There's a reason we were caught flat-footed by the pandemic, and…

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  _Robert_ 1 month, 1 week ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 16 through 29 (of 29 total)
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  • #34907

    Unseen
    Participant

    It is amazing isn’t it? People who are one paycheck from disaster are so afraid of a tax hike for the wealthy. Of course it doesn’t really matter anyways as the wealthy generally never have sizable taxable income to report.

    Tax income or wealth, whichever yields the greater liability.

    #34908

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    why wouldn’t it translate well to the majority?

    What doesn’t translate well to large groups, is “communal sharing” or communism.  Apparently, it’s not possible to organise large groups along small-group lines.

    Of course, as demonstrated in the UK for example, you can have socialist ideas such as the National Health Service, on a large scale.

    #34910

    _Robert_
    Participant

    It is amazing isn’t it? People who are one paycheck from disaster are so afraid of a tax hike for the wealthy. Of course it doesn’t really matter anyways as the wealthy generally never have sizable taxable income to report.

    Tax income or wealth, whichever yields the greater liability.

    I liked when Warren suggested that. The fear was palpable. Ponder the backlash over a substantial US wealth tax in the financial community. How to avoid the relocation of $trillions$ out of country? There would be challenges on the constitutionality of such a tax. Would the squirmy $1% achieve avoidance? Most likely. I suspect our top $1% are not very interested in the long term overall wellness of US society. Don’t care about the natural environment, the disenfranchised, the dwindling middle class, the infrastructure, health care, food availability/safety, education, etc. They care about avoiding taxes and their influence over politicians to keep the status quo. It’s a lock. Contrast that with Europe where people of means are somehow willing to look at long term consequences.

    Meanwhile the clueless US populace admires and fawns over the ultra-rich. They buy their lotto tickets and sow seed money with prosperity preachers (their best hopes to join the club) while middle class tax money props-up stocks that only go up, thank you very much. It’s comically sad really.

    #34911

    Davis
    Moderator

    A handful of communal programs do work out well when they are democratically put in to play. Universal health care is one of them. Ontario, Canada has a centralised milk board in which almost all milk production is regulated by the province (of course you still have private actors running the farms but they have to sell their milk to the province and obey their rules). It is in a sense a semi-collective though it only remains in play because of how successful it has been in this one particular industry. This was the case for wheat growing in the central provinces for some time (the wheat board) which was extremely successful and supported but it was ended by an ideological conservative government that gave in to the interests of large or corporate growers. Other centralised industries that have worked extremely well include some utilities (power, water, gas) and transportation (train and local transportation) and it has been nothing short of disaster when some of these were privatised in the UK or Canada (though semi-privatisation has had some questionable success in some countries). The Reaganite and Thatcherite doctrine that the market handles EVERYTHING best, collectivisation NEVER works continues strongly in the Republican party and many conservative think tanks despite many of their abysmal failures.

    #34912

    Davis
    Moderator

    Canada is considering a wealth tax. Their biggest concern are the extreme steps the wealthy would inevitably take to avoid paying wealth tax including sending their capital out of the country. If it were introduced it would have to be done VERY intelligently and thoroughly working hard to avoid as many loop holes as possible. I would say international and local bank transfer taxes, higher stock trading taxes and taxing google/apple/social-media would generate enormous sums.

    #34913

    Unseen
    Participant

    why wouldn’t it translate well to the majority?

    What doesn’t translate well to large groups, is “communal sharing” or communism. Apparently, it’s not possible to organise large groups along small-group lines. Of course, as demonstrated in the UK for example, you can have socialist ideas such as the National Health Service, on a large scale.

    What communal sharing are you supposing doesn’t translate well to large groups?

    #34914

    Unseen
    Participant

    Canada is considering a wealth tax. Their biggest concern are the extreme steps the wealthy would inevitably take to avoid paying wealth tax including sending their capital out of the country. If it were introduced it would have to be done VERY intelligently and thoroughly working hard to avoid as many loop holes as possible. I would say international and local bank transfer taxes, higher stock trading taxes and taxing google/apple/social-media would generate enormous sums.

    Maybe an “exit tax” on wealth moved out of the country.

    Ultimately, taxing income and material wealth before they gain control of it might be the way to go.

    #34915

    Kristina
    Participant

    It’s difficult to get an accurate landscape of wealth and income inequality in Canada and where it is trending. Compared to the 90s, inequality has almost certainly increased. Compared to five years ago, some of the more conventional measures show it as levelling or marginally reducing.

    Why that is, I’m not exactly certain. Some policy shifts such as minimum wage increases may have had an effect. But also, calculations may not compensate for obscured income or wealth. I saw an estimate from 2015 stating $199 billion was hidden in offshore havens. The CRA estimated $240 billion in 2018. A more recent article $381 billion. those numbers can’t be taken at face value as they were calculated by different groups likely using different methodologies; however, it’s clear large sums are hidden, and it’s not much of a leap to assume the uppermost wealth quintile hides more than the lowest quintile.

    Part of the issue comes from what the nation and provinces legally allow. Measures intended to promote certain types of activity like investing for the future or distributing tax burdens, or certain types of transfers are abused. Employers get away with constantly pushing up against the intent of labour laws. Subsidies are granted in ways which may no longer be effective. Creditor protections are abused. A lot of these probably could be tightened up to recoup some losses and curb some negative behaviours (or drive them into solidly unlawful territory).

