By Stephen Gordon - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 0 Comments
Barack Obama has proposed increasing the U.S. minimum wage, and the discussion is spilling over to Canada. There are two things one needs to know about the minimum wage, employment and poverty in Canada:
1. In Canada the link between minimum wage increases and lower employment levels is stronger than in the U.S. The famous Card-Krueger study of events along the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border in 1992 found that an increase in the minimum wage actually led to an increase in employment. Subsequent work has challenged that conclusion, but as far as I can tell, U.S. studies generally find that the link between (small) changes in the minimum wage and changes in employment has been fairly weak.
The Canadian literature on the link between minimum wages and employment looks very different. For one thing, empirical studies that use Canadian data are able to exploit variations in the minimum wage both across time and across provinces (in the U.S., on the other hand, the minimum wage is largely driven by changes at the federal level). Estimates for the effect of minimum wage are generally stronger than those in the U.S., and as Morley Gunderson notes in his 2005 survey of the literature:
While there are substantial differences across the different Canadian studies, the following generalisations emerge:
- The earlier Canadian studies (based on data prior to the 1980s) tended to find adverse employment effects that were in the range of US consensus estimates, and sometimes higher, where a 10% increase in the minimum wage would give rise to a 1-3% reduction in employment.
- Studies based on data to include the 1980s tended to find smaller effects that were at the lower end of the consensus range, and possibly zero, as was often also the case in the US.
- However, some more recent studies using different and more sophisticated methodologies as well as more recent data (e.g., Baker, Benjamin and Stanger 1999, Yeun 2003, Baker 2005, Campolieti, Fang and Gunderson 2005a, b, Campolieti, Gunderson and Riddell, forthcoming) find larger adverse employment effects at the higher end and beyond the consensus range, especially in the longer run. The elasticities typically range from -0.3 to -0.6 for teens (slightly lower for young adults), implying that at 10 percent increase in the minimum wage would lead to a 3 to 6 percent reduction in the employment of teens. The fact that they use different data sets and methodologies suggest that these results are robust.
- Overall it appears that the Canadian studies tend to find adverse employment effects that are at least as large and likely larger than US studies; certainly none find positive employment effects as occasionally occurs in the US.
Using Card-Krueger to support calls for a minimum wage increase in Canada isn’t just cherry-picking: it’s cherry-picking from an entirely different orchard.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM - 0 Comments
While the Human Resources Minister was defending herself against misrepresentation yesterday, she was also faced with questions about child poverty. In response to Liberal questions on the topic, she offered the following.
Mr. Speaker, it is a little bit late for the Liberals to be showing an interest in this. Child poverty, under their reign, was over 18%. It is now under 8%.
This is not entirely untrue. In 1996, when the Liberals were in government, the percentage of those under the age of 18 in a low income situation was indeed 18.4% (see here). Thing is, the Liberals were in power for another nine years and 1996 was the peak in this particular regard. By 2005, the rate was 11.7%. From 1993, when the Liberals won power, to 2005, the rate dropped 5.3 points.
Here are the low income rates for those under 18 between 1991 and 2010.
By Ashifa Kassam - Monday, January 7, 2013 at 9:50 AM - 0 Comments
Travellers help the homeless by signing up for tours of the rougher side of town
His thick black eyeliner smudged and long dirty-blond hair in a ponytail, Karim holds a yellow umbrella high in the air as he walks through an unlit park in downtown Prague. He points to a group of men, barely visible in the dark. Heroin addicts about to shoot up, he explains to the group of tourists following him. After turning their attention to a few prostitutes on a corner, Karim opens up about his experience of living on and off the streets for more than 20 years.
Since August, the homeless transsexual and former prostitute has been leading one of the hottest tours of Prague. Similar tours, led by homeless or once-homeless guides, have popped up in London, Amsterdam and San Francisco. Billed as alternative views of the cities, they have been praised for converting tourist dollars into employment for homeless people and criticized for turning homelessness into a tourist attraction.
