- Seth Klein somewhat jokingly offers up 10 reasons for upper-class tax increases. But particularly paired with the Cons' fixation with tax-free savings accounts to further hand free money to the rich, this part looks like it's worth some further focus:
#4: The maximum RRSP deduction for 2011 is a whopping $22,450.- Donald Gutstein points out the inevitable consequences of the Cons' corporations-first economic policy:
That’s the ceiling for an annual contribution (for which people receive an extremely generous tax deduction — comes right off one’s taxable income) and does not include any unused room from previous years. Who the hell has $22K in extra income to tuck into this highly publicly-subsidized savings plan? A minimum-wage earner working full-time all year would have an entire annual income of only $19,798. The RRSP is one of the most expensive and inequitable social programs in Canada. The program costs the public treasury about $10 billion a year in foregone revenues. Yet, according to the CCPA’s Alternative Federal Budget, while more than two-thirds of those making over $100,000 a year contribute to RRSPs, less than a quarter of those making less than $50,000 find themselves able to contribute.
Is Stephen Harper's goal for Canada the United States of today?- Dan Gardner discusses the Libs' identity crisis:
That would mean a nation in which somewhere between a half and a third of its citizens have fallen into poverty or are hovering just above, in low income. This according to latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, 400 Americans are worth more than $1 billion.
And the divide will likely worsen, as Congress and Republican-controlled state legislatures continue slashing programs and benefits, firing workers, and further weakening health, safety and environmental protections to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, if that is even possible.
(At a Fraser Institute lunch, Peter Van Loan) reminded his audience of the "fierce debates about North American free trade and the voices from the fringe telling us that it would somehow erode our sovereignty." Van Loan declared that "we need to continue building a broad base of support for the importance of a competitive, globally engaged Canadian economy of the future." He ended with an invitation: "So let's work together to continue convincing Canadians... of the importance of economic freedom."
And as Canada's standing on the economic freedom index rises, so do the number of billionaires and the ranks of the poor and struggling.
The Liberals had a core identity once: “The party that governs.”- And TC Norris notes that Libs pointing to past periods when they held Official Opposition status are missing the real significance of their current position - since the "default alternative" status that's normally worked to the party's advantage no longer applies.
There was no fixed ideological content. There didn’t need to be. Political beliefs came and went but the Liberals were always in the centre, espousing the conventional wisdom of the day, and governing the country. “The Liberal party should be understood not as a centre-left party,” Tom Flanagan and a certain Stephen Harper wrote in 1996. “Rather, it is a true centre party. ... It avoids definite ideological commitments and brings together people simply interested in exercising power and dispensing patronage.” That last bit is too harsh. But generally, Flanagan and Harper were right.
So what happens when “the party that governs” no longer governs? It no longer has an identity.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae frankly acknowledges that he hears this all the time. But he insists there is a Liberal identity.
“We are who we are,” he declared in a speech to the Liberal caucus last week. Rae was passionate. The speech was masterful. But “we are who we are” comes uncomfortably close to Popeye’s “I yam what I yam,” and is about as meaningful.
- Finally, Paul Hanley suggests that an obsession with developing the tar sands at maximum speed reflects "uneconomic growth".