Showing posts from April 30, 2014

China's Income-Inequality Gap Widens Beyond U.S. Levels

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[Not your father's communist workers' paradise. Also see China is hiding how bad income inequality is in the country*RON*]
By Dexter Roberts, Bloomberg Business Week, April 30, 2014

The gap between China’s rich and poor is now one of the world’s highest, surpassing even that in the U.S., according to a new report being released this week by researchers at the University of Michigan.

The metric used in these studies, the Gini coefficient, would be zero in a society where all income is equally distributed, while a score of one would reflect a society in which all income is concentrated in the hands of a single individual. Over the three-decade period starting in 1980, shortly after China’s economic reform and opening, the Gini coefficient has grown from 0.3 to 0.55 in 2010.

In the U.S., by contrast, the index reads 0.45. Anything over 0.50 is considered “severe disparity,” says the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sci…

Canadian income disparity growing in Canada among fastest in the OECD

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[Canada is at the forefront of income inequality. *RON*]

CP / 680 News Raddio, Apr 30, 2014

OTTAWA – A new OECD paper shows Canada is among the worst in the developed world in terms of the widening income gap.

The analysis shows income inequality has grown in most advanced economies represented in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development over the past three decades, but the United States and Canada are near the top in terms of growth and in absolute terms.

The OECD says the top one per cent of Canadian pre-tax income earners captured 37 per cent of the overall income growth between 1981 and 2012, and now account for 12.2 per cent of the country’s total annual income.

In the United States, the top one percenters captured 47 per cent of the total income growth in the country during the period — and now share one-fifth of the country’s pre-tax income.

Meanwhile, incomes among the poorest households have not kept pace with overall income…

How Piketty's Bombshell Book Blows Up Libertarian Fantasies

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[Sorry, Ayn Rand. Your fiction has been exposed as, well, fiction. *RON*]
By Lynn Stuart ParramoreAlterNet, April 27, 2014
Libertarians have always been flummoxed by inequality, tending either to deny that it’s a problem or pretend that the invisible hand of the market will wave a magic wand to cure it. Then everybody gets properly rewarded for what he or she does with brains and effort, and things are peachy keen.

Except that they aren’t, as exhaustively demonstrated by French economist Thomas Piketty, whose 700-page treatise on the long-term trends in inequality, Capital In the 21st Century, has blown up libertarian fantasies one by one.

To understand the libertarian view of inequality, let’s turn to Milton Friedman, one of America's most famous and influential makers of free market mythology. Friedman decreed that economic policy should focus on freedom, and not equality.

TransCanada Charitable Fund Launches Keystone XL "Good Neighbor" Charm Offensive

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["Less than a week after Public Citizen published its November 2013 report addressing safety issues discovered during the construction phase of KeystoneXL's southern leg, TransCanada announced the launch of its charitable fund....its charitable fund equates to 0.04 percent of the expense of building Keystone XL South" *RON*]
 Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog, 29 April 2014

TransCanada has taken a page out of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's playbook and deployed a public relations “charm offensive” in Texas, home of the southern leg of itsKeystone XL tar sands pipeline now known as the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Roosevelt utilized a “good neighbor policy“ — conceptualized today as “soft power” by U.S. foreign policy practitioners — to curry favor in Latin America and win over its public. Recently, TransCanada announced it would do something similar in Texas with its newly formed TransCanada Charitable …

Path to Prosperity? A Closer Look at British Columbia’s Natural Gas Royalties and Proposed LNG Income Tax

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[The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives just released the first in a series of reports that look closely at BC’s LNG industry. Path to Prosperity? A Closer Look at British Columbia’s Natural Gas Royalties and Proposed LNG Income Tax kicks off the series by checking the assumptions behind the provincial government’s projected $100 billion LNG “Prosperity Fund”. In short, it finds that the giant, optimistic figure being tossed around by the province is simply terribly unlikely given real world conditions – from projected changes in global energy markets to shortcomings of the LNG tax and royalties regime. Our policymakers clearly need to stop putting all of our eggs in the one basket of the natural gas export industry. See also BC LNG economics don't add up on Commonsense Canadian. *RON*]

By Marc Lee, CCPA, April 30, 2014

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This report examines the assumptions behind the BC government’s projection of a $100 bill…

Working for a Living Wage 2014: Making Paid Work Meet Basic Family Needs in Metro Vancouver

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[The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released their Metro Vancouver living wage calculation for 2014, which indicates that parents with a young family must make $20.10 per hour each in order to make ends meet. This year is the first—since they began to do this calculation in 2008—that has seen the living wage rise over the $20 mark. It goes to show that BC families are in desperate need of government policies, like a $10/day child care program, that make everyday life more affordable. *RON*]

By Iglika Ivanova, Seth Klein, CCPA, April 29, 2014
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To get involved with the campaign or to become a Living Wage employer, contact the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families Campaign:

For those seeking to calculate the living wage in other BC and Canadian communities, download the living wage calculation guide and spreadsheet (below).

More BC living wage reports:
The 2014 living wage for Victori…

Why The Fair Elections Act Is A Very Good Thing For Rich Politicians

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[The best democracy money can buy. *RON*]

Althia Raj, Huffington Post, 29 April 2014

OTTAWA — As MPs prepare for a second day of clause-by-clause debate over amendments to the Fair Elections Act, The Huffington Post Canada looks at how the Conservative government’s election bill increases the influence of money in the political process – and how it fails to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding how political parties spend their money.

This despite the fact that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been used to subsidize political parties in the past decade. Critics point to four key ways the act does not go far enough to reform how political parties account for their spending.