Austerity coming to Ontario

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..yes but i see little choice. do you?

eta:

..sorry deb, i didn't mean to take this lightly. i really don't see an alternative other than accepting what comes down. we can't negotiate our way out of these austarity measures nor vote our way out.

 

deb93

epaulo13 wrote:

..yes but i see little choice. do you?

eta:

..sorry deb, i didn't mean to take this lightly. i really don't see an alternative other than accepting what comes down. we can't negotiate our way out of these austarity measures nor vote our way out.

 

I'm not suggesting that it's a wrong strategy, just that it's difficult to do.

It requires that people shut down the province - ie, most of us go without pay, buy no goods, everybody suffers, so it's hard to motivate people to that with unknowns on the other side, particularly those with kids.

Just sayin ...

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

ygtbk wrote:

The Harper cuts in GST were widely criticized as regressive at the time.

Only by people who don't know what "regressive" means in the context of taxation. The same people who think McGuilty should increase the provincial sales tax, rather than increasing the progressive income tax rates.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

deb93 wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:

..yes but i see little choice. do you?

eta:

..sorry deb, i didn't mean to take this lightly. i really don't see an alternative other than accepting what comes down. we can't negotiate our way out of these austarity measures nor vote our way out.

 

I'm not suggesting that it's a wrong strategy, just that it's difficult to do. It requires that people shut down the province - ie, most of us go without pay, buy no goods, everybody suffers, so it's hard to motivate people to that with unknowns on the other side, particularly those with kids. Just sayin ...

..i agree, i was too quick to throw that shutting down the province thing out there. in my mind if the austerity goes to plan both federally and provincially there will be more shrinking of an economy that has already begun to shrink. in turn this will require more unemployment and then even more austerity, more squeezing. surviving this is difficult as well on a whole lot of levels. i just can't see people putting up with it.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

The Harper cuts in GST were widely criticized as regressive at the time.

Only by people who don't know what "regressive" means in the context of taxation. The same people who think McGuilty should increase the provincial sales tax, rather than increasing the progressive income tax rates.

I was thinking of examples like this:

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/my-15-minutes-c...

and this:

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publication...

Take a look at Table 1 on page 4, for example. Their argument at the time was that cutting GST was regressive because high-income families benefitted more. If their numbers are correct an increase in HST (same base as GST) would hit higher-income families harder than lower income families.

The combined federal-provincial sales tax rate was 15% in Ontario from 1991 to 2005, and it wasn't dogs-and-cats-living-together apocalyptic. We could go back to that level. People would scream at Dalton for breaking an election promise, but he really ought to be used to it by now.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Yes, I'm well aware of the failings of the CCPA on this issue. As you said, "If their numbers are correct an increase in HST (same base as GST) would hit higher-income families harder than lower income families." That's so patently not the case that it proves they were wrong. 

Sineed

The report also recommends "alternative service delivery" ie privatization in some ministries. And it says that bumping rights are an impediment to the most efficient deployment of the civil service. Is Drummond indirectly recommending the gov't take on OPSEU?

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

Yes, I'm well aware of the failings of the CCPA on this issue. As you said, "If their numbers are correct an increase in HST (same base as GST) would hit higher-income families harder than lower income families." That's so patently not the case that it proves they were wrong. 

Are you saying Table 1 on page 4 of the CCPA report linked to above is wrong? If so, do you have proof? Asserting that they're wrong is not the same as proving that they're wrong.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

This is not the thread for such a discussion. We have discussed the regressive nature of the GST/HST and consumption taxes in general in many previous threads. I would be happy to discuss this with you in another thread on that topic.

But since I have prolonged the thread drift with this post anyway, I will at least point out that according to Table 1 on Page 4 almost 63% of the benefit of a GST reduction goes to those in the lower two brackets of income shown in the table. The "average" individual benefit is lower because there are so many more people in the lower two brackets than in the higher ones. Wealthy families receive a higher average benefit in straight dollar terms, but what the table doesn't reveal is how the average dollar-value benefits translate into percentage of family income. For example, a benefit of $129 to a family living on $25,000 a year is a higher percentage of income than a benefit of $500 to a family living on $100,000 a year. That's because the GST takes a proportionately bigger bite out of low income families than out of high-income ones - the very definition of regressive taxation.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

This is not the thread for such a discussion. We have discussed the regressive nature of the GST/HST and consumption taxes in general in many previous threads. 

