Category: Income Inequality

Taxes buy civilization

Neoliberalism has brought us extreme concentrations of wealth and power and a society governed by and for the rich. The Guardian reports America’s three wealthiest billionaires—Bezos, Gates and Buffett—have as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population combined. Funders—like the American Koch brothers and Fraser Institute directors who are connected collectively to around a trillion dollars in assets— do not want creative solutions to labour’s stagnant wages or growing inequality…

For the times they are a-changin’

Today, British Columbia is far richer than fifty years ago but that wealth is distributed much differently. As a result, despair is widespread, homelessness grows, thousands die each year from drug abuse, more than one hundred die by homicide. Uncounted humans are wasted. Our current provincial government is searching for answers but influential citizens in this province are more than satisfied with the status quo. As John Kenneth Galbraith said, they are searching “for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

Bitter old man

A person shilling for the pension funds management business complained about my recent article revealing extravagant salaries at the BC Investment Management Corporation (BMI). He wrote that I was a bitter old man…

Labour Day – Canadian heritage moment – Rerun

In modern times, the Canadian union movement has lost influence but not relevance. It is easy to forget that unions enabled a broad middle class. Workers in unionized company towns in BC’s 20th century resource economy set the bar for others. They showed how positive full employment with good wages enables high quality life for the entire community.

Pull down the veil of lies

BC Liberals released the 2017 Budget and Fiscal Plan. The government elected by promising a “DEBT-FREE BC” forecasts total provincial debt will grow $11 billion to a total of $78 billion in next three years. Under Christy Clark as Premier, provincial debt will have increased $33 billion, which was the total debt accumulated in the 130 years after British Columbia became Canada’s sixth province. That $78 billion does not include the debt portion of contractual obligations, which total $100 billion but are not mentioned anywhere in 149 pages of the Budget and Fiscal Plan. The PR strategy is to never admit these exist or have impact. This is egregious dishonesty.

Indeed, power does corrupt

Throughout time, elites have commanded portions of national economies that are disproportionate to their numbers within the populations. Of course, that is an inevitable result of different capabilities, opportunities, risk tolerance, dedication and fortune. The distribution of wealth and influence will never be equal but if the imbalance grows too large, particularly if opportunities are class-restricted, a civil society will not function. The elites may hold dominance for a period through force but history demonstrates that order will disintegrate in a society of severe inequality.

It’s a big club… and you ain’t in it

They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them; that’s against their interests. …You know what they want? They want obedient workers… people who are just smart enough to run their machines and do the paperwork and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.

Ruining the just man’s cause

New York State officials aimed to limit the extraordinary electoral influence of extraordinary wealth. People who wanted their financial powers unrestricted began legal action and, applying higher court rulings, United States District Judge Paul A. Crotty tossed the limits. He did so with obvious regret, complaining he was forced to apply a definition for corruption “no matter how misguided . . . [the Court] may think it to be.”

The Judge’s five-page opinion is worth considering, particularly now as the British Columbia government repudiates citizens calling for rules against corporate and union political donations. Insights West calculate that 86% support a ban. In today’s neverending cycle of campaigning and lobbying; lobbying and campaigning, elected officials know where their money is coming from and that it must keep coming if they are to stay in office.

…influence bought by money is no different than a bribe, and as the Book of Exodus 23:8 counsels, “a bribe blinds the clearsighted and is the ruin of the just man’s cause.”

"A strong message…"

Canadian bank fined $1.1M for failing to report suspicious dealings, CTV News, April 5, 2016 The federal anti-money laundering agency has levied a $1.1-million penalty against an unnamed Canadian bank for failing […]

The roots of violence

“Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles.” – Gandhi   //storify.com/betakateenin/white-people-riots/embed?border=false//storify.com/betakateenin/white-people-riots.js?border=false[View the story “White people rioting over stupid […]

Canadian elites

Politics “is infected with a serious imbalance of power between elites and masses, a power which is the principal threat to our democracy.” – U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone North Van Grumps at […]

Democracy myth exposed

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, Prof. Martin Gilens, Princeton University and Prof. Benjamin I. Page, Northwestern University. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups […]