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Showing posts from March 3, 2015

Doubling TFSA contribution limits: Even nastier than income-splitting

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[Despite how it is marketed by the Harper government, and what it might in principle be useful for, in reality TFSAs have contributed to income inequality by helping the rich far more than it helps any poor people. The plan we have now is the one George Bush wanted, but his proposal was rejected, because it contributes to inequality. *RON*]
By Armine Yalnizyan, rabble.ca, 3 March 2015


The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it's clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards -- for individual Canadians as well as for the economy as a whole.

Let's unpack the government's arguments one by one:

1. The TFSA helps people save

The evidence certainly doesn't support this statement. TFSAs first saw the light of day in January 2009 at a time when the savings rate…

Paul Krugman on the Real Meaning of the Walmart Wage Hike

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[Don't believe the hype! Rampant inequality is a choice. *RON*]
By Janet Allon / AlterNet, 2 March 2015

One of the side effects of Walmart's recent announcement that it will raise wages for half a million workers is that other companies will probably be compelled to follow suit. And while these raises are not going to result in huge gains for workers, there is plenty of meaning to be gleaned from Walmart's decision, Paul Krugman writes in Monday's column. "Namely, that low wages are a political choice, and we can and should choose differently."

Conservatives, and yes, Krugman admits, many economists, have long treated the labor market like any other market, one that is subject to the law of supply and demand responding rationally to those forces. According to this scenario, artificially raising wages will hurt employment. Here's the problem with that thinking: "The labor force is people," Krugman writes. &qu…

Another Attempt To Tell The EPA What Science It Can Use From House Republicans

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[Science meets US politics under the corporatocracy. They have tried this before, and the Bills will never make it past the House, but this is still discouraging. You've got to love the reader comments, e.g., "Good thing the SCOTUS decided money doesn't corrupt. Otherwise I might think these ignorant fu**ks were being paid off." *RON*]

By Emily Atkin, Think Progress, 3 March 2015

Two very special bills are scheduled for consideration in the House of Representatives on Tuesday: one is called the Secret Science Reform Act, and the other is called theScience Advisory Board Reform Act. Taken together, these bills would significantly change how the Environmental Protection Agency uses science to craft regulations intended to protect the environment and public health.

If it became law, the “Secret Science” bill would prohibit the EPA from using science that includes private data, or data that can’t be easily reproduced. Bill sponsor La…

Three to five cups of coffee a day may prevent heart attacks, says study

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[I AM GOING TO LIVE FOREVER! :-) "Research highlights potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries." *RON*]

Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, 3 March 2015

People who drink three to five cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop clogged arteries that could lead to heart attacks, a study has found.

An international team of researchers, led by the Kangbuk Samsung hospital in Seoul, South Korea, found that people who consume a moderate amount of coffee had the least risk of coronary calcium in their arteries.

Coronary artery calcium (CAC) is an early indicator of coronary atherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which can cause blood clots that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.

Previously concerns had been expressed about a potential increase in heart disease risk associated with drinking coffee, which has been linked to increased cholesterol concentrations and heightened …

B.C. Health Care Worker Layoffs To Affect Nearly 1,200

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[Great to see that Christy Clark's job plan is working out so well for BC workers. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 2 March 2015


BURNABY, B.C. - The union representing health-care workers in British Columbia says nearly 1,200 workers in the Vancouver area will be getting pink slips in the coming months.

The Health Employees' Union says the Ahmon Group has informed more than 240 care aides, nurses, cleaners and dietary workers that it will contract out services at a facility in Surrey, B.C., starting June 1.

The union also says a U.S.-company known as Aramark has lost its contract with Vancouver Coastal Health hospitals and extended care facilities and will lay off 935 staff between Aug. 9 and Sept. 22.

The union has negotiated three successive collective agreements with Aramark, one deal with the Ahmon Group, and doesn't know if the workers will be hired back by the new contractors.

Union leaders are blaming "contractin…

Air of hatred grips Russia as theories abound over Nemtsov’s killing

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["Russian investigators are said to be looking at several possible motives for the murder of Boris Nemtsov.... None, apparently, are related to the fact that the 55-year-old former deputy prime minister was one of President Vladimir Putin’s most determined and outspoken opponents. *RON*]

Mark MacKinnon, The Globe and Mail, 1 March 2015

Russian investigators are said to be looking at several possible motives for the murder of Boris Nemtsov, shot dead Friday in the centre of Moscow. None, apparently, are related to the fact that the 55-year-old former deputy prime minister was one of President Vladimir Putin’s most determined and outspoken opponents.

The tens of thousands who joined a memorial march through the Russian capital on Sunday had no qualms making the connection Russia’s police dare not. The country’s opposition – already tiny, now terrified – is convinced it was Mr. Nemtsov’s politics that got him killed. “Russia without Putin!” ma…