How far has Canada's economic star fallen? Only recently Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted that Canada's economy was "the envy of the entire world." That claim was always overstated. Now it is downright ludicrous. We must look to government for a more effective response to the recession. Unfortunately, however, that looks like another policy dead-end. Because so far the response of federal Conservatives has been as ineffectual as it is predictable: deny, point fingers, and spread fear.
The Bank is particularly concerned about the substantial decline in the "participation rate" in our labour force since just before the recession in 2008. It reports that 100,000 people aged 25-54 have given up looking for work altogether and that things are even more dire among our youth, with 200,000 dropping out of the labour force.
Storage Wars, and its regional counterpart Storage Wars Texas, have made a killing off showing off the unsavoury, grimy side of failed capitalism: buying the contents of abandoned storage lockers in the hope of making a cheap buck. The mediocre aspirations of the show are depressing enough but the lack of class analysis is even more depressing.
Five years after the Great Recession of 2007-08 destroyed the lives of millions of people and cost trillions of dollars, many of the big investment banks that caused the near total meltdown are still involved in shady and sometimes criminal financial gambling schemes that could crash the world economy again.
At the IMF-World Bank meetings this past week, there were plenty of assessments of the state of the global economy that described the post-2008 recovery as anemic. Only a few went so far as to claim that the global economy is comatose. Yet, despite general agreement on the diagnosis, there was little consensus on how to solve the problem.
Dad was once the ATM; he's less absent now, more engaged in family life. As women "lean in" to the workplace and assert themselves, as they should, men are leaning out. This wreaks uncertainty on the economy, but there is a star of brilliant light looming over the ocean, visible in the ever-rising storm.
The wrong approach to poverty reduction is to ignore the problem, letting the ideological conceit that a rising tide lifts all boats obscure the hard reality that many Canadians have no boat -- or access to anyone who has ever had a boat. The answer is automatic top-ups for those who fall beneath the poverty line.