By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 17, 2011 - 19 Comments
Mike Moffatt argues we aren’t prepared to do what’s necessary to reduce inequality.
The obvious place to start would be to borrow solutions from countries where after-tax income inequality is relatively low. Three countries that consistently score well on income inequality measures are Denmark, Finland and Sweden. These three Nordic countries share very similar tax structures, featuring moderate-to-low marginal corporate tax rates, moderate-to-high income tax rates and very high value added sales tax rates (VATs, similar to Ontario’s HST). The average VAT in these three countries is 25 per cent, a rate nearly twice that of the average Canadian federal GST plus provincial sales tax or HST. A one percentage point increase in the HST alone would raise $5 billion to $6 billion per year for the federal government, so increases by a few percentage points could adequately fund programs designed to reduce inequality. No country on Earth has been able to find a way to fund the kind of social programs and redistribution needed for “reasonable” levels of inequality without VAT rates significantly higher than Ontario’s HST.
Greg Fingas objects.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 4:11 PM - 0 Comments
Rob Silver tries to read the tea leaves and ends up confused.
Traditional political orthodoxy says that during a U.S. presidential primary or a leadership race in the Canadian context, you spend the internal battle running toward your base and once the general election comes around, you tack toward the political centre.
Well, political orthodoxies don’t apply to Tom Mulcair. Or more accurately (and less snarky), he realizes that if he follows a traditional path in the NDP leadership race – appealing to traditional New Democrat power bases among organized labour, Prairie farmers and other left of centre party activists – he has no chance of winning. So he’s decided to instead run against the people who make up the NDP.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 29, 2011 at 9:05 AM - 17 Comments
“The leadership race effectively begins Monday morning, I would say,” Mr. Martin said. “It won’t be a divisive race, it will be a uniting experience and respectful experience,” Mr. Martin said. “That’s the tone Jack has set; he’s raised the bar for civility in political discourse in this country, and the first demonstration is going to be a very interesting but respectful leadership race.”
Greg Fingas reviews some of the potential contenders.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM - 0 Comments
Greg Fingas finds reason for optimism among New Democrats.
Most leadership races in established political parties take place at a point when a party is generally on a downward trajectory – either after it has fallen from government to opposition or in some other way missed a perceived opportunity to improve its standing, or after it has been in power long enough to face public fatigue even as it tries to renew itself.
In contrast, the NDP will get to choose its next leader from a position of unprecedented strength and hope, thanks to both Layton’s electoral results and his means of reaching them.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM - 2 Comments
In light of events in British Columbia and Wisconsin, Greg Fingas defends direct democracy initiatives.
The leading example is of course California, whose combination of conflicting citizen initiatives and political gridlock has made it virtually impossible to make reasonable budgetary decisions or carry out any long-term planning. And direct democratic processes shouldn’t serve as the only outlet for citizen involvement between elections. Indeed, both of the above examples could have been avoided if the governments involved had consulted with residents to determine whether their policy choices were even faintly defensible.
But there’s always some risk that a government that believes itself to be four years away from any accountability might push far beyond the limits of reasonable political choice. And some mechanism for citizens to take back our representative authority in case of emergency might work wonders to reduce the danger of overreach in the future.