Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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NDPP

Yes, shot down by a US warship illegally inside Iranian waters in 1988, a passenger airbus Iran Airflight 655 with 290 civilians. The reaction from the 'statesman, patriot and true friend to Canada' is above. The commander was awarded a medal. Because it was only brown people murdered, the most critical evaluation was that it was 'a screw-up.' Thanks for remembering WWWTT. Perhaps it will serve as a cautionary lesson if/when we decide to join these psychocidal madmen in USrael's much desired war to come on Iran. Which is likely since our politicians will refuse nothing to neither.

https://youtu.be/lRJnumxuHwY

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Corporate welfare bums: It's payback time

Canada’s welfare state is disintegrating. Meanwhile, Canada’s corporate welfare state has never been stronger.

In his 2018 Fall Economic Report, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that corporations would receive $14 billion in new tax breaks. Enough money to fund a national daycare program is being handed over to the business sector.

Although the rationale is the supposed need to maintain Canada’s competitiveness in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s gargantuan tax cuts, it is actually a question of priorities — or, more accurately, constituencies. The federal government has made it clear to whom it feels accountable.

In a time of record profits, Canadian corporations already receive billions in subsidies every year, not to mention massive corporate tax cuts and loopholes and the roughly $3 billion in taxes that wealthy Canadians and corporations evade through offshore havens on an annual basis. Despite perennial promises by government to crack down, that money continues to accumulate, sloshing around the global economy in an era of unprecedented wealth and inequality....

Sean in Ottawa

epaulo13 wrote:

Corporate welfare bums: It's payback time

Canada’s welfare state is disintegrating. Meanwhile, Canada’s corporate welfare state has never been stronger.

In his 2018 Fall Economic Report, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that corporations would receive $14 billion in new tax breaks. Enough money to fund a national daycare program is being handed over to the business sector.

Although the rationale is the supposed need to maintain Canada’s competitiveness in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s gargantuan tax cuts, it is actually a question of priorities — or, more accurately, constituencies. The federal government has made it clear to whom it feels accountable.

In a time of record profits, Canadian corporations already receive billions in subsidies every year, not to mention massive corporate tax cuts and loopholes and the roughly $3 billion in taxes that wealthy Canadians and corporations evade through offshore havens on an annual basis. Despite perennial promises by government to crack down, that money continues to accumulate, sloshing around the global economy in an era of unprecedented wealth and inequality....

I am not sure that I agree that the welfare state as such is disintegrating or that this is a productive way of saying what is happening.

1) First, Canada's welfare state was never so strong that the climb down could be said to be as extreme as the word suggests. The reality is that for the poorest of the poor, things have changed very little and they are as desperate as they were 40 years ago.

2) Secondly, what we are seeing as a decline is much, much broader than the system of social assistance and related governemnt programs. Due to technology, tax changes, trade policies and more, the disintegration is really most dramatic among lower income but previously quite independent people who remain independent from help from the government.

It is true that social assistance rates have been largely unchanged and so have minimum wages which while they have had a recent catchup in some jurisdictions were long eroded by inflation. In some cases they are slightly above where they were and in some cases slightly below (depending on which years you look at). Social assistance in some cases is slightly better (Quebec for a single person had a social assistance rate of $171/month in 1985) while in most cases is below but more stagnant than declining.

So where is the "disintegration"?

As I was saying it is not the bottom fifth of property and income that has seen the most decline. It is two other groups:

First, the next fifth up from that-- the 21st-40th ranked incomes have suffered tremendously. These, in many cases, were the old above minimum hourly waged workers, some unionized and some not, who did not make good wages before but were nevertheless a chunk above minimum. These are the people who made $10 an hour when minimum wage was about $5 an hour and often supported families on those incomes. Many of those people are  much closer to minimum now and few jobs are in the range they were in today. They used to be described as the lower middle income earners. Their wages stagnated, their jobs disappeared and so did what many saw as a stepping stone to what they thought of as middle class.

