as Lawrence Samuel put it in a history of the American dream, anyone can, “through dedication and with a can-do spirit, climb the ladder of success.” In recent years, though, plenty of Americans have come to believe that, as President Obama said in his State of the Union address, “upward mobility has stalled.” So it was a surprise recently when a team of economists from Harvard and Berkeley released a comprehensive study showing that mobility in the U.S. hasn’t fallen over the past twenty years at all.…

'Canadian Dream' a myth, says internal government report

Read the original article here.

[This internal report does the unforgivable - it tells the unvarnished truth about the Canadian economy and growing disparities between the rich and the poor. The official response is predictable: "Talking point, talking point, bark-bark, talking point." *RON*]


OTTAWA - Canada's middle-class is mortgaging its future to stay afloat, making the Canadian dream "a myth more than a reality."

That's the blunt assessment of an internal Conservative government report, an unvarnished account of the plight of middle-income families that's in contrast to the rosier economic picture in this month's budget.

The document was prepared last October by experts in Employment and Social Development Canada, the department that runs the employment insurance fund and other income-support programs. The Canadian Press obtained the report under the Access to Information Act.

"The wa…

Interest in Inequality in the US vs Canada, 2004 to Present

I've never tried to embed anything from Google as HMTL before, so this is only partly successful and a bit hard to read. Interest in "inequality" really took off during the post-Occupy years in the United States but is very nearly flat in Canada. Typical Canadian smugness? I have no idea why the interest in searching for "inequality" demonstrates a seasonal cycle in both cases; maybe this is something specific to web searching patterns.

Google Trends: Web searches in the United States for "inequality," 2004 to present:

Google Trends: Web searchs in Canada for "inequality," 2004 to present:

B.C. LNG Tax Too High, Say Companies

See the original story here.

[Ha! Why, who would have predicted this!? :-) Now that the preliminary analyses have already indicated that, with these rates, we will never come close to buying all the ponies that Clark has already promised, the companies are howling that they will be beggared by them. Also see the next blog posting, Climate Currently Pays for Increased Human Wealth. *RON*]

By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press, 02/23/2014

VICTORIA - One of the first questions British Columbia's Finance Minister Mike de Jong was asked when he introduced the Liberal government's proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax as part of last week's budget, was how oil and gas companies would react to paying a tax that could top out at seven per cent.

"Of course, they want zero," he replied.

But de Jong pointed to a recent government-commissioned Ernst and Young survey that concluded B.C.'s all-in taxes — corporate, federal, provincial, municipal, carbon and the new LNG t…

Climate Currently Pays For Increased Human Wealth

See the original article here.
[Growth in Wealth = Growth in CO2. This is the real implication of the promise by the G20 today to add $2 trillion to the global economy over the next five years. *RON*]
Feb 23, 2014 By David BielloDownload MP3

A new study attempts to quantify CO2 emissions if economic growth continues. David Biello reports.

Despite the Great Recession, more people are better off around the world today than ever before. At the same time, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have never been higher in human history — thanks to fossil fuel burning, forest clearing and other activities that make people rich.

So what can be expected if the world increases the wellbeing of an ever increasing proportion of people? In short: even more CO2. That's the finding of a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Economists and policy analysts held out hope that global wealth could continue to rise without also raising CO2 emissions. But a look back at life expectancy at birth compar…

The Myth of German Austerity

See the original article here.
[It took me a moment before I was able to identify poor old Greece on this chart! :-( *RON*]
Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal, February 23, 2014, 11:05 AM

Every once in a while I hear people trying to dismiss the overwhelming evidence for large economic damage from fiscal austerity by pointing to Germany: “You say that austerity hurts growth, but the Germans have done a lot of austerity and they’re booming.”

Public service announcement: Never, ever make claims about a country’s economic policies (or actually anything about economics) on the basis of what you think you’ve heard people say. Yes, you often hear people talking about austerity, and the Germans are big on praising and demanding austerity. But have they actually imposed a lot of it on themselves? Not so much. Again, my euro area austerity versus growth plot for 2009-13:

Germany did less austerity than almost anyone else in the euro area.

We Asked the Five Eyes About What They Were Up To. Here's What They Said.

Read the original article here.

[As my friend Richard has said, everyone in intelligence services is so scared of the consequences for themselves if something was leaked on their watch that everything is laughably over-classified. Thus, as is the case here, the most basic information needed to understand the impact on the public interest is made inaccessible to the public. *RON*]

by Caroline Wilson Palow. Published on Sunday, February 23, 2014 by Privacy International

Would you like to read the current international agreements establishing the intelligence sharing arrangements that underpin the work of the NSA and GCHQ? The rules that govern massive, coordinated communications surveillance operations, hacking, and the exploitation of networks and devices in the name of national security and the public interest?

What about the guidelines that set the boundaries of what certain cooperating intelligence agencies can and cannot do to the citizens of their own countries, and to foreigners?


Human Health and the GMO Industry: Puppets in High Places

Read the original article here.
[The scientific endeavor is in a strange position today. The GMO debate is a classic illustration - scientists on both sides call each other liars and each side claims that the other is politically motivated. The standards that science should be held to for the purpose of decision making are being rancorously debated and, some feel, the purpose of science is being misunderstood. *RON*]
By Colin Todhunter, Global Research, February 23, 2014

Anne Glover recently declared that there is no evidence pertaining to the adverse impacts of GMOs. This is an extremely disturbing statement. It’s disturbing because it is not only patently wrong, but also because Anne Glover is chief scientific adviser of the European Commission.

How Doctors are Paid in BC

See the original article here.
[Very good piece on the flaws in the fee-for-service payment system currently used to pay doctors in BC. *RON*]
February 22nd, 2014 · Dr. Vanessa Brcic

[A version of this piece was posted on the Tyee]

Health care is the biggest, most expensive and most important thing that government does. Hospital care swallows up a large proportion of the health care budget, but primary care in the community takes care of most patient needs and keeps people out of hospital. Patients who are connected to a family physician over time suffer less and live longer. But there hasn’t been much of a conversation about primary care reform in this province, and it’s time to start one. The auditor general agrees, and so do the Divisions of Family Practice in BC, whose slick GP For Me campaign was launched this week.

In BC, doctors are paid well, but they are paid by an antiquated compensation model called Fee For Service (FFS), which basically reduces medical visits to a series of bil…