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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:28 pm
 


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Canada isn't living up to its potential or its reputation when it comes to societal issues like poverty, government and inequality, according to the Conference Board of Canada.
The group gave Canada a 'B', good for a 7th place ranking out of 17 developed countries, but it said the "middle-of-the-pack" ranking leaves room for improvement.
Getting an 'A' at the top of the rankings were the Scandinavian nations (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland) as well as the Netherlands and Austria. At the bottom were Japan and the U.S., both getting a 'D' ranking.
Inequality was a major factor in Canada’s low ranking, according to the report. Canada ranked a 'C' on both income inequality and the gender income gap.
Many studies have pointed to the rise of income inequality in Canada over the past 30 years. The top 10 per cent have seen their average income rise 34 per cent, while the bottom 10 per cent have seen their earnings rise just 11 per cent. The report says income inequality is cause for concern, especially in education.
“Better education is a powerful way to achieve growth that benefits all,” writes Brenda Lafleur, the report’s author. But if the cost of education in Canada continues to rise, “it is very hard for the child of poor parents to do well.”
However, Canada still maintains a great level of income mobility, ranking ‘A’. Compared to other countries, there isn’t a very strong relationship between a family’s economic background and how much their children can expect to earn.
In Canada, just 19 per cent of a family’s disadvantage is passed on, while that is 47 per cent in the U.S. and 50 per cent in the U.K.
Linked to inequality is Canada’s high poverty rate, which ranks among the worst of the 17 countries the report looks at.
Canada’s child poverty rate is 15.1 per cent, up from 12.8 per cent in the mid-1990s, earning a ‘C’ ranking – only the U.S. ranked lower. Working-age poverty was 11.1 per cent, up from 9.4 per cent in the late 1990s – the ‘D’ ranking Canada received was the same as the U.S. and Japan.
The Conference Board calls Canada’s rate of child poverty “unacceptable,” and says action needs to be taken.
“Poor children do not eat well, do not learn well and have low chances of escaping poverty when they grow up,” Lafleur said.
In reducing inequality and poverty, the report finds that the Canadian government has proven quite effective.
The study notes that due to the tax system and transfers to the poor, income inequality is 27 per cent lower than it otherwise would be, and without government benefits and taxes, poverty rates would be 23 per cent, compared to the current 12 per cent.
However, the political system didn’t get a free pass. Voter turnout and confidence in Parliament were both rated 'C'.
Lafleur calls the report “myth-busting” of the idea of Canada as a “kindler, gentler nation,” saying that self-image is “based largely on a narrow Canada-U.S. comparison,” and that the U.S. ranked dead last among the 17 countries ranked.
The report wasn’t without a few positive marks for Canada – the conference board highlighted acceptance of diversity and life satisfaction as strengths.
Crime was also an area in which Canada was given good marks, with lower rates of homicides and burglaries than most of the other 17 countries.


http://ca.news.yahoo.com/canada-falling ... nance.html


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:46 pm
 


I'm guessing you want the minimum wage raised again?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:01 pm
 


First off, very happy with our labour and social mobility; even if we do have income inequality, it demonstrates that it is not derived from social or economic backgrounds so much as it is from a difference in skill, education or something similar. Something to be very proud of given that a lot of other nations don't value the worth of people actually being able to take advantage of opportunities highly enough, including some nations claiming to be a beacon of economic development, like our southern neighbours or the old motherland across the pond.

As for income inequality, I'd really like to see the gender gap closed. I'm not surprised that that is a key problem, and last I heard, it's getting better, but I would not be surprised if the gender gap played a large role in unnecessary income inequality in Canada. Nothing as pointless as inherently earning less because you have a vagina.

I also really enjoyed the fact that they pointed out education. Canada is hyper-educated these days, to the point where university education is well past the point of market saturation. Yet I still have no doubt it has helped make Canada one of the best places to live today; its better to live in a society filled with knowledge than one of ignorance, even if the latter finds itself in a better economic situation, in my own opinion. I really am a supporter for subsidies for the system, even if it involves systems that demand proportionately more from higher earning university educated students to make up the tax income gap. It just makes sense to improve education infrastructure to me, especially if we continue to have such a strong focus on our education system.

Totally unimpressed with our political system, especially turnout, but I'm always wary when its used as a measure; the impact of various voting systems is important to consider, and Canada's does have some additional barriers to efficacy; that is, votes are sometimes felt "not to count." Since I'm uber-interested in politics, as are most of us here, I think it's hard for us to really get why it's so low, so its hard to really comment on it. I wish a study came out that effectively parsed the reasons behind low voter turnout, instead of a generic "apathy" commentary. The only way to use a measure effectively is to see how it's derived; it's a pain in the ass to keep seeing this come up without any significant recommendation or methodology in how it impacts a society or how it could be improved.

One final thing I want to point out. "The study notes that due to the tax system and transfers to the poor, income inequality is 27 per cent lower than it otherwise would be." Recognize this, andyt? Notice that credit does not go to minimum wage, but instead goes toward tax transfer regimes and programs aimed at supplementing existing income? Notice how successful it's been at actually curing issues of poverty, and reducing the volatility people have in the job market? Maybe it's time to admit that mean ol' Khar wasn't so bad when his own poverty reducing beliefs are actually working.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:32 pm
 


Khar I agree with you for the most part but I think it's highly important to point out that minimum wage doesn't exist as a tool to boost incomes of poor people despite popular belief.

It exists to ensure that someone working full time even in a crap job is at least making enough money to support themselves without undue hardship. Occasionally since the cost of living goes up so to must minimum wage.

personally I'd rather just see it indexed to cost of living increases and leave it at that.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:27 pm
 


Alot of Charlie's on there, not enough Alphas. Would you be happy if this was your kid's report card?

Jobless youth B
Disabled income A
Elderly poverty A
Child poverty C
Working-age poverty D
Income inequality C
Intergenerational income mobility A
Gender income gap C
Voter turnout C
Confidence in parliament C
Homicides A
Burglaries B
Life satisfaction A
Acceptance of diversity A
Social network support B
Suicides B

They have a pretty user-friendly website with details here:

http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/society.aspx


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:54 am
 


Khar wrote:

One final thing I want to point out. "The study notes that due to the tax system and transfers to the poor, income inequality is 27 per cent lower than it otherwise would be." Recognize this, andyt? Notice that credit does not go to minimum wage, but instead goes toward tax transfer regimes and programs aimed at supplementing existing income? Notice how successful it's been at actually curing issues of poverty, and reducing the volatility people have in the job market? Maybe it's time to admit that mean ol' Khar wasn't so bad when his own poverty reducing beliefs are actually working.


Since you brought it up:


Quote:
Working-age poverty was 11.1 per cent, up from 9.4 per cent in the late 1990s – the ‘D’ ranking Canada received was the same as the U.S. and Japan.


Maybe not working all that well.


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