Apparently Jim Stanford (considered by many to be a progressive economist) didn't get the memo, since in the link above he argued that cutting GST (a la Harper) was regressive. Pity. Perhaps he knows that basic items like groceries are exempt, and is aware of the following programs?

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/gsthst/fq_qlfyng-eng.html

http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/en/credit/stc/

And your example is not very convincing: 129 / 25000 is so close to 500 / 100000 that no-one would notice the difference.

I also disagree entirely with your relevance assessment. The current Ontario deficit is about $16 billion per year. If we could cut that by say $5 billion per year (a rough estimate - is there an economist in the house?) by taking one single step, then we've reduced the austerity problem considerably, wouldn't you say?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The deficit is caused by corporate tax cuts and subsidies for the rich.

Raising consumption taxes makes the workers pay disproportionately to their income and disproportionately to their responsibility for the economic mess that capitalism now finds itself in (namely zero).

Your suggestion is obscene.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

Your suggestion is obscene.

I do not think this word means what you think it means.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

The deficit is caused by corporate tax cuts and subsidies for the rich.

True

M. Spector wrote:
Raising consumption taxes makes the workers pay disproportionately to their income and disproportionately to their responsibility for the economic mess that capitalism now finds itself in (namely zero).

In Canada I would think this is true of consumption taxes. The neoliberal ideology here says that cutting taxes in general will enhance business activities and job creationm, even though there is no proof of that. Their HST does little to improve the situation for manufacturing in Ontario. Big business leaders in Canada are all for raising consumption taxes when the feds say they need money to fund program spending, just so long as corporate taxes and taxes for high income earners remain low. NIMBY is their attitude on taxes.

Nordic countries, otoh, have made good use of consumption taxes while maintaining low corporate taxes and low tax rates on capital in general. Social democrat governments in Sweden and Denmark have been committed to fully funding social spending through consumption taxes and at higher rates than here.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

[url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/obscene]Abominable, disgusting, repulsive[/url]

As a rational response to the suggestion that we consider whether Ontario might return to its 2005 level of combined PST/GST (=HST), this strikes me as just a tad over the top. 

Fidel

Here is what economist Erin Weir said in 2010 about raising GST:

Raise My Taxes

Erin Weir wrote:
If the choice is between raising consumption taxes or cutting public services, then progressives obviously should prefer higher consumption taxes. However, I do not think that increasing the GST ought to be our top priority.

As Michael Bliss notes in today's Globe, "the GST, being a consumption tax, is fairly regressive." Of course, an enhanced GST credit could compensate the poor. But a higher GST would be rather ineffective at redistributing money from wealthy Canadians and foreign shareholders.

In Weir's opinion the issue of raising taxes should not be limited to consumption taxes. We should be looking at more progressive options, like raising income taxes for the wealthy and profitable corporations.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

ygtbk wrote:

M. Spector wrote:

[url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/obscene]Abominable, disgusting, repulsive[/url]

As a rational response to the suggestion that we consider whether Ontario might return to its 2005 level of combined PST/GST (=HST), this strikes me as just a tad over the top.

Not over the top at all. It's a perfectly rational and reasonable reaction to anybody who comes here and touts austerity measures designed to make the workers pay for the financial crisis caused by the greed of their bosses.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

M. Spector wrote:

[url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/obscene]Abominable, disgusting, repulsive[/url]

As a rational response to the suggestion that we consider whether Ontario might return to its 2005 level of combined PST/GST (=HST), this strikes me as just a tad over the top.

Not over the top at all. It's a perfectly rational and reasonable reaction to anybody who comes here and touts austerity measures designed to make the workers pay for the financial crisis caused by the greed of their bosses.

Please consider posts #23 and #37. Ontario has specific problems that could have been averted if the McGuinty Liberals had had a clue about what they were doing. It's not a virtuous workers vs. greedy bosses problem - otherwise, you'd expect to see all the provinces with the same level of deficit as Ontario - it's a fiscal mismanagement problem. In particular, spending expanded too fast - if it had grown in line with population and inflation we'd have no problem to discuss here, because Ontario would be in surplus.