The next group are those above this group who had decent private sector unionized work. They were right in the middle income range the middle 20%. The unions that remain are struggling to keep any jobs at all as wages are rolled back or lose pace. The vast majority of this work is gone -- or going.

This is what many have termed the hollowing out of the so-called "middle class."

During this time inflation has failed as a statistic. It has been held down by imports of products and automation: electronics, clothing and the like made cheaper for the better off at the cost of workers here. Those who spend the majority of their income on housing, food and energy have seen how prices have risen dramatically and many of those spend a lower percentage of their incomes on electronics, new clothes and many of the other things that have become cheaper as their incomes go more and more to the necessities. Many have had to move to or remain in the largest cities where rents, even when shared, consumeup to 80% of income and much of their days are spent communting.

Reduced hourly work weeks have shaved5 hours from a 40 hour week to a 35 hour week although hourly workers did not get a boost in pay. Minimum wages, were long ago based on the 40 hour week but many workers struggle to get barely over a quarter of the hours now.

No, it is not the system of welfare that is disintegrating most, affecting the very bottom incomes most. It is true that they are desperate, although they have always been unacceptably so. It is the next group up: the people who, healthy and capable, through their own efforts used to expect a decent life, who can no longer aspire to that. These are the people the government has ignored, deregulated.

It is essential that we understand this group. They are furious at what they see as handouts to the poorest, when they are prevented from making it. They often support right wing reactionary policies against those who are just a little worse off than they are. They often politically support the policies that help the very rich costing the poorest becuase they are angry about being ignored. No, the myth is wrong and they did not support Trump in the last election in the US, but the story is believable becuase the sentiment of alienation is there. This is also true in Canada. Their alienation hurts the poorest becuase the assistance to the poorest, ignoring the next group up, divides politically those who need progressive policies.

The politics of division continue as each government lurches to some voting subclass. In the last federal rejigging of the tax rates, the federal government helped families with young children in the 40,000-70,000 range and individuals over 70,000 while screwing families with older kids and individuals below 40,000 once again. The policies here are like giving a single meal to ten hungry people -- it will not go well but as a group they will not be a threat as they fight among themselves. Other people's eyes glaze over with the details of who got help and who did not.

Governments are statisfied with wide-ranging desperation so long as the people do not consume social assistance. Governments want to raise up the lowest just so they can struggle and fail on their own rather than consume assistance. The policies of this and past governments have been to make destroy those in the middle income range, driving them down just short of welfare but not quite; just short of homelessness, but using all their incomes to couch surf if needed.

No, really, it is society that is disintegrating as wealth and income is becoming more and more concentrated. The poorest are a casualty, making little or no progress in their horrible position, but the war is on the people above them.

It is a clever strategy. The lowest rung you have to help just a little, as they will fight back when they have nothing left to lose. The next rung up you have to suppress. These are the people who would have had tools to fight back at the unfairness. You have to keep them from rising enough to want more and be able to get it. By giving crumbs to the poorest, the wealthier can feel okay even as the hidden lower middle is squeezed. Of course, this middle has a lot of people in it and squeezing them is devastating to the long term. You could never accuse the wealthy of giving a shit about the long term otherwise they would care more about sustainability, not just socially but also environmentally.

NDPP

The Real Face of Justin Trudeau    -     by Ramzy Baroud

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/12/13/the-real-face-of-justin-trudeau-...

"Are Palestinians Canada's new Jews?"

Pondering

Excellent post Sean. Do you have any ideas about reaching the groups we need for electoral success?

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

Excellent post Sean. Do you have any ideas about reaching the groups we need for electoral success?

This is a good question. I don't have a perfect answer although I have suggestions.

