Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The American Disease Jumps Our Border

Income inequality might as well be called the American Disease if only because it is far more prominent there than anywhere else in the developed world.

Canadians, or at least many of us, like to think of ourselves as superior to that what with our egalitarian social safety net and all but we need to drop that smugness - now.  Carol Goar sounds the alarm on income inequality taking a firm hold in Canada in the 21st century and it's a warning we must heed.

Last week, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published a study by senior economist Armine Yalnizyan that showed the richest one per cent of the population reaped an unprecedented one-third of the gains from economic growth between 1997 and 2007. She has written about the growing gap between Canada’s corporate elite and the rest of the population before. But this time, her message got people talking.

In October, Penguin released a new book by Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig and Osgoode Hall tax professor Neil Brooks called The Trouble with Billionaires. It argues the excessive inequality in North America is bad for democracy, bad for the economy and bad for society. The book is getting respectful reviews in unexpected places. Here is what Jonathan Kay, managing editor of commentary at the National Post, wrote in the current issue of the Literary Review of Canada: “Given the somewhat radical left-wing bona fides of McQuaig, I was surprised how reasonable I found many of the arguments in this book.”

I have written on the bitter scourge of income inequality at length.  You might wish to check out these posts:

 " A Must-Read for the Liberal Right"

  Robert Reich Dissects America's New Great Recession.  The Real Culprit?  Inequality."

" The Century of Revolution."

" Robert Reich's  Rational Plan to End the Great Recession."

There was a time when Liberals weren't afraid to fight income inequality, perhaps back when they respected liberalism.   I don't sense that inclination in today's laughably timid and feckless, centre-right Liberals.

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