Stockton, California did a post-2008 crash-and-burn rivalled perhaps only by Detroit in terms of American municipal financial disaster. By embracing an economy built on minimally regulated suburban real-estate development and low taxes the city of about three hundred thousand in the San Joaquin Valley ran maximum risk with its economic health. The result? Maximum bust.
All the woes of America from foreclosures to rising crime and obesity and declining schools seem to beset Stockton and grip the city in a depressing vice. A new mayor, however, has begun to reconceive Stockton with a modest basic income program as part of his plan for trying to move things forward.
This week we were reminded that the federal Liberal party’s bag men are no strangers to the benefits of stashing one’s money overseas. Hey, even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has a couple hundred pounds in that fancy hat. Attention for the matter of how Canada’s elites array their money has, unfortunately, proved fleeting.
Also predictably disappointing was a near total lack of media interest in a statement from a professional body of Canadian social workers in favour of recent official interest in basic income. Like other observers, the social workers have come to find Canada’s approach to the costly presence of poverty here less than effective. Along with the experience of doctors and nurses, the knowledge of social workers has to be considered with high seriousness in this area. Money stashed overseas in tax havens would seem to at least hint at the ability of this society to afford social policies that would eradicate poverty.
For low income neighbourhoods to increase from 9% of a place to 51% of a place is a pretty crap reality. Welcome to Brampton and Mississauga, once showpieces of growth and consumer choice. Really, if you know anything about social conditions here the update to a 2015 United Way report will not surprise you.
Kudos to Vox for showing interest in the idea of a universal basic income. This particular feature covers a Roosevelt Institute report into the impressive leveraging effects that could accompany the implementation of a UBI in the United States. We’re talking trillions.
A squeeze is on working people in the United Kingdom, the States and Canada. The calculus of personal pressure and hard times described in this piece from The Guardian website is certainly reproduced in the Greater Toronto Area. Such difficulty seems to be a big part of what it means to be a working person in these societies. Mentioned in this piece is the weak economics of wages for a couple with a young child in Glasgow where a call-centre job really just doesn’t cut it. The weight of this at the societal level is also discovered via this article. Recent data from a UK university is linked concluding a crap job is often much worse for your mental health than the stresses of full on unemployment.
Crazy stuff indeed. The late nineteenth century industrial economy was fuelled on coal. Our early twenty-first century digital economy is fuelled on human stress.