To combat the politics of division you need holistic policies. This is much easier said than done. A huge problem is the way politics are being done. I have spoken about this in other posts. The advanced data the Conservatives and the Liberals are working with leads to divisive policies as they segment the population and choose boutique policies to create maximum political benefit at lowest cost. The Conservatives began this with transit, fitness and cultural credits but all the parties are involved in this. The Liberals did it in their tax policies and the NDP, while they lack the advanced data to calculate which policies would create maximum benefit frequently do the same, as a result of interest lobbying on the party.

Instead of a myriad of micro divisive policies, looking at solutions that affect more of the population are more helpful. Adding pharmacare, dentistry and eyecare services to health plans is an example of a policy that affects more people with less division. Public transit is another that can affect people in more than one income group. Tax back benefits rather than using means testing has long been a part of universal policies designed to benefit more than divide. Instead of targeting individual policies to specific groups make them much broader and tax back the support in excess. This allows people across a broad range to be involved in a benefit even if some net less than others based on their income.

As I said this is not easy though. Designing a policy like a minimum income has a dividing line somewhere. However, even this policy is wider and can be designed to tail off rather than stop abruptly (allowing earned income not to be removed dollar for dollar). Still if we separate tax policies which are designed to make people a little more equal and rely on those rather than specific benefit policies that divide people this is a start. It is also more efficient. Tax policies and income support policies such as income assistance and minimum incomes ought to be the primary leveling policies and can be as aggressive as we want. There is no need to make other policies divisive. the one exception ought to be environmental behaviour. A party founded on this principle could be a positive thing. The NDP, which long proclaimed the value of universal programs and more aggressive tax and support programs could reaffirm this commitment. All parties from a different perspective of the desired amount of economic leveling could take the same position. It is certainly no incompatible with the Liberals party although the charity over entitlement focus of the Conservatives makes it a harder sell there but this is not insurmountable.

I cannot say that any federal party is really using what we can call the individual equalization policies only and making other policies universal right now. The reason for this has been apparent in previous conversations you and I have had over universality. The objection comes primarily from the fact that taxes would need to be increased overall in order to make programs more universal otherwise the cost for doing so would be unbearable. This is a point you made previously saying that the appetite for the broad tax increases just were not there. As you remember, you and I were not able to resolve this and come to an agreement.

One possible option would be to review the way the tax system is communicated. It is presented as contribution in the way of contribution according to ability and reception according to need. This may be part of the problem given that this socialistic representation is out of step with the national culture, even if popular here. An alternative would be to reduce taxes dramatically and replace them with a national social insurance program. The social insurance program would be assessed like tax but communicated as insurance. It would also make it harder to cut as people will be paying for it.

Social insurance could be for the following things:

Income, employment, health (including dental, pharmacare, eyecare), higher education, transit, housing. A populist from the left could institute this program indicating how much you pay for each. It would tie specific benefits to premiums. Since income and employment are included making it affordable for everyone, those premiums can be flat costs provided to everyone.

One way of looking at this is with the institution of a minimum income, basic tax could be flatter supplemented by taxes on higher incomes.

Greater understanding of what people were paying and what they were getting would make universal policies and taxes easier to implement.

Also a left populist could adopt some of the principles of social credit - minimum income was already one of them (although not in the form it is today). The form is the concept of each of us being a social shareholder. With a basic income, all people would also become taxpayers so the division that now exists socially between contributors to these things and beneficiaries would be removed. Each Canadian should get prior to their taxes and easy-to-read prospectus, not from the government in the form of a budget but from the auditor general saying the broad areas where money was spent. People have a right to know and a need to know to engage in democratic debate. The lack of this information is what makes election and promises a degree of farce as knowledge is an essential part of choice and consent.

Some of my views are similar to what you could imagine being what a left version of the ideas of social credit would look like. they are in that sense very populist. They also trust the public more with knowledge.

This is just an initial reaction to your very good question.

quizzical

wow good posts Sean gotta do some thinking now.

Pondering

quizzical wrote:

wow good posts Sean gotta do some thinking now.

Yeah me too. Will probably take a couple of days and more than one post to respond with as many questions as comments.

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