Publications, opinions, and speeches
How did the just society become just don’t care?
Published on 01/01/2010
This commentary on poverty and inequality is part of a series that the Toronto Star is publishing in preparation for the Liberal policy conference in March 2010. The op ed asks how it is possible thatCanada, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is also so poor. Government intervention – through redistributive programs and progressive income taxes – is essential to help offset market-based inequalities. Slaying the dual dragons of poverty and inequality requires two forms of intervention. Safety net measures help offset the negative impact of low income while springboard measures create opportunities for success over the longer term. Proposed safety net changes include increases to the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Working Income Tax Benefit. For those who are unemployed, the entire machinery needs to be upgraded and reconstructed, including the reinstatement of the insurance basis of Employment Insurance, the introduction of a temporary income to assist the unemployed avoid welfare and the creation of a federal income program for persons with disabilities. A two-percentage-point hike to the GST to its original level would help pay for these proposals, though an associated rise in the GST credit for lower-income households would also be required.
ISBN – 1-55382-431-8