The past decade saw an explosion of poverty tourism in developing nations, with visitors traipsing through the slums of Mumbai or the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Now it seems that poorism, as critics call it, has found a market in industrialized nations. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Monday, July 9, 2012 at 1:10 PM - 0 Comments
Poverty down in Canada, Brodeur re-signs with Devils, and drownings mar Canada Day
Taking care of ourselves
Add another star to Canada’s exceptional economic performance during the Great Recession: poverty ﬁgures have actually improved. According to recent income data released by Statistics Canada, the percentage of Canadians living in poverty continues to fall—despite a global financial crisis—hitting an all-time low of nine per cent in 2010. That’s down from 12.5 per cent a decade ago. Single mothers, typically the most prone to poverty, actually reported a slight increase in after-tax income in 2010 compared to the previous year, thanks to generous government transfers and higher employment earnings.
Moving right along
The U.S. Supreme Court’s approval of so-called “Obamacare” is a crucial step forward in America’s ceaseless battle over health care. Lack of basic medical coverage for 30 million Americans has fed into the country’s overall sense of economic insecurity and, flawed though this plan may be, it is time for the U.S. to join the rest of the developed world in ensuring basic health care for all of its citizens. If Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, chooses to make it a ballot question in this fall’s presidential campaign, so much the better: elections are precisely the venue for issues of this magnitude.
By John Geddes - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM - 0 Comments
How apt that today’s bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens arrives at a moment when the widening gap between rich and poor is so prevalent in public-policy debate, and the grim conditions in China’s factories are back in the news.
Dickens is of course our greatest writer on the imperative to acknowledge what poverty is and try to do something about it. His way of forcing the reader to see and smell the squalor of 19th century England is still unmatched in its moral force.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 11:17 AM - 0 Comments
Paul Dewar talks to the Tyee.
Poverty is best fought by making sure people get the money and support they need, he said. He suggests taking all the benefits that are already provided for seniors, children and families and bundling them into one program. ”It would have an impact immediately,” he said, noting it would require coordination with the provinces.
Asked if that amounts to a “guaranteed annual income,” he said calling it that and presenting it as a new program would scare people. Reorganizing programs that already exist would be more likely to find support, he said.
By M.G. Vassanji - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 10:25 AM - 5 Comments
The country seems well, but corruption is rampant
In Tanzania, is it that they complain too much, or they expect too much? Since the beginnings of economic and political liberalization in the 1990s, the nation has charged forward; the print media is bold and vociferous in both of the national languages, English and Swahili—especially the latter. Paved roads connect every part of the country, reaching towns and villages previously cut off during the rains; cellphones are in evidence everywhere. The country is connected. It’s as if an engine turned on one day, and the once laid-back country, known as “the land of not yet,” woke up. So what are the complaints about? Or, as a slick, modern voice on the radio says in an angular Swahili, “Wapi ni beef?”
I’m sitting in a full minibus in the lush, hilly southern province of the country, heading from the provincial capital, Mbeya, down to Kyela on Lake Nyasa near the Malawi border. We pass areas growing wheat and corn, tea, banana, avocado, red beans and cocoa. We pass roadside markets selling vegetables, timber and locally made furniture. Finally we arrive at the market town, Kyela, known for its famous Mbeya rice. I can’t help observing that if one did not long for modern amenities such as a hot shower, one could simply lie under a tree all day, picking the occasional weed, and not starve.
On the way, my companion Felix, a local investigative journalist, points out other places of interest: the modest headquarters of a yogourt maker whose product now reaches all over the country; the modest house of a local man who owns hotels in the capital; a downhill bend on the road that was formerly called Uwanja wa Ndege, or “Airport,” because—before the speed bumps came up—vehicles would fly off from this spot down into the valley below; a coal mine started by the Chinese. Felix also tells disturbing stories of abuses of village women by foreign mine workers.
By Michael Petrou - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Many of those struggling to get by in the British capital are former immigrants from Eastern Europe
When the European Union expanded its borders eastward in 2004, more than half a million Poles took advantage of the newly opened border to pack up and move to Britain. They were joined by thousands more Czechs and Slovenians, and after the EU expanded again in 2007, migrants from Bulgaria and Romania.
Many thrived. Suddenly traditional English pubs were staffed by servers with Eastern European accents. The new arrivals were so ubiquitous in the trades that “Polish plumber” became a catchphrase.
Inevitably, however, thousands have also floundered. Estimates vary, but a disproportionate percentage of homeless in London are from Eastern Europe, most of them Poles. And when they do stumble, they fall harder than the locals. Migrants who have not worked full-time for more than a year do not qualify for many social assistance programs, such as housing benefits. Last year, a charity worker found homeless Poles roasting rats. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
The Canadian military heads for the far North while Manitobans stare at a massive bill for flood cleanup.
