Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Poverty and Income Inequality'

The political fight for Ontario’s middle class

March 20th, 2014 · · Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

“Middle class” is the new “working Ontario families.” Every second speech and press release here contains it now. – Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail reporter, Queen’s Park, Twitter, March 20, 2014.

With election fever mounting in Ontario, the political field is quickly crowding around the middle of the income spectrum in search of votes.

And – surprise, surprise – low taxes are dominating the list of enticements.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is insisting she’ll reject any provincial budget that includes asking Ontario’s middle class to pay more taxes or tolls.

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The ‘girl effect’ reduces inequality, but we can’t count on it forever

March 7th, 2014 · · Gender Equality, Income Inequality

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

Every year when International Women’s Day rolls by, I can’t help but reflect on power, how it’s shared, and how women use the power they have. This year, I am struck by women’s power to reduce inequality, and not just to help ourselves. Women are key to reducing income inequality.

It’s been dubbed the girl effect, more powerful than the Internet, science, the government, and even money.

Canada is actually a poster girl (sorry) for the truth that education and hard work can transform not just lives but societies.

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Wealth Inequality: Going from bad to (net) worth

February 26th, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Income Inequality, Poverty and Income Inequality

Yesterday, Statistics Canada released its 2012 wealth survey (Survey of Financial Security). Two previous wealth surveys were published in 2005 and 1999 with a similar methodology.

We often talk about income inequality, which examines what middle class and rich Canadians make in a year. However, wealth inequality examines middle class and rich Canadians’ net worth, including their house, RRSPs, savings, car, etc. If income inequality—where the top 20% of families get 43% of the income— is concerning, then wealth inequality should be downright shocking. The top 20% of families in Canada own 67% of all net wealth (although this is down slightly from the high of 69% of all wealth in 2005).

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Will income-splitting’s politics trump its lousy economics?

February 14th, 2014 · · Poverty and Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

You could hear the sound of jaws dropping across the nation this week when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, in response to a question from a journalist, cast doubt on the idea of income-splitting for young families, something his party has been promising since March 28, 2011.

The idea – which would allow the higher-earning spouse to transfer income to their lower-earning spouse in order to reduce their total tax hit – provoked controversy right from the start. But it became an increasingly hard sell as economists and think tanks from across the political spectrum lined up in agreement: Income-splitting costs too much for something that is worse than doing nothing.

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Alternative Federal Budget 2014: Striking a better balance

February 5th, 2014 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Income Inequality

The following remarks are excerpted from the 2014 Alternative Federal Budget press conference, featuring Armine Yalnizyan, David Macdonald and Bruce Campbell (February 5th, Parliament Hill).

This year is our 19th Alternative Federal Budget (AFB).

From the beginning, we’ve developed a rigorous economic and fiscal framework for our Budget; and we have acquired an enviable reputation for more accurately forecasting fiscal balances than the  Department of Finance. Organizers of a recent international conference in Berlin recently called our alternative budget the leading example of its kind in the world. Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page has praised it, as have many academic economists.

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Why the minimum wage debate isn’t going to go away

February 5th, 2014 · · Income Inequality, Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

There is a good reason why the minimum wage has fired up so much debate lately. It has to do with how a “trickle-away” recovery has dogged so many advanced economies since the 2008 global crisis hit.

For most people today, growth is happening somewhere else, for someone else. The result is a crescendo of frustration.

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The problem with Hudak’s million jobs promise

January 21st, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Ontario

Co-authored by Kayle Hatt and Trish Hennessy

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has a new jobs plan to create a million new jobs over the next eight years.

ONE MILLION (cue Austin Powers reference).

There are a few known details of his so-called plan – like cutting corporate taxes and ending green energy  – but little clarity on how this will actually create jobs.

Even without the full details, there are other reasons to doubt his promise.

For starters: there aren’t a million unemployed people in Ontario.

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CEO Pay: Out of Whack with Ontario’s Minimum Wage

January 6th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Income Inequality, Ontario

Last week, the CCPA revealed that the top 100 CEOs in Canada earn, on average, $7.96 million a year – or 171 times more than the average Canadian worker.  That’s also 373 times more than an Ontarian earning the minimum wage.

To put that in perspective, the Top 100 CEOs earn in one hour[i] what a minimum wage worker will earn in 6.5 weeks.  But there is one big caveat to this analysis – that minimum wage worker  must be lucky enough to have a job that consistently offers 40 hours per week, offers paid sick days and provides vacation pay.

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Unlucky, lazy, or just female? Why there aren’t more women in the top 100

January 2nd, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Gender Equality, Income Inequality

Imagine finding $7.96 million in your stocking on Christmas morning. For Canada’s top 100 CEOs, that happy day has arrived. These 100 Canadians earn more than 99.9% of the working population of Canada.[1] But if you are woman, odds are you are not on that lovely list. Not now, not ever.

It would take the average working age woman in Canada 235 years (or 85,778 days) to make as much as one of these CEOs makes in a single year.[2] It would take a first-generation immigrant woman 268 years to do it. [3] Visible minority women and Aboriginal women would have to work the longest, at 273 years and 285 years respectively.[4]

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Minimum wage: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

December 18th, 2013 · · Employment and Labour, Income Inequality, Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality

Ontario’s minimum wage has been frozen since 2010. It’s the second longest period minimum wage workers have gone without a raise since 1969.

Oftentimes discussions about how much and how often to raise the minimum wage get positioned in relation to potential harm to business: how much can businesses bear to pay for an hour of labour before they are negatively impacted?

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