    I think one of the major shifts I’d like to see is a change to creditor protections and subsidies. Once the amount of money on the table reaches a certain amount, the government may need to be able to set stricter conditions and controls. For instance, when Target failed in Canada, the top most executive for Canadian operations escaped with a golden parachute. Mid to small businesses and employees got shafted, and in order to recoup losses would have had to claim creditor status in competition with much larger creditors.

    When my previous employer–a co-operative retailer–recently hit the wall with financial mismanagement from the top coupled with covid, the board sold the co-op to an American firm. It was a dubious move done under creditor protections. The co-op had millions of members who all had–at minimum–a five dollar share. In order to get our shares back, we’d have had to have claimed creditor status. While individually the amounts lost were in the range of maybe $5-50, that’s millions of dollars and value basically erased from our hands so that a private firm could benefit (though in this case, out of country). Some of the lowest paid employees who were let go in the deal were stiffed on severance and not all of them will have the means to fight that. It’s a load of shit, really.

    One of the other issues is even if income inequality reduces, even at the average rate of inflation, the lower quintiles may be disproportionately advantaged. Housing is a massive issue in many cities. Lower end rental rates are being wiped out, so those at lower income levels are seeing proportionately steep increases to cost of living. At least here some measures can be enacted to balance the scales. Rent increases in my province have seen tighter restrictions. Rezoning and development of residential properties has seen tighter restrictions. Foreign buyer taxes and vacancy taxes have made it so that it is either less profitable for speculators to hold properties as investments, or they pay more taxes. Whether they ditch the real estate or pay the increased taxation, there is some benefit.

    Personally, when covid hit, I had hoped it would push more Canadians to take a stiffer stance. It’s hard for the lowest quintile to push back because they can easily be pushed from a state of slowly increasing debt to just being flat out fucked. But the extremity of covid was an involuntary push for lower income/ wealth Canadians to really take stock. Businesses like large grocery chains had to be blocked from gouging. They initially gave pandemic pay to employees, but the second they could drop it, they did despite their profits increasing and having an excuse to reduce employee hours. Canadians were looking for rent relief and pauses on mortgages. N.B. not a reduction in mortgages, but a pause, but there was no fucking way the banks would have gone for that. If the government ever has to choose between individuals taking on debt, and any threat or compromise to banking, well, sorry average joe.

    The government did implement an emergency response benefit for businesses and individuals. The former was too slow and poorly structured, so it may not have been enough. The latter was decent, but it wasn’t enough to protect the lower quintiles from increasing debt or facing financial hardship. Also, many Canadians were excluded. Funnily enough, some employers complained that CERB was hurting their business because employees would rather take CERB than work for them. But in many cases, CERB wasn’t enough to cover all basic costs, and what employers were paying was slightly less to marginally more than CERB. So why would anyone want to be treated like shit in a shit job when they don’t have to? Maybe offer employees something actually worth coming back to.

    We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. We have a decent level of resource independence. We have clean water and food production capacity to cover the whole population. We have the space to house everyone and then some. But our covid response reeked of desperation to keep the economy running. The economy ranked higher than public health, even though we had the means to provide for everyone in a time of emergency. And it wasn’t even an issue of long term economic health. It was a symptom of a system that just can’t stop for even a minute. But our middling covid response led to the same pattern seen globally. We’ve vastly extended the strain and harm by taking half measures. How much with that cost us in the long run?

    I had hoped more of this would have not only become apparent, but motivated people to push policy drivers to stop being shills and assholes. It did for a bit. But I fear with the prolonged timelines for recovery, people are burned out, and many will be desperate just to get some semblance of normalcy once a vaccine is widely available and distributed. We will get back on the hamster wheel and run run run until we die.

    #34916

    jakelafort
    Participant

    In USA there are proposals to pay citizens to get the vaccine.

    If adopted it could become interesting as Trump supporters will see this as confirmation of their conspiracy theories. But for 1500 will they be willing to risk zombieism?

    #34917

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    But for 1500 will they be willing to risk zombieism?

    Sign me up!

    Covid response will look a whole lot different next year, with some federal backbone added to it, and I think attitudes will change… except maybe of course in Cult45 members, in which case I say let the cards fall where they will. The kind of Darwinism we see take place could very well put reasonable, intelligent, educated, liberal types in the survival seat.

    I suppose Biden might piss off some red states when he goes into action against the pandemic, so that could get interesting. I just hope The Trump Show takes a really long vacation.

    #34918

    Unseen
    Participant

    #34997

    garyclouse
    Participant

    Long before the Pandemic, capitalists began leveraging buyouts of smaller local hospitals and infirmaries, then shutting them down and selling the real estate for  a profit. This made large hospitals and medical center  far mor profitable while crippling our ability to respond to the Pandemic

    #35006

    Unseen
    Participant

    Treating the pandemic can be profitable (and costly to the public). There can be no profit in being prepared for one.

    #35194

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Now I am subscribed to that Professor Wolff commie on YT, LOL. Interesting perspective.

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