Wages: Up, Down, or Sideways?

We’re coming up to a Federal Election, and one where “The Economy” will likely be a central battlefield. As such, we’re going to hear many claims and counter-claims that support the view that Stephen Harper is either the Greatest or Worst Prime Minister ever. One point of contention is wages. Part of the problem are the units of measurement and analysis […]

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Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter

Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter Thomas Palley There exists several mainstream explanations of the financial crisis and stagnation, each explaianing the role they respectively attribute to income inequality. Those explanations contrast deeply with a structural Keynesian explanation of the crisis. The role of income inequality also differs substantially, giving rise to very different […]

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Doubling Contributions To The Tax Free Savings Account: Even Nastier Than Income Splitting

The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards for individual Canadians as well as for the economy as a whole. Let’s unpack the […]

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Alex Usher Needs to Consider Taxation

My debate with Alex Usher on tuition fees continues, over at the Academic Matters web site.  In my latest post, I make the case that Mr. Usher needs to consider Canada’s tax system when suggesting that reducing tuition fees is “regressive.” Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has academic affiliation at […]

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Capital Gains and the Incomes of the Wealthy

Yesterday’s release from Statistics Canada on the income share of the wealthy generated some interesting coverage and commentary.  It reported that the top 1%’s share of total income in Canada remained steady in 2011 in Canada, at 10.6 percent — but still significantly higher than in the 1980s. Most observers did not mention, however, that this oft-cited income share statistic does NOT […]

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Trickle Down Would Work If It Weren’t For The Sponges At The Top

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, and erodes trust that a […]

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When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

This piece was  published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.  Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty: 1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure of housing affordability. 2) There was virtually no change […]

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What UBC and SMU’s rape chant scandals say about women in the Canadian economy

The news of UBC Sauder Business School students chanting about rape of underage girls during a FROSH week event has generated much outrage. As it should. While the chant might seem like an isolated incident, it is not. The recent rape chant scandals in UBC and in St Mary’s University in Halifax are evidence of systemic sexism that permeates our […]

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Funding Cuts to Alberta’s PSE Sector: There Are Alternatives

It has recently been reported that the University of Alberta wants to “reopen two-year collective agreements” with faculty and staff “to help the university balance its budget…” This appears to be in direct response to Alberta’s provincial government announcing in its March budget that there would be a “7% cut to operating grants to universities, colleges, and technical institutes.” This […]

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Fraser Institute Sunshine List

On Monday, Andrew wrote that we need a Bay Street sunshine list. Today, we got something almost as good: a Fraser Institute sunshine list, courtesy of US tax filings and The Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor. This piece is a great counterpoint to the Fraser Institute’s recent attack on public-sector salaries. I hope it is printed in the newspaper as well […]

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Who Is Earning Too Much?

  Last week’s publication of the so-called “sunshine” list of 88,412 Ontario public sector workers earning more than $100,000 per year elicited lots of howls of outrage in terms of on line commentary. It should not be forgotten that the whole point of the annual list – which dates back to the Harris days – is to yank on the […]

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Why The Income Inequality Deniers Are Wrong

This article was published in an abridged form today in the National Post. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/21/armine-yalnizyan-sorry-andrew-coyne-but-income-inequality-is-a-real-problem/   I like this opening better so I posted it here. You couldn’t have made it through 2012 without running into a story about income inequality.  Chances are, it made you think about how you fit into the story.  That’s “entirely constructive”, as Bank of Canada Governor […]

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Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

This September, like every year, a new group of high school graduates headed to college or university to pursue higher education. But today’s generation of students is in for a very different experience from the ones their parents had. On campuses across the country shiny new buildings are popping up, bearing corporate logos or the names of local philanthropists. But […]

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Income Inequality & twitter

Armine Yalnizyan had a great twitter debate with Andrew Coyne on poverty and inequality that Trish Hennessey storified here: http://bit.ly/QwHGJB I think it bears repeating that GDP growth has far outpaced any growth in median and average incomes for Canadians, as you can see in the graph below. (2010 dollars, average and median income in $’s, GDP in $10,000 dollars.) Also, […]

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Dead Money

Kudos to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney for raising the profile of the over $500 billion Canadian corporations are holding in excess cash surpluses and not investing in the economy, which garnered front page coverage (and kudos to the CAW for inviting him to speak.) It’s not the first time he’s raised this  concern.  Last year at the Empire […]

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Labour Losing to Capital

The just-released OECD Employment Outlook – full text not available on line – has an interesting chapter on the sharp decline of labour’s share of national income in virtually all OECD countries over the past 30 years, and especially the last twenty years. The median labour share in the OECD fell from 66.1% in the early 1990s to 61.7% in […]

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In Memoriam: Perspectives on Labour and Income

Another sad tombstone to the shrinkage of information for informed social and economic policy – Statscan has decided to discontinue “Perspectives on Labour and Income” in both print and online format. For as long as I can remember, Perspectives reliably provided a firm empirical base for policy debate on key labour market and income issues -  everything from rising income […]

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US family net worth crushed by financial crisis

The US Federal Reserve today released its triennial examination of incomes and net worth of American households in the Survey of Consumer Finances.  It shows the crushing effects on net worth of a housing and financial bust unparalleled since the great depression. The shocking results of this study overviewed in the New York Times are that ALL  real net wealth […]

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Seven reasons why you should support the Quebec students’ call for low tuition fees

Despite the remarkably poor media coverage of the early days of the protests (especially in English Canada), it seems that the Quebec student protestors have finally succeeded in sparking a broader public discussion about civil liberties and the right to protest (even in the Globe here,  here and in the Celebrity Photo captions). Yet, media commentators have largely dismissed the […]

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Implications of Inequality

I, Jason Clemens from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and David Macdonald from the CCPA discussed the social and economic implications of growing income inequality on an ipolitics panel yesterday. Jason was a bit outgunned so I won’t go after him here, except to say that he took the usual neo liberal tack of shifting the debate to poverty so as to […]

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The Big Banks’ Big Secret

The CCPA today released my report: “The Big Banks Big Secret” which provides the first public estimates of the emergency funds taken by Canadian banks.  The report bases its estimates on publicly available data from CMHC, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, as well as quarterly reports from the banks themselves. […]

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The Affordability of Post-Secondary Education

Carleton University’s Ted Jackson teaches a graduate seminar course on post-secondary education in Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration. Earlier this month, I was invited to give a guest presentation to Professor Jackson’s class. I focused the presentation on affordability challenges faced by students wanting to pursue post-secondary education. My slide presentation can be found here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo […]

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Rising Inequality Spooking the 0.0001%

Contributors to this blog–and CCPA experts–have been warning about the negative economic and social consequences of rising inequality for decades.   Now the even the 0.0001% are getting concerned.   Experts polled for the Global Risks Report for this month’s meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos –one of the most eleite gatherings of the powerful in the world — selected severe […]

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