So, given that we don't have a time machine to send a very serious letter from 2012 Dalton back to 2003 Dalton, what should we do? I think returning to the status quo ante of 2005 on sales tax is a reasonable suggestion: more reasonable than believing that we're going to close the whole gap purely through spending restraint over multiple terms of government.

ygtbk

Fidel wrote:

Here is what economist Erin Weir said in 2010 about raising GST:

Raise My Taxes

Erin Weir wrote:
If the choice is between raising consumption taxes or cutting public services, then progressives obviously should prefer higher consumption taxes. However, I do not think that increasing the GST ought to be our top priority.

As Michael Bliss notes in today's Globe, "the GST, being a consumption tax, is fairly regressive." Of course, an enhanced GST credit could compensate the poor. But a higher GST would be rather ineffective at redistributing money from wealthy Canadians and foreign shareholders.

In Weir's opinion the issue of raising taxes should not be limited to consumption taxes. We should be looking at more progressive options, like raising income taxes for the wealthy and profitable corporations.

Certainly Weir's opinion is also the Brian Topp / Nathan Cullen federal position (probably other candidates as well):

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20120219/ndp-leadership-nathan-cullen-1...

Grandpa_Bill

In contrast to the understanding that the general public has of taxes, this discussion of HST is very nuanced.

I suggest that regardless of whether HST is progressive or regressive, most people hear proposals to decrease HST as confirmation of the conservative premise that, in general, lower taxes are better taxes and that "there is no such thing as a good tax."

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The problem is with so-called progressives who think there is no such thing as a bad tax.

ygtbk wrote:
I think returning to the status quo ante of 2005 on sales tax is a reasonable suggestion: more reasonable than believing that we're going to close the whole gap purely through spending restraint over multiple terms of government.

Of course those are not the only two alternatives. The whole gap can be closed by raising the progressive income tax and making the rich pay.

You may not like that idea, however, [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/ontario/austerity-coming-ontario#comment-1318438... your apparent indifference[/url] to the prospect of families with $25,000 annual income paying the same rate of tax as families with $100,000 income, thanks to regressive consumption taxes like the GST.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

The problem is with so-called progressives who think there is no such thing as a bad tax.

ygtbk wrote:
I think returning to the status quo ante of 2005 on sales tax is a reasonable suggestion: more reasonable than believing that we're going to close the whole gap purely through spending restraint over multiple terms of government.

Of course those are not the only two alternatives. The whole gap can be closed by raising the progressive income tax and making the rich pay.

You may not like that idea, however, [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/ontario/austerity-coming-ontario#comment-1318438... your apparent indifference[/url] to the prospect of families with $25,000 annual income paying the same rate of tax as families with $100,000 income, thanks to regressive consumption taxes like the GST.

If families with incomes of $25,000 pay the same rate of tax as families with incomes of $100,000, that is by definition proportional, not regressive. A per-capita tax (poll tax) would be regressive. I think you probably knew that. And I notice that when I mention income tax credits for GST/HST and exemptions for basics like groceries you tend to ignore the valid point that I've made. However...

To address your main point, I never said that increasing HST was the only possible action: just that (given that Ontarians were paying 15% combined PST/GST as recently as 2005) it might be a (relatively) painless starting point for fixing Dalton's mess.

But I'm interested: what would the top marginal income tax rate in Ontario have to be to close the $16 billion annual deficit?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

ygtbk wrote:

If families with incomes of $25,000 pay the same rate of tax as families with incomes of $100,000, that is by definition proportional, not regressive.

And a proportional or flat tax is certainly not progressive. Under a progressive taxation system, the rich pay a higher rate of tax than the poor. That's what "tax brackets" are all about. That's what a fair tax policy means.

Quote:
To address your main point, I never said that increasing HST was the only possible action: just that (given that Ontarians were paying 15% combined PST/GST as recently as 2005) it might be a (relatively) painless starting point for fixing Dalton's mess.

There was nothing "painless" about a 15% PST/GST in 2005. Raising consumption taxes by 2% is precisely the kind of austerity measure that hits the poor harder than the rich.

Quote:
But I'm interested: what would the top marginal income tax rate in Ontario have to be to close the $16 billion annual deficit?

I don't know for sure, and I don't much care, because I certainly wouldn't be paying it. Andrea Horwath says Ontario lost $2 billion in revenue to corporate tax cuts alone. Sid Ryan says restoring the corporate tax rate to 14% "could balance the books without job loss or cuts to services". And Linda McQuaig draws our attention to a study published last fall in The Journal of Economic Perspectives:

McQuaig wrote:
Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond of MIT and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California (Berkeley) concluded that the optimal top marginal tax rate would be 70 per cent, since it would collect the most revenue without reducing work incentives or increasing tax evasion. (The top marginal rate in Ontario today is 46 per cent - compared to 70 per cent and higher during the Golden Age of Capitalism.)...

