The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released a study yesterday demonstrating that income inequality is increasing around the globe, and Canada is among the worst offenders.
The richest 1% of Canadians saw their share of total income increase from slightly more than 8% in 1980 to more than 13% in 2007. The share owned by the richest 0.1% of Canadians more than doubled, from 2% to 5.3%.
The culprit: changes in the tax code that benefit the rich and hurt people with lower incomes.
The OECD fingered tax policies for much of the changes. Canada's top marginal tax rate dropped from 43 per cent in 1981 to 29 per cent in 2010, the OECD noted in the report.While the income gap widens, public services that an increasingly large segment of society depends on are dismantled.
Meanwhile, tax benefits now only offset less than 40 per cent of wage inequality in Canada, compared with more than 70 per cent before.
"The social contract is starting to unravel in many countries," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría said. "This study dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility."
"Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise." . . .
That 9-1 global ratio is the largest gap in a generation, the agency says. Even in traditionally egalitarian nations such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden, the ratio has risen from 5-1 in the 1980s to 6-1 today.
The gap is 10-1 in Italy, Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom, and higher still, at 14-1 in Israel, Turkey and the United States.
Our quality of life deteriorates.
Discontent, anger and fear grow.
People take to the streets to express their unhappiness and demand change.
Police and military forces are used against them.
Discontent, anger and fear rise, unabated.
There is only one way to fight this. Organize.
Council of Canadians
International Socialists Canada
New Democrat Party
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives