The fact that income inequality in Canada today is significantly greater than it was 30 years ago is not in serious dispute. But there is much less agreement on the underlying causes.
It is important to look at trends in the “pre-distribution” of income by the market in the form of wages and salaries, and changes in the impact of government taxes and income transfer programs that redistribute market income from the more affluent to the less affluent.
This article originally appeared in the Globe & Mail.
The Conservative Party’s 2011 election platform titled “Stephen Harper’s Low-Tax Plan” promised a bountiful menu of tax goodies. The government has delivered appetizers such as the Children’s Art Tax Credit and the Family Caregiver Tax Credit as well as an amuse-bouche in the form of a Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit.
Geoff Meggs and Rod Mickleburgh. The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power, 1972-1975. Harbour Publishing. 2012.
This impressive and readable book by two well-known and respected British Columbia authors sheds light on a now largely forgotten episode in Canadian politics and is a welcome reminder of the very real gains that can be made by a determined and genuinely progressive government.
Geoff Meggs is a journalist and current Vancouver City Councillor, and Rod Mickleburgh writes from Vancouver for the Globe and Mail.
Statistics Canada released today the Survey of Financial Security (SFS), providing Canadians with the first comprehensive snapshot of wealth and wealth distribution in the country since 2005.
While Canadian’s net worth has increased significantly since 2005, mostly due to increases in housing prices, the real story is one of persistent economic inequality and rising debt.
The long list of changes in the Conservative’s newly introduced “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act” seem like a solution in search of a problem.
Discouraging women from working outside the home is surely not an appropriate goal for tax policy. But that may just be the motivation behind the Harper government's plan to introduce "income splitting" for families — an expensive tax gift to traditional families with one breadwinner and a stay at home spouse.
The gift is already proving costly to Conservative party unity. The Harper government's own finance minister is speaking out against the policy that would deprive the treasury of tax revenues while benefitting mainly big earners.
How long would you be willing to wait to be paid for your work? A normal paycheque may be held back for a couple of weeks or a month, but most of us can be pretty certain when it will arrive.
Not so in for many contractors and their subcontractors in the Ontario construction industry. They often have to wait months or even years for payment, even though they are out of pocket for the labour and materials costs of keeping up their end of the bargain.
Presumably, Jim Flaherty considered the same economic picture of the country as the rest of us when planning the 2014 budget.
That picture is not rosy.
Almost one and half million Canadians are currently out of work. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 7% and the employment rate (the proportion of the working age population with a job) has yet to recover since the great recession. For youth, the unemployment rate is almost double that, at 13.9%.
Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for this important demographic.
Between October 2008 and January 2014, there was an increase of 100,000 unemployed young workers (15-29), so that there are now some 540, 000 unemployed. Even more startling, over 350,000 young workers left the labour force entirely over that same period.