An Angus Reid poll commissioned by CUPE found that while Ontarians generally oppose higher taxes, 90 per cent favour higher taxes on those with incomes above $500,000.

Grandpa_Bill

This comment today on Rabble from Michael Laxer:

"McGuinty, sensing perhaps that the [Drummond report] would be nasty, tried to do the usual preparation for its impact in January, by telling everyone that they would all have to "share the pain" when the austerity regime started. But never has this rhetoric been less true. There is no 'sharing' that will occur. Millions of people will have their lives impacted in ways that will range from the severe, in the case of the poor, to the serious, in the case of much of the middle class. . . . For austerity to have an impact on the lives of the wealthy like it will on the rest of us, taxes would have to be massively increased and laws put in place to remind corporations of their social responsibility to the society that created them and that they could not have existed without."

Laxer castigates the NDP for not exposing McGuinty's narrative for what it is, namely, a cover story for the 1%.

Is there a, "Yes, but . . ." reply to Laxer's criticism?

ygtbk

@ M. Spector:

1) Different people can rationally disagree on what constitutes fair tax policy - the babble threads on "guaranteed basic income" are a case in point.

2) The statement "I don't know for sure, and I don't much care, because I certainly wouldn't be paying it." is not really consistent with your previous statement "The whole gap can be closed by raising the progressive income tax and making the rich pay". I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation to get the top marginal personal income tax rate to close a $16 billion gap and the results implied a mass exodus from Ontario.

3) I agree that there's some room to raise corporate taxes in Ontario, since the rate was 14% as recently as 2010. See:

http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/medt/investinontario/en/Pages/bctx_605.aspx

I don't know if a corporate rate of 14% is enough to close the gap - do you have a link to any study that Sid Ryan might be citing?

4) You can read the Diamond and Saez paper here:

http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/diamond-saezJEP11opttax.pdf

A couple of points of interest:

a) The paper derives a mid-range estimate of 73% optimal top marginal tax rate on labour income (see page 7). However, they do not derive an optimal top marginal rate on capital income (see pages 14-22, which basically argue that previous results in the literature are not relevant) and then come up with the remarkably weak conclusion:

"The bottom line is that uncertain future earnings opportunities argue against zero taxation of capital income, as do savings preference heterogeneity, limited distinctions between capital and labor incomes, and borrowing constraints."

In other words, interest, dividends, and capital gains should be taxed at some rate greater than zero, but they don't know what it is.

b) The paper deals with a single-period model, i.e. people don't have long-range responses to the optimal tax rates (see page 11). As Diamond & Saez acknowledge, a more progressive tax system could reduce incentives to accumulate human capital in the first place (also see page 11). I would add that people might vote with their feet and move to a different jurisdiction with lower tax rates.

ygtbk

I am now certain that we'll see some tax increases in the next provincial budget:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/21/mcguinty-tax-promise-no-hike_n_1...

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Michael Laxer wrote:
But what is fascinating about the report is that the reaction to it has been akin to the reaction to a hurricane or some other unavoidable though unfortunate force of nature. Much of it has accepted its basic premises (even when somewhat critical) and has promoted it as a "bitter pill" that was overdue.

The "progressive" Toronto Star has had the Drummond Report as a link under its own masthead on its website since it came out. Some of its less interesting commentators, such as Martin Cohn, have written nonsensical articles with idiotic narratives about the "chickens coming home to roost" economically, etc. The National Post, Globe and the Toronto Sun, hardly surprisingly, have embraced its recommendations with a glee bordering on the obscene. It is as if they cannot wait to take these programs away from people and to watch life become that much harder for Ontario's citizens.

The report seeks to make constant the false ideas that neo-conservatives used to deconstruct the post-war social compromise, and it seeks to do so as a kind of permanent counter-revolution against the gains of workers and other groups economically that were the dominant ideological hegemony and narrative after the Second World War and until the mid-1980s.

