Is the rise in inequality exaggerated?

Is the rise in inequality exaggerated?The rise in economic inequality is one of the most potent 21st century memes. You could even call it pervasive. It dominates the debate in the Democratic presidential contest and has a material echo in our current federal election. The rich – particularly the notorious one per cent – must be made to “pay their…

At election time, is all spending good spending?

It’s right for Canadians to value a just society that leaves no one behind. But relying on ever-increasing spending to do so is driving us toward bankruptcy

At election time, is all spending good spending?I know what it means to live in poverty. I grew up in a large family in a small village in Cape Breton, the fourth of eight children. My father was a wonderful man who struggled with alcoholism his whole life. We had no running water and only a coal stove to heat the house.…

Low-income Canadian families squeezed from both ends

When a dollar earned triggers higher taxes and simultaneously reduces benefits, what’s left to spend or save?

Low-income Canadian families squeezed from both endsA look at effective tax rates across provinces shows that many low-income families in Canada take home 40 cents or less on the additional dollars they earn. The marginal effective tax rate – which accounts for how much you pay in additional income taxes and lose in federal and provincial transfer benefits when you earn…

Using money to bring fairness to Indigenous groups

The Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla need to put the Ridley Terminal money to work on things that will lead to future returns for their people

Using money to bring fairness to Indigenous groupsIf there are any special Canadian values, fairness is surely one of them. We want and expect our laws and courts to be fair. Our economy, too, should give everyone an opportunity to do well. The resulting income streams should not excessively reward the rich nor should our taxes penalize the poor. The United States,…

Most Canadian households are better off than U.S. counterparts

U.S. households not only live with higher income inequality than in Canada but more than half are worse off in terms of purchasing power

Most Canadian households are better off than U.S. counterpartsRegardless of whether America is great, or about to be great again, a new analysis shows that Canadians outrank Americans on household income. The Economist magazine recently devoted a long section to a profile of Canada with frequent comparisons to the United States. Among the statistics highlighted were that Canadians’ life expectancy was three years…

Come on, get happy: if a survey says we are, it must be true

Apparently, as you get older you get happier. Sclerotic, arthritic, calcified, deaf, blind, stupid and poor equals happy? Where do I sign up?

Come on, get happy: if a survey says we are, it must be trueIn a few years, people my age will get back pain, clogged arteries, brittle bones, hearing loss, cataracts, arthritis, heart disease, dementia and schizophrenia. What they won’t get, apparently, is unhappy about it. Citing a recent national survey, Canadian Press reports that older people in this country are generally more buoyant than younger ones. In…

Child benefit program pays dividends but presents hurdles

Governments need to be careful that benefits don’t discourage social institutions that strengthen families and communities

Child benefit program pays dividends but presents hurdlesParents will receive an increase in the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) this month. The program has been widely credited with reducing child poverty, yet the benefit is not without challenges. The cost-of-living adjustment boosts the maximum compensation for a child under age six to $6,639 annually and maximum compensation for children between the ages of…

A cashless food economy? Don’t bank on it – yet

The case for moving away from cash for food purchases is strong: it’s efficient, convenient, and cuts down on theft and human error. But it’s not all good

A cashless food economy? Don’t bank on it – yetCanadians’ food transactions are becoming more digitalized and the rate people are moving away from using cash is phenomenal. According to a recent survey by Payments Canada, 42 per cent of consumers use cash fewer than four times a month when purchasing food, compared to 20 per cent who did the same a year ago.…

Tax bill an increasing burden for Canadian families

The cost of living was the number one concern for a third of all Canadians surveyed, according to a recent poll. And rising taxes contribute significantly to those costs

Tax bill an increasing burden for Canadian familiesBy Jake Fuss and Finn Poschmann The Fraser Institute A recent CBC News poll reported that the cost of living is one of the biggest issues worrying Canadians today. And yes, while trend inflation has been very low for a decade, it’s ticking up sharply. So although it’s easy to understand why Canadians are anxious…

Overstated poverty claims paint false picture

Using multiple sources of data can bring circumstances into sharper focus. That will allow us to concentrate on helping only those people who are truly in need

Overstated poverty claims paint false pictureClaims of rising inequality are rampant in the media, mainly because many pundits confuse inequality with poverty and assume that the poor are enjoying lower living standards than before. But there’s no reason to expect poverty to move in the same direction as inequality – incomes rising at an uneven pace will reduce problems of…
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