October 21, 2011

What do you do when the 1% say "Raise my taxes"?

Do you remember this from the Globe and Mail (February 11, 2010)?

Ed Clark, TD Bank CEO

Last week at a conference in Florida, TD Bank CEO Ed Clark said Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn't listening to the overwhelming view of Canadian CEOs that tax increases are the best way to reduce a record deficit.
He told the conference that almost every person at a recent meeting of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives said “raise my taxes” to erase it.
Mr. Clark and all those other CEOs are part of the 1% whose incomes have soared while the incomes of the 99% have stalled. They are willing to pay more taxes. Sadly, the Prime Minister essentially told them to keep their money. Tax increases, even for the wealthiest are off the table -- even if they are willing to pay them.

Armine Yalnizyan did some number crunching on what it would mean if the federal government took up the CEOs on their offer to pay more taxes. Here are some of the things she found:
Canada’s federal personal income tax rate is 29% on all incomes above $129,000. That’s much lower than the current top rate of 35% in the U.S.—a rate that’s likely to rise. A new bracket that taxed incomes over $250,000 at 32%, lower than the 33% rate applied to that income level in the U.S., would raise about $2 billion. That could pay for the federal share of a national child-care program.
A 35% tax bracket for Canadians whose income is higher than $750,000—the U.S. top rate, except there it’s applied when your income hits $373,650—would yield $1.2 billion. That, for example, could start to address all our aging nationwide wastewater infrastructure. 
Maybe it's time to let the 1% contribute a bit more to the common good.

MCCO message to Premier McGuinty on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

On, October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, MCC Ontario's Executive Director Rick Cober Bauman wrote to Premier McGuinty congratulating him on his recent re-election and urging the Government to work for a poverty free Ontario.
As a new legislative session approaches, Mennonite Central Committee Ontario (MCC) urges your Government and all parties in the legislature to work for a poverty free Ontario. We also commit to work towards that same goal in MCC’s Ontario programs.
Read the entire letter here.

MCCO's E-D also wrote to opposition party leaders Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath urging all-party work for a poverty free Ontario.

October 19, 2011

Understanding Occupy Wall Street

"We are the 99%" -- the slogan of Occupy Wall Street, a movement that has grown to hundreds of cities in dozens of countries around the world.

That slogan gets to the heart of  a serious problem -- one that even business groups and central bankers acknowledge. It is the growing inequality in incomes. Recent decades have seen the lion's share of growing income go to the richest 1% of people. That is the case not just in the US but in Canada, too.

Meanwhile, the other 99% of us have seen little or no growth in incomes -- despite working longer hours if we have work!

That is bad news.

It is bad news for all of us.

It is bad news for a host of reasons.

There is powerful evidence on the negative effects of income inequality on health, education and community safety. And not just for the poor but for everyone.

And inequality is also bad for business. Yep. You read that right -- inequality is bad for business.

Economist Armine Yalnizyan with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and an expert on Canada's growing gap, has been tapped by Canadian  Business Magazine and the Business News Network to explain why inequality is bad for business.

Here are three reasons.

1. No income growth for most households means little demand for the goods and services businesses want to sell.
2. Excessive wealth at the top leads to ever riskier investments searching for the highest rate of return. Think of the sub-prime mortgage crisis that brought the global financial system to its knees and required costly bailouts of big banks.
3. Greater household debt -- which is another financial ticking time bomb just awaiting an increase in interest rates to detonate.

It is no wonder business groups and bankers are joining the ranks of those who realize we have to do something to reduce inequality.

So how can we turn things around? How can we create greater equality and build stronger, healthier communities?

Check back for coming posts that explore solutions to the problems Occupy Wall Street has highlighted.

October 18, 2011

Advocate for Change: Bill C-10 the Safe Streets and Communities Acti

MCC's Ottawa office is lobbying for changes to Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act. Please have a look at the information below and take a moment to let your MP know you want this bill to receive careful consideration before it becomes law.

October 13, 2011

Dollars and Sense of Solving Poverty

A major report from the National Council of Welfare argues that it makes far greater sense to invest in measures to solve poverty than it does to pay the cost of leaving millions of Canadians in poverty.

This report is about the high dollar cost we are currently paying for the consequences of poverty, and why investments to end poverty make better economic sense. There are different approaches to poverty. An approach based on short-term spending to help people in poverty get by can often carry indirect costs. It does not do a good job of reducing poverty itself.

October 4, 2011

Crunching the Numbers on the Party Platforms

Political parties make a lot of commitments on the campaign trail. How do you know if they can really deliver -- and what its going to cost?

Hugh Mackenzie from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has crunched the numbers on the party platforms. He offers a snapshot summary in a blog post based on a detailed analysis he made of the party platforms. Here is a bit of what he found.

The first thing that strikes you when you look at the three platforms is how much bigger the Conservative platform is – measured in fiscal impact – than either of the others. My analysis shows that the total value of the promises in the Conservative platform is approximately $4.4 billion, compared with the Liberals at $1.8 billion and the NDP at a net $2.9 billion.