But the report did not fall out of the sky and its defenders are not merely post-modern Chicken Littles. It is the outcome of an ongoing process of ideological re-education within the developed West that seeks to both reverse any traces of economic Social Democracy (in the traditional sense of the term) and that also seeks to make perpetual economic turmoil a constant so as to subsidize the lifestyles of people exactly like Don Drummond and so as to aid in the shareholder-return-driven amoral culture of profit that has destroyed the North American industrial base, wiped out the communities and jobs that existed for so many and that has successfully made even "left" parties sing its tune.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

More from Laxer's article:

Quote:
For austerity to have an impact on the lives of the wealthy like it will on the rest of us, taxes would have to be massively increased and laws put in place to remind corporations of their social responsibility to the society that created them and that they could not have existed without.

Instead, not a single party in mainstream "left"-thinking is calling for anything like this at all.

They have completely capitulated to the forward march of the relentless neo-liberal economic logic of tax cuts, service cuts, deregulation, anti-unionism and much more....

As with the Democrats in the U.S. and most of the Socialist and Social Democratic parties in Europe, the Liberals and the NDP have bought into almost every fundamental aspect of the new ideological order and, by doing so, have created and helped to perpetuate the very ideas and philosophies that hinder them in their pursuit not only of power but of actually making a difference and being anything other than a last defence against the "storm."

They have aided in their rhetoric, their platforms and, most importantly in their acceptance of the basic premises of the neo-liberal right, in perpetuating the ideological and social ideas that allowed this report to be taken seriously at all, which it would not have 30 years ago (despite the fact that our economy has supposedly "grown" so much in the meantime).

They have helped in every meaningful way to manufacture the world that created Don Drummond.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..txs m. spector

Zahra1

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/gary_mason...

 

This is a comment on a forum. since the link doesn't take one directly to this message I am quoting the whole comment: 

"Mou1

10:51 PM on February 25, 2012

I really wish that media pay more attention to the size of Ontario Public Service and whether it is producing value for the money that it spends on wages and if not why not. 
If Ontario had spent its resources adequately, many problems that we have right now wouldn’t have existed and we wouldn’t have needed to spend as much money now to resolve problems in Ontario. 

Most of the cost of services is wages however the Ontario Public Service has not been producing value for the wages that it has been paying. 
Most of their management do not have training for management and there is also this culture of hiring their friends. 

The are supposed to be hiring employees with right skills to deliver services to Ontarians however instead ,a lot of hiring is about who they want to hire and not about what skills needed to provide the right services to the Ontario public. Result of hiring employees for their closeness to management and not for their qualifications is that these employees won’t have the skills to serve the public instead resources of Ontario public is used to provide jobs for the friends of SOMEBODY. 

Ontario Public service is full of unqualified employees. If they start hiring qualified employees and replace the unqualified management then they can produce much more than what they are producing presently with the current resources and they wouldn’t need as much resources for what they are producing currently. There have been extensive focus on EHealth and Ornge and how a group of people have misused the public fund in these organizations. Isn’t using public fund to give your friends jobs that they are not qualified for a form of misuse of public fund? If in average the wages and other cost of each employee who is hired this way add up to 130K a year/employee and then multiply that with number of people hired without qualifications then what would this add up to each year, it would be a big chunk of public money each year. I wonder why media is not paying attention to hiring at OPS. There are big stories to bring to the attention of Ontarians. 

I think changes are needed but most of current management are not equipped to plan and implement changes. Ontario Pubic Service would need to replace a large number of its management."

 

Grandpa_Bill

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

I mistrust rich people telling the rest of us to be austere, when everyone knows they don't pay their own way.

Amen!  Though for your word rich, I would substitute the word richer.  For example, I mistrusted working-class stiffs who voted for Mike Harris' Common Sense Revolution, which targetted welfare moms.  Those richer folk didn't realize that their own ox was being gored.  What's to be done about that, eh?!

 

Rabble_Incognito

I mistrust rich people telling the rest of us to be austere, when everyone knows they don't pay their own way, like former TD bank economists. Some might think this is argument is about the man, and yes, it is. We have good reason to believe people like Drummond are motivated by riches and unfettered transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich - they are bank employees. So when they make suggestions for the rest of us to accept austerity, it is surely to make them and their colleagues wealthy - we have reason to be skeptical.

 

 

Rabble_Incognito

I dunno about that crowd Grandpa_Bill - I don't know how to heal what ails them, except perhaps through education. My experience is that some elements of society will discard the weaker members in times of stress, probably because they'll put up less of a fight - like single moms, the disabled, etc. I remember those Harris years and they were awful.