Boots on the snow
Canada is planning its biggest summer military exercise in the far North. More than ever, a grand show of force in the Arctic is vitally important. Russia recently announced that it plans to send two new military brigades to the Arctic and is boasting of plans to build a year-round port there. Tensions between Arctic nations are on the rise over the drawing of borders in this resource-rich part of the world. And while flag-planting displays may seem trivial, when it comes to Arctic sovereignty, Canada needs to use it or risk losing it.
The Greek government has prevented a likely tragedy by stopping a flotilla of pro-Palestinian protesters from embarking for Gaza. An attempt to break the Israeli blockade last summer ended in a confrontation on the high seas that left nine dead. With both sides bent for a repeat showdown, the results this year could have been even worse. The Greeks are offering to work with the UN to ferry the ship’s cargo—food, medicine and building materials—to the Gaza Strip’s many needy. A bit of reasonableness that should serve as an example to the radicals on both sides.
A liberating decision
Ottawa reversed course and approved trials for a controversial procedure used to treat multiple sclerosis called “liberation therapy,” which involves opening blocked neck veins. Canada, which has among the highest rates of MS in the world, said last year it would not fund the trials due to concerns about the procedure’s efficacy and safety. Advocates, though, argue it is life-saving. The trials may finally provide some much-needed answers.
Cellphones don’t cause cancer after all, according to a major academic review of research by experts in Britain, the U.S. and Sweden. The report comes two months after the World Health Organization said the devices should be classified as “possibly” carcinogenic (along with pickled vegetables and coffee). Such cancer scares haven’t curbed appetite for the technology. The last wireless patents held by Nortel were bought for US$4.5 billion by a consortium including RIM, Apple, Ericsson and Microsoft.
Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian dictatorship, one of the Middle East’s most repressive regimes, continues to plumb new depths as it confronts pro-democracy protesters. This week its security forces opened fire on peaceful crowds in several towns, wounding dozens and killing at least three. With the West focused on removing Moammar Gadhaﬁ from power in Libya, Assad seems to feel untouchable. And to our collective shame, he appears to be right.
A couple of months back, Treasury Board President Tony Clement was criticized for tweeting a comment on a CRTC decision that was effectively a change in government telecom policy. Now he’s been caught out sharing photos of Will and Kate snapped at a private reception. Clement says he’s done nothing wrong, but clearly his desire to self-publicize is getting the better of him. Facing similar aggrandizers, the BBC is reportedly considering adding a clause to its contracts with its talent to prevent tweeted leaks and spoilers. But it all pales compared to the numbskull who hacked the Fox News Twitter account on July 4 and shared the “news” that Barack Obama had been assassinated. Can’t we all ﬁnd better things to do with technology?
This case has no clothes
An Ontario court this week heard arguments about whether laws preventing public nudity are unconstitutional. Lawyers for Brian Coldin, who was arrested when he showed up naked at a Tim Hortons drive-through, argue police should have discretion when enforcing nudity laws. In Coldin’s case, restaurant employees testified they felt “uncomfortable” seeing his genitals on display. If anything, this case offers an all-too-clear example why nudity laws exist and shouldn’t be fiddled with.
Researchers writing in the American Journal of Public Health say they have calculated how many deaths may be caused by poverty each year: 133,000 in the U.S. That’s not to say money guarantees good health. A Canadian study found low-income, urban children are more likely to walk or bike to school and are therefore in better shape than their more privileged counterparts.
By Charlie Gillis and Kate Lunau. - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:15 AM - 10 Comments
Mass extinctions, water shortages, dwindling oil reserves, grinding poverty. Can the Earth sustain every one of us?
For the world, as for his family, the birth of Adnan Nevic was cause for celebration. No less an eminence than the secretary-general of the United Nations attended his arrival, posing with the swaddled child as camera strobes lit a maternity room in central Sarajevo. He was born four minutes past midnight on October 12, 1999, and Kofi Annan had made his way to the hospital like a wise man following a star. There were 5.999999999 billion people on the face of the planet, depending on whose “population clock” you went by. The time had come to designate a six billionth.
The challenges that lay before this infant reflected those of human populations around the globe. His parents, Jasmin and Fatima, were poor. The family lived cheek by jowl in a bleak apartment. His father needed work. Ethnic conflict remained a dormant but ever-present threat to their country. The UN chief offered words of hope, saying this “beautiful boy in a city returning to life should light a path of tolerance and understanding for all people.” But a long and happy life? For that, Adnan Nevic would need a few breaks.
