Showing posts from March 31, 2015

Poverty shrinks brains from birth

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[Studies show that children from low-income families have smaller brains and lower cognitive abilities. "The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin, Brain Droppings. *RON*]

By Sara Reardon and Nature magazine, Scientific American, 31 March 2015
The stress of growing up poor can hurt a child’s brain development starting before birth, research suggests—and even very small differences in income can have major effects on the brain.

Researchers have long suspected that children’s behaviour and cognitive abilities are linked to their socioeconomic status, particularly for those who are very poor. The reasons have never been clear, although stressful home environments, poor nutrition, exposure to industrial chemicals such as lead and lack of access to good education are often cited as possible factors.

In the largest study of its kind, published on March 30 in Nature Neuroscience, a…

Robert Reich: The Rich Don't Work Anymore—Working Is for Poor People

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[The poor are just lazy and the rich just work harder than everyone else, right? A large portion of the super-rich have never broken a sweat. *RON*]

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog / AlterNet, 31 March 2015

Many believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy. As Speaker John Boehner has said, the poor have a notion that “I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.”

In reality, a large and growing share of the nation’s poor work full time — sometimes sixty or more hours a week – yet still don’t earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

It’s also commonly believed, especially among Republicans, that the rich deserve their wealth because they work harder than others.

In reality, a large and growing portion of the super-rich have never broken a sweat. Their wealth has been handed to them.

The rise of these two groups — the working poor and non-work…

Canadian Corporate Profit Margins At 27-Year High, Thanks To Low Loonie, Soft Labour Costs

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[So, if the Canadian economy is shrinking, and the Provinces are offsetting the losses in taxes to the rich given away by Ottawa by raising taxes on the average Joe and cutting even more services, yet corporations are laughing their way to the bank based on falling wages and a shrinking loonie, who do you suppose is getting screwed? 90% of Canadians. Thank you once again Mister Harper! *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 31 March 2015

TORONTO - CIBC World Markets says corporate profit margins hit a 27-year high in the fourth quarter and are likely to remain strong despite the recent softening in the economy due to the oil price shock.

According to a new study released Tuesday, the average profit margin of all non-financial corporations rose to 8.2 per cent of sales in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Even after excluding the recently hard-hit energy sector, it says profit margins are currently at their highest in almost three decades at 7.6 p…

John Baird To Join Canadian Pacific Railway Board Of Directors

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["...a position that pays at least $235,000 a year" for a few committee meetings. A transparent show of how the corporatocracy works for Canadian politicians. First Barrick Gold, now CPR, let's see who's next - SNC Lavalin perhaps? Do you see the connection to the story on how Canadian corporate profits are at a 27-year high? A nice counterpoint is this new article on Ayn Rand and how "the battle is between the producer and the moochers, and it must end in life or death." *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 30 March 2015

CALGARY - John Baird continues to deepen his ties with corporate Canada.

The former Conservative cabinet minister is among 13 nominees to the expanded board of directors at Canadian Pacific Railway's (TSX:CP), a position that pays at least $235,000 a year.

The 45-year-old ex-politician, who officially retired March 16 after most recently serving as foreign affairs minister, was listed …

GALLERY: Police confront austerity protesters in Quebec City

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[Photos of the recent anti-austerity student protests in Quebec City and the young woman who was hit in the face with a tear-gas canister. *RON*]
By Amanda Kelly Global News, 27 March 2015

It started peacefully with demonstrators reading poetry — but very quickly turned into a stand off between protesters and police.

Bank of Canada head says oil's effect on economy 'atrocious'

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[Gosh I wonder why Joe Oliver hasn't released that pre-election budget yet? :-) See also Provinces will offset 75% of Ottawa's tax cuts: BMO: "the provincial budgets unveiled in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Quebec have announced a collective $2 billion in tax hikes on citizens, or cuts to services, to balance the books — part of a new fiscal age prompted by lower oil prices." Also see Canada's Economy Shrank In January Amid Widespread Slowdown*RON*], 31 March 2015

TORONTO (Reuters) — The head of the Bank of Canada said a slump in oil prices is having an "atrocious" effect on the Canadian economy but a cheaper currency and incipient U.S. revival should help exports drive a recovery, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Governor Stephen Poloz said in an interview with the newspaper that the central bank still had many options to help the economy if needed. These included pledges to…