I guess I'd tell the working class guy, that tory means robber. And what they do is, they take from the public purse, don't like to pay taxes and generally represent the interests of the elite, the rich, people who make money with their money, and don't have to work for it. The problem is, an entrenched discussant won't abide my remarks. Teachers will tell you that there are some students that just don't want to learn. So I'd keep my response pithy and not waste time on the foolish. If you have a lot of foolish people going out to the polls, then fill up your car with New Democrats and take them to the polling station to offset the march of the clowns.

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/is-this-the-end-of-mar...

 

Freedom 55

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

My experience is that some elements of society will discard the weaker members in times of stress, probably because they'll put up less of a fight - like single moms, the disabled, etc. I remember those Harris years and they were awful.

 

I disagree. All you need to do is look at the history of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (as just one example) to see that's not the case. Marginalized groups become targets and scapegoats, not because they won't fight back, but because the rich know that, by and large, people outside of those targetted groups won't join that fight in any meaningful way.

Freedom 55

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Freedom_55, I didn't say they wouldn't fight. I said they put up 'less of a fight'. And their weakness, with or without OCAP, is why they are picked on.

 

I understood your comment, I just disagreed with it. If someone has fought harder against the austerity regimes of Harris/Eves/McGuinty than First Nations groups, the poor, and disabled, I'm not sure who that would be. And it's not about being 'weak'. It's about being marginalized by the rest of society.

 

 

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Regarding the class struggle...I submit that marching around isn't a fight

 

 

Quoted for truth.

Rabble_Incognito

Freedom 55 wrote:

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

My experience is that some elements of society will discard the weaker members in times of stress, probably because they'll put up less of a fight - like single moms, the disabled, etc. I remember those Harris years and they were awful.

I disagree. All you need to do is look at the history of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (as just one example) to see that's not the case. Marginalized groups become targets and scapegoats, not because they won't fight back, but because the rich know that, by and large, people outside of those targetted groups won't join that fight in any meaningful way.

Freedom_55, I didn't say they wouldn't fight. I said they put up 'less of a fight'. And their weakness, with or without OCAP, is why they are picked on. So you can add OCAP into the equation but it only muddies the waters. Ultimately even OCAPs presence wasn't enough to stop treating the disabled or single moms as scapegoats.

Regarding the class struggle...I submit that marching around isn't a fight unless it impacts the rich economically, therefore closing a port, in my view, that is called a real 'fight'. Marching is nice, but it's a form of education, and you can't educate people who don't want to learn. Further, you can't learn from someone you don't respect. Therefore, the rich are not going to learn from either single moms, the disabled, or OCAP, because the rich don't respect them.

You can see the roots of this stuff in Germany in the 30's and 40's. I would even extend myself and say, that 'only' people who are perceived as weak are attacked. Look at unions right now - everyone is trying to hold their head above water...why? Because the ruling class, the elite, view unions as weak right now - and the general public does too. That's why you are going to see more of it, unless, and this may play into your point Freedom_55, unless they can get their acts together for a 'general' strike.

To get the rich to respect your case, you just gotta make them fear your power. A general strike, or job actions, or massive numbers of people will all meet that requirement.

Rabble_Incognito

Freedom 55 wrote:

 And it's not about being 'weak'. It's about being marginalized by the rest of society.

It is about the language most suitable to describe the conflict.

  1. I prefer 'weakness' because it captures feelings of conflict and perhaps despair, in a way that 'marginalization' fails to do, with a 66% savings on syllables.
  2. 'Weakness' suggests a disparity of power in a way that marginalization doesn't - weakness is relative to the strong, in this case the economically strong. Weakness also speaks to the predator/prey opportunism of the situation - we know predators kill weaker animals and the rich feeding on the poor is not a new metaphor in class struggle discussions. So it is perhaps a bit more evocative, but not technically incorrect.

Perhaps so as to not quibble, we could agree that tories generally pick 'low lying fruit'?

 

Grandpa_Bill

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

I mistrust rich people telling the rest of us to be austere, when everyone knows they don't pay their own way, like former TD bank economists. 

I'm quoting RI again.  His comment didn't focus on who was or wasn't weak or who did or didn't fight.  It focused on whom we ought trust.