Today, as demographers look ahead to a 10-billion-strong global population, the future of No. 6,000,000,000 is no less clouded. By day, he is an apple-cheeked sixth-grader who loves dogs and cheers on the fabled Spanish soccer team, Real Madrid. At night, he watches over a father stricken by bowel cancer, and sleeps in the same bedroom as his parents in their two-room flat in Visoko, a run-down town 28 km outside Sarajevo. Adnan’s plight could never really stand in for that of all humanity. But it does, to borrow the UN boss’s trope, illuminate the road we will travel over the course of his life.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 5:02 PM - 103 Comments
Former NDP MP Tony Martin looks back on his time in Ottawa.
I thought we had a real chance at a progressive government in the fall and winter of 2008-2009 – the coalition. For me, the lowlight was not being able to achieve that. I thought we had a chance to achieve a progressive government that would have allowed us to do a whole bunch of things, including working on the reduction of poverty. The government we have has no interest in doing anything about poverty. The lowlight was we didn’t achieve it and that the Liberals walked away from an opportunity to throw Harper out.
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM - 0 Comments
British Columbia…: Among Canadians, those in the West Coast province are the most
British Columbia: Among Canadians, those in the West Coast province are the most sympathetic toward the poor, according to a new poll for the Salvation Army. There, only 17 per cent believe that all the poor need in order to improve their lives is “to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” In contrast, 36 per cent of their Prairie neighbours feel that way. And the disparity widens dramatically when comparing those who are “jaded” and believe lower-income residents have “lower moral values.” Only five per cent of those in B.C. fall into that category, compared to 21 per cent of Albertans.
Alberta: When it comes to buying a house, 39 per cent of Albertans are willing to plunk down extra money to get a brand-new home, compared to a national average of 22 per cent. Seventy per cent of prospective homebuyers in the province are in the market for a place that doesn’t need any work.
Saskatchewan: Premier Brad Wall is the most popular premier in Canada, with a 63 per cent approval rating. Kathy Dunderdale, Newfoundland and Labrador’s new premier, finished second with 55 per cent. Meanwhile, the bottom spot was snagged by Quebec’s Jean Charest, who is backed by a measly 13 per cent.
By Barbara Amiel - Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 2:00 PM - 23 Comments
Barbara Amiel on why mental illness can’t be treated with legalities
Back in the 1960s I had “Charlie.” Charlie was a derelict living in Toronto flophouses. I was a CBC researcher living in a highrise studio apartment. My assignment was a documentary on skid row lives, and Charlie was one of the three winos I had selected. All of them had mental disorders of varying degrees. They heard voices or suffered from paranoia. The day before shooting, Charlie went AWOL, ending up in the drunk tank. I bailed him out on CBC expense money.
Charlie didn’t have a golden voice, but he heard lots of voices and had conversations with them all. He wanted a regular job, he told me. After filming, I bought him a clean T-shirt and took him to a centre hiring hourly labourers. When I came home, an inebriated Charlie was waiting. He preferred working on camera and thought that was his true calling. I took him into my apartment for coffee and a talking-to. Afterwards he left—taking some small sterling silver items of mine.
My excuse was plain stupidity and youth. I’m not sure what excuses the enthusiasts behind the golden-voiced, down-and-out Ted Williams who, in a predictable arc after discovery by a journalist, gained worldwide fame, was arrested for an altercation, took part in an intervention on television’s Dr. Phil show, and disappeared into rehab. His sob story was watched by millions, when they weren’t watching people with utterly no connection to victims of the Tucson killings (except nearby zip codes) sobbing their eyes out. Heaven knows, Americans can go on “healing” and “counselling” and “intervening” until every last person is in therapy. But the problem when a popular culture goes barking mad is that complicated problems get reduced to cartoons.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 11:44 AM - 61 Comments
The program, called Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) in Brazil, goes by different names in different places. In Mexico, where it first began on a national scale and has been equally successful at reducing poverty, it is Oportunidades. The generic term for the program is conditional cash transfers. The idea is to give regular payments to poor families, in the form of cash or electronic transfers into their bank accounts, if they meet certain requirements. The requirements vary, but many countries employ those used by Mexico: families must keep their children in school and go for regular medical checkups, and mom must attend workshops on subjects like nutrition or disease prevention. The payments almost always go to women, as they are the most likely to spend the money on their families. The elegant idea behind conditional cash transfers is to combat poverty today while breaking the cycle of poverty for tomorrow.
