The Broadbent Blog

THE HUB FOR CANADA’S LEADING PROGRESSIVE VOICES.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute.

Stock options, inequality, and corporate performance

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One of the major forces behind the rapid increase in the income share of the top 1% in the United States and Canada has been rising senior corporate executive pay, especially in the form of stock options. 

The majority of the top 1%, and an even higher proportion of persons in the ultra-wealthy top 0.1%, are either senior managers of non financial companies or work in the financial sector where stock options are usually the biggest single part of total compensation.

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Canada Pension Plan: the best retirement pension deal we’ve got

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The Oct. 19 Globe and Mail editorial supporting expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) got it exactly right. The CPP is “one of the country’s great public policy successes” and “the best [savings plan] we’ve got.”

Notwithstanding evidence that many middle-income earners will face a sharp decline in living standards in retirement as a result of the erosion of employer pension plans and very low rates of private savings, the Harper government has refused to endorse the emerging provincial government consensus in favour of CPP expansion. The main argument against seems to be that the required increase in contributions (about 3 per cent of earnings) would amount to a damaging tax increase.

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Dear Rex Murphy: context and history count

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Rex Murphy’s commentary in the National Post on recent Mi’kmaq protests is misinformed and demonstrates a profound ignorance of our history. 

In his article, he suggests that the behaviour of Mi’kmaq protestors at Elsipogtog First Nation on October 17th constitutes a “rude dismissal of Canada’s generosity”. Even more “raw and provocative an insult”, he argues, is the suggestion that this and other protests (including the Caledonia blockade and the Idle No More movement) are legitimate struggles against oppression. Indeed, what Mr. Murphy appears to find anathema are the co-existence, today, of Indigenous struggles for self-determination and assertions of sovereignty and existing oppression and racism.

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The humanist tradition in economics and the Canadian connection

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Canadian development economist Kari Polanyi Levitt has a reputation in Canada and abroad as an advocate for economic policies rooted in social justice and distributional equity. Levitt has worked tirelessly to build development studies as a multi-disciplinary field of scholarly endeavour, in which development economics plays an essential role but must be complemented by essential contributions from other social scientists and historians. Now in her ninety-first year, the Professor Emerita of Economics at McGill University has published a new book entitled From the Great Transformation to the Great Financialization: On Karl Polanyi and Other Essays

 

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Key to political success: be authentic, allow two-way communications, former top Obama adviser says

This article originally appeared in the Hill Times.

Social media is today one of the most important ways to communicate a message in politics, as political communication in the modern era is a “two-way conversation” and information has to be provided to people where they are and in a way they could offer their feedback, says a former top communication adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama.

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On inequality, our politics matter

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To mark the launch of ‘Inequality and the Fading of Redistributive Politics’, a seminal new edited volume on inequality in Canada, the Broadbent Institute is featuring a series of posts from the book’s contributors. Today, we present a piece from the book's editors: Keith Banting and Broadbent Fellow John Myles.

The core message of Inequality and the Fading of Redistributive Politics is that democratic politics and income inequality in Canada are deeply linked. The surge in inequality, which occurred primarily in the 1990s but whose effects persist, was only partly the result of globalization and technological change.

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Squandering Canada’s Moment

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“Seizing Canada’s moment.”

It’s an odd title for a Throne Speech that was absent any kind of momentous vision for this country.

“Seizing” the moment would mean tackling the challenges that today’s Canada faces: stagnant or falling wages for middle- and lower-income Canadians; crises in Aboriginal education, food, housing, and missing and murdered women; high youth unemployment; eroding citizen trust in democracy; and environmental degradation, to name but a few.

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10 things to remember about Stephen Harper’s consumer-unfriendly record

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The Conservative government devoted a big chunk of Wednesday’s Throne Speech to try and buff up its reputation as a government that cares – really, really cares – about consumers.

Here are 10 things to remember about the Harper government’s record when you’re being bombarded with Conservative spin about the consumer goodies in the Throne Speech:

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Review: The Entrepreneurial State

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The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs Private Sector Myths has been critically well-received in the UK by such publications as the Economist and the Financial Times and stands as a refreshing new take and counterpoint to today’s rather stale debates on the economic role of government.

On the one hand, the right celebrates private sector entrepreneurship and so-called free markets as the only sure road to prosperity. The private sector led “creative destruction” process is seen as the key source of capitalist dynamism and growth. On the other hand, progressives tend to stress the role of the state as a needed regulator of economic activity, as a Keynesian backstop to stable growth, and as a vehicle for achieving a fairer distribution of income and wealth. Proponents of a more active government role in the economy are often portrayed by the right as enemies of a successful economy.

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Costly and unfair: Stephen Harper's income-splitting scheme

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During the last federal election, Stephen Harper promised that his Conservative government would introduce a new way to tax families with children after balancing the federal budget.

We are likely to hear a lot more about the merits of Harper's 'income-splitting' proposal before the 2015 election. The Conservatives continue to slash spending and erode public services precisely in order to create the fiscal room for this promised tax cut. Never mind that Mr. Harper’s aggressive agenda of tax cuts has already helped turn a $16 billion surplus in 2006 into annual deficits.

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