This is what strikes me:  If all of us commenting on this thread (and some other threads that I have been reading) trusted one another, we wouldn't be dealing with each other abusively.  So, in my mind, these questions arise:  Why don't we trust one another?  How and when did this mistrust come about?  Who gains from our mistrust?  What can we do about it?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

What's your real motive for asking all these questions? [img]http://archive.rabble.ca/babble/wink.gif[/img]

autoworker autoworker's picture

As Bay St. profits from Western energy plays, Eastern manufacturing positions have become increasingly untenable, so we're told. As Ontario attempts to hold expenditures to less than 3%, revenues are contracting while health care costs (which account for more than 40% of the budget, and increasing as a percentage) expand by more than double that rate. Basic math dictates that revenues need to increase, or program spending needs to be reduced. So, what are the priorities in terms of program spending? Will Ontario now have to compete with other 'have not' Provinces for revenue transfers, in order to maintain services at current levels? Ontario needs a plan to address this fiscal imbalance.

Grandpa_Bill

autoworker wrote:

Ontario needs a plan to address this fiscal imbalance.

Sure.  And what is our plan for moving the Province in that direction?  Between now and the next provincial election, what's to be done by us to move forward the notion that, as you say, revenues need to increase?

Grandpa_Bill

M. Spector wrote:

What's your real motive for asking all these questions? [img]http://archive.rabble.ca/babble/wink.gif[/img]

In a column here, Nicholas Kristof had this to say about the (somewhat) sorry state of journalism in USA:

Look, as a journalist, I'm proud of my profession. Yet it's also clear that commercial pressures are driving some news organizations, television in particular, to drop the ball. Instead of covering Congo, it's cheaper and easier to put a Democrat and a Republican in a studio and have them yell at each other.

My real motive: a safer site for injecting progressive comments in discussions.

Why is there any need for abuse in these threads?  Beats me!

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Maybe it's because what rabble does is the same thing Kristol talks about. Rabble can get all kinds of free content by hosting a forum and having people of different political persuasions "yell at each other".

The progressive comments have to fight to be heard like every other comment. It doesn't get any "safer" on the internet than that, I'm afraid.

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

Maybe it's because what rabble does is the same thing Kristol talks about. Rabble can get all kinds of free content by hosting a forum and having people of different political persuasions "yell at each other".

The progressive comments have to fight to be heard like every other comment. It doesn't get any "safer" on the internet than that, I'm afraid.

There are people of different political persuasions here? Talk about the narcissism of small differences...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Ontario Health Coalition

Save Public Medicare!

Urgent Issue Brief

Reaction to Government Health Funding Announcement Today

The McGuinty government announced $222.5 million targeted to its five wait times priority areas today.

Their release states that the $222.5 million announced today will result in 154,000 more procedures, including:

    - 9,000 more hip and knee joint replacements

    - 25, 850 more cataract surgeries

    - 105,200 more MRI exams

    - 4,700 cancer surgeries

    - 9,000 more cardiac procedures

This is a sizeable increase and will make a difference. We are pleased this funding is going into the public non-profit health system to improve access to care.

The issues of concern are:

1) The government is obligated to provide comprehensive medically necessary care, not a short list of targeted items. In Britain, where the Blair government has already experimented with this type of targeting, doctors complained that the targeting resulted in shifts of resources away from clinical priorities to target priorities. While this works for PR, it does not work for all patients. See: for British docs on targets - http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/measureper for public commentary -- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/nhs/story/0,1480,706309,00.html http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1363708,00.html

2) Wait times cannot be settled without a clear human resources plan and funding to deal with shortages of health professionals, nurses, doctors and others.

3) We are extremely concerned about the price-based competition (competitive bidding) that is being used in the government's wait time strategy. Hospitals that bid under a certain price levels are to get the funding for procedures while hospitals that do not bid under this price levels do not. This competitive bidding removes services from local communities and centralizes them in regional centres. Patients pay by having to travel further for services and the administrative costs of the system increase dramatically. (One of the chief differences in costs between Canadian and US hospitals is that Canadian hospitals have lower administration costs, not having all of the inefficient pricing requirements etc. of the private market. In the UK, administrative costs shot up after this competitive bidding was introduced).

4) Hospitals across the province are cutting services and laying off staff in an attempt to balance their budgets. It would be more possible to get a whole picture of the results of targeting and reducing the scope of services in hospitals if the Accountability Agreements signed between the provincial government and our hospitals were to be made public. So far they are secret.

http://www.web.net/~ohc/GovtAnnouncement28April2006.htm

http://www.web.net/ohc/

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

ygtbk wrote:

There are people of different political persuasions here? Talk about the narcissism of small differences...