By Erica Alini - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 1:40 PM - 1 Comment
Microlending appears to be headed toward its own mini financial crisis.
The global economic downturn destroyed the image of big finance, but did nothing to tarnish that of microfinance, the altruistic business of making tiny loans to small entrepreneurs in developing countries. Recently, though, even microlending appears to be headed toward its own mini financial crisis.
Once hailed as a magic bullet against poverty, the practice has come under attack in India and Bangladesh where it is being accused of increasingly adopting the same loansharking methods that it is meant to rescue small borrowers from, like punishing interest rates. The backlash first originated in India, where a wave of suicides by farmers with outstanding microloans led local authorities to rein in financiers. Similarly, in neighbouring Bangladesh—the birthplace of the global microlending movement—regulators are planning measures that include an interest rate cap.
Microfinance firms deny wrongdoing, saying that charging hefty interest rates (usually around 30 per cent) is necessary to cover servicing costs in remote villages. But microfinance founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus has been warning that high growth and high profits have been corrupting the industry. The concept of microcredit, he told the Wall Street Journal, “is being blatantly abused.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 22, 2010 at 9:01 AM - 77 Comments
Erin Anderssen considers the merits of guaranteed income.
Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, one of the more vocal proponents of no-strings-attached aid for the poor, points out that the guaranteed-income program for seniors has greatly reduced poverty, especially among women.
“There’s a bias that when given the chance people will be lazy,” he says. “That’s not my sense of reality.” Mr. Segal argues that giving money with no conditions removes the stigma and shame around poverty, allowing people to focus instead on how to improve their lot.
By Kenneth Whyte - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM - 52 Comments
Including the huge textbooks, and why bad teachers have to go
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, is also one of the world’s leading philanthropists. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is perhaps best known for fighting poverty and disease in the developing world, but its main domestic focus is on education. Gates appears in the new documentary Waiting for “Superman,” which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. A powerful indictment of the U.S. education system, it features educators running the innovative Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools, and follows families desperate to get their children into high-performing charter schools. (Often controversial, charter schools receive some public money but do not follow the same rules or curriculum as public schools.) Gates believes the quality of teachers is of critical importance, and calls for a system of evaluation to reward the best, and get rid of the worst. He talked to Maclean’s editor-in-chief Kenneth Whyte in Toronto.
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 11:20 AM - 19 Comments
A B.C. case is the thin edge of a growing trend: parents suing their adult children for support
It’s been 16 years since Ken Anderson saw his mother. His parents moved out to B.C.’s West Kootenay region when he was 15, effectively abandoning him in the town of Osoyoos, 200 km away. (His dad, who worked for Labatt, had been transferred.) Ken was the family baby; by then, his four siblings had moved out. He dropped out of high school and took a job at the local Husky to support himself. He couch-surfed and, for a while, lived with a neighbour.
Eventually, a kindly boss let him crash in his basement. “The past is past,” says the 46-year-old father of two, who lives in Oliver, where he runs a logging truck business. He’s never been angry with his folks. But he’s never tried to rebuild the relationship either. His dad died years ago and in 30 years, he’s seen his mom Shirley fewer than 10 times. Imagine his surprise then, when one fine day he was served with papers announcing he was being sued for parental support.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:46 PM - 96 Comments
Alex Himelfarb considers what we want, what we’ve got and what we need.
Politicians and their professional advisors learn quickly that we don’t much like our leaders to bring us bad news. Bad news is bad politics. They learn too that it can be political suicide to propose more taxes or to stand up for public servants or to defend the human rights of those we don’t much like. They learn that playing to our growing distrust of government is easier than rebuilding that trust. And federal leaders learn very quickly the risks of taking on issues that create jurisdictional friction or regional conflicts. Politicians need to win if they are to govern and they either learn what it takes to win or they disappear.
And so we get the politics we deserve, or is this, more accurately, the politics we have learned to want? Leadership matters, preferences and priorities are learned; if our leaders are not saying much about poverty or climate change surely that will have an impact on how much we think about those issues. The trivialization of politics – the avoidance of tough issues, the preoccupation with polls and often brutal tactics, the pandering – is self-perpetuating.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM - 4 Comments
Making it work will take generations, not years
As the entire world laments the difficulties of delivering aid and succour to Haiti, one inevitable question hangs in the distance. What will it take to make Haiti function as a country? Canadians are already answering the immediate call for help in a very significant way. But are we prepared to make the same commitment to Haiti’s future?
