Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dealing with child poverty

In 1989, the House of commons unanimously passed a resolution calling for the elimination of child poverty in Canada by 2000. Of course, it hasn't worked out that way. Ed Broadbent, who was instrumental in bringing forth that resolution, has a lot to say on what we should do about that now:
On the 20th anniversary of a noble parliamentary resolution, let's acknowledge our failure. And then reverse course. Instead of an income-tax policy favouring the rich, let's do the opposite. For a start, let's get our poor, hard-working families what they need immediately: more money.

For more than a decade, it is upper-income Canadians – not the poor or middle class – who have disproportionately benefited from globalization and deregulation. Therefore, I say that increasing their share of income taxes would be based on neither greed nor class envy. It should be called justice.

In the next budget, let's impose a six-point increase in income tax on those earning more than $250,000 a year (whose average taxable income is $600,000). While leaving them with very high incomes, this would provide $3.7-billion in additional revenue. All of this should be used to increase the National Child Benefit Supplement and thus help our poorest children. With this single act, we would significantly make up for two decades of neglect and make a major dent in child poverty.

From the Globe and Mail. Makes sense to me, at least. In the long run, I'm still inclined to think that the basic income is the way to go, but that's a long way off, and Broadbent's proposal seems perfectly achievable.

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