Did you think my disagreements with you were purely personal?

ygtbk

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

There are people of different political persuasions here? Talk about the narcissism of small differences...

Did you think my disagreements with you were purely personal?

No, M. Spector - my point was that babble Policy (and the wrath of Mods) pretty much enforce an orthodoxy here. So long as we understand that babble is a walled garden, no problem.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

You make it sound as if we all sit around here agreeing with each other.

Grandpa_Bill

ygtbk wrote:

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

There are people of different political persuasions here? Talk about the narcissism of small differences...

Did you think my disagreements with you were purely personal?

No, M. Spector - my point was that babble Policy (and the wrath of Mods) pretty much enforce an orthodoxy here. So long as we understand that babble is a walled garden, no problem.

A recent column "The trouble with the 99 per cent" by Michael Laxer makes ygtbk's point.  Laxer states the theory of the 99 percent slogan as follows

 

"We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent."

 

Laxer then lays out was he says is (or ought to be) the party line here inside the garden wall:

 

"With a variety of small or minor variations, this became the [Occupy Wall Street] movement's primary ideological message.

But the message is largely false. And this matters, especially in the long run.

"There is no question about the grotesque growth of social inequality in the West. That this obvious fact has been ignored and even reinforced by the austerity agendas of all governments, regardless of political stripe, plays into an overall sense of hopelessness and reinforces reductionist and absolutist, totalizing ideologies and political views. The inherent danger when democracy becomes seemingly impotent.

"The trouble, however, lies in understanding that undue corporate power and the rise of a new "Gilded Age" ultra-rich power elite does not mean that all of society, the media, politicians, governments, the courts, etc ... are beholden to this elite. More importantly, nor does it mean that the "99 per cent" share common interests and that they can work together, in any meaningful sense, to rectify the problems as raised.

"It also does not take into account the basically dangerous aspect to a worldview like this, which is both disingenuous and bourgeois in its desire to eclipse real issues of class, management, Social Mandarins, and the true underpinning of inequality with a slogan that appears to embrace "everyone," in the classic American way. By doing so it in fact embraces and lets off the hook many, if not most, of the basic enemies of working-class and socialist or anti-capitalist politics."

As I read it, Laxer's motive in all of this is Purge and Purify.

Grandpa_Bill

ygtbk wrote:

M. Spector wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

There are people of different political persuasions here? Talk about the narcissism of small differences...

Did you think my disagreements with you were purely personal?

No, M. Spector - my point was that babble Policy (and the wrath of Mods) pretty much enforce an orthodoxy here. So long as we understand that babble is a walled garden, no problem.

This is an interesting conversation--and amusing, too, as in narcissism of small differences!

In a recent column "The trouble with the 99 per cent," Michael Laxer states the theory of the 99 percent slogan as follows:

"We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent."

Laxer then lays out what he says is (or ought to be) the party line here inside the garden wall about the Occupy Wall Street movement:

"With a variety of small or minor variations, this became the [Occupy Wall Street] movement's primary ideological message.

"But the message is largely false. And this matters, especially in the long run.

"There is no question about the grotesque growth of social inequality in the West. That this obvious fact has been ignored and even reinforced by the austerity agendas of all governments, regardless of political stripe, plays into an overall sense of hopelessness and reinforces reductionist and absolutist, totalizing ideologies and political views. The inherent danger when democracy becomes seemingly impotent.

"The trouble, however, lies in understanding that undue corporate power and the rise of a new "Gilded Age" ultra-rich power elite does not mean that all of society, the media, politicians, governments, the courts, etc ... are beholden to this elite. More importantly, nor does it mean that the "99 per cent" share common interests and that they can work together, in any meaningful sense, to rectify the problems as raised. (emphasis GB)

"It also does not take into account the basically dangerous aspect to a worldview like this, which is both disingenuous and bourgeois in its desire to eclipse real issues of class, management, Social Mandarins, and the true underpinning of inequality with a slogan that appears to embrace "everyone," in the classic American way. By doing so it in fact embraces and lets off the hook many, if not most, of the basic enemies of working-class and socialist or anti-capitalist politics."

As I read it, Laxer's message to us is Purge and Purify.  He, for one, thinks there is not quite enough orthodoxy inside the garden.

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