Haiti is undoubtedly the most benighted country in our hemisphere, with a long history of failed governments and repressive dictatorships. Yet history also shows it once enjoyed a brief period of relative calm and progress. While under U.S. control from 1915 to 1934, Haiti actually functioned in a way that today seems impossible. It is instructive to consider the successes and failures of that time.
By Michael Petrou in Port-au-Prince with Charlie Gillis, Jonathon Gatehouse and Luiza Ch. Savage - Monday, January 25, 2010 at 9:54 AM - 12 Comments
Maclean’s cover story: after the earthquake, the desperate fight for survival amid the ruins
The earthquake that broke the back of an already ailing nation struck just before 5 p.m., a time when many Haitians were still at work or school. The 7.0-magnitude tremor was centred near Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, and lasted a mere 45 seconds—a temporal eyeblink that will go down as the nadir of the Caribbean country’s long history of misery and chaos. Shantytowns that litter the island’s southwest peninsula went down domino-style. Larger buildings comprised of cinderblock and unreinforced concrete collapsed like wedding cakes, in many cases with a full complement of their day-to-day occupants inside. The ones left standing quickly emptied; survivors scrambled to help those still inside, tugging at the shards of cement with bare hands.
Fredson Demostherma, a resident of Léogâne, 30 km west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, jumped to safety from a second-floor window in his house when the ground started to rumble. He turned around and watched the building collapse, trapping seven members of his family inside, including an infant. He paid someone with a sledgehammer to help him dig his family, who survived, out. “Haiti’s future is in the hands of other nations, and God,” Demostherma told Maclean’s. Pierre Cherami, who ran an auto parts business in Gressier, just outside of Port-au-Prince, was in his house with his wife and daughter, who perished. “Their names are Denise and Myrline,” he said. “Myrline wasn’t feeling well and was sleeping. My wife was with her. When the quake hit, I saw the wall begin to topple. I tried to hold it up but couldn’t. I recovered both of their bodies. It will be difficult to rebuild my life. I’ve lost everything.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 12:04 PM - 132 Comments
Ed Broadbent suggests taxing the rich to fight child poverty.
About 100,000 Canadians are in the top tax bracket for earners making more than $250,000. On average, those individuals earn more than $600,000 a year. Broadbent, 73, said increasing their taxes from 29 per cent to 35 per cent would put billions more toward eliminating child poverty, increasing the amount spent by $3.7 billion.
“With just that single move we would double the amount given for the national child benefit supplement and take children out of the devastation of poverty,” he said during a speech at the University of New Brunswick.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 1:00 PM - 2 Comments
The study says the consumption rate of the poor isn’t declining
Many studies have come to the depressing conclusion that the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer—but according to a new report from the Fraser Institute, it’s not happening here.
In The Economic Well-Being of Canadians: Is There a Growing Gap?, Chris Sarlo, an economist at Nipissing University, argues that most studies of the issue so far have been too narrow. The accepted figures show that the income gap between rich and poor has grown by nine per cent since 1969. But Sarlo says those reports don’t take into account the “underground economy” of unreported incomes common in the repair, renovation and hospitality industries. Sarlo values this economy at up to $50 billion a year, enough to seriously skew the statistics on incomes.
By Jen Cutts - Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
In Pakistan, 1,900 of 12,000 madrasas are female-only
In a country where public education has long been low on the state’s list of priorities, madrasas, or Islamic schools, provide a way for Pakistan’s poorest families to educate, feed and even house their children. Though they have traditionally been open only to males, there has recently been a dramatic rise in the number of all-female religious schools: of the roughly 12,000 madrasas registered with the state, around 1,900 are attended by young women only. The female students, who have limited educational opportunities in Pakistan, are excelling in the schools and writing graduate exams at a higher rate than their male counterparts.
The illiteracy rate for women in Pakistan is nearly 80 per cent, and any opportunity for young girls to learn to read and write is worthwhile. There is concern, however, over what the madrasas’ real lessons are: some believe the schools are exposing students to radical Islamic teachings, and fostering sympathy for militant groups.