Tagged: Economic inequality

Falcon’s Jest – The tale of the tape

Just to add to the last post, this chart from the recently released B.C. Stats report is the one that is the most telling, in my opinion:BC & Canada GINI coefficient

You can see that for most of the last 35 years B.C. has scored better than the rest of the country. You can see that, for the most part, B.C. has tracked with the rest of the country. Finally, you can also see a very noticeable spike just after 2001, which the Canadian average did not match, and which B.C. has never recovered from. The B.C. Liberal Party came to power in the spring of 2001.

It’s true that B.C. surpassed Canada in the waning days of the NDP government, as it had briefly at times previously (the one exception being the noticeable bump during Bill Bennett’s term).

If we are to believe Kevin Falcon, a lot of high-paying jobs were created in 2001-02 which, unfortunately, only a lucky few were able to score. Of course, if the chart is to be believed these jobs seem to have started declining in 2003 but, hey, that’s probably just the market readjusting or something.

None of this has anything to do with the massive tax cuts enacted in the B.C. Liberals first term and the data certainly doesn’t indicate previously wealthy people getting much wealthier. Not by working harder, or innovating, but because they paid the taxman less.

And the rest of us? Well…not so much.

Good old Kevin Falcon. And you thought it was Bill Vander Zalm who lived in Fantasy Gardens.


Falcon gap growing in B.C.

Per the Notable Linkage below, income inequality in British Columbia is now one of the worst in the nation, while Canada overall finds itself on the lower end of the scale of developed nations.

But here is the reaction #1 of B.C.’s Finance Minister to what should be distressing news:

Falcon doesn’t dispute the numbers in the study, but he takes issue with the analysis.

“I just have trouble with people saying, ‘Oh, because there’s a gap there that’s must be a bad thing.’ You know remember, as I mentioned earlier, and I’m not being flippant, but in Cuba they don’t have any income inequality because they’re all poor,” he said.

Let me translate: “Don’t like it? Go back to Russia, hippie!” But is it even, you know, true? Well, for one, Cuba doesn’t actually release statistics of this sort. But even a casual observer would note that, yes, there are a lot of poor people in Cuba…but there’s also apparently a tiny elite who, you know, live very well. In other words, it’s a very unequal society. Then there are, you know, all those other countries that aren’t Cuba where the gap between rich and poor isn’t as pronounced as it is here. Terrible places like Denmark and Germany and Australia.

In the Sun Falcon provides us with a bit of a more grownup reaction:

“We’ve spent the last 10 years working hard to bring back high-paying jobs to British Columbia,” he said of the Liberal government.

“This goes to the very core of what kind of government the public would like to have,” Falcon added, saying he believes Dix would increase income and corporate taxes if elected premier.

“What we’re saying is we want to have the high-wage jobs in British Columbia and we don’t want to scare them away and chase them away as we did in the 1990s with high taxes.”

The idea that the growth in income disparity in B.C. is due to the influx of high-paying jobs is at least an explanation that lies within the realm of the plausible.

But is it, you know, even true?

One could simply look at the unemployment rate in 2001 and 2012 to get an inkling of the truth of this, but the Government’s own statistics contradicts the Minister’s statement:

Employment in British Columbia rose slightly (+0.5%, seasonally adjusted) in December, following declines in each of the two previous months. However, due to an expansion in the number of people looking for work (+0.4%), the province’s unemployment rate ended the year unchanged from the previous month, at 7.0%. Growth in the number of part-time jobs (+1.6%) was the main reason for the overall increase, with full-time employment increasing marginally (+0.1%) compared to the previous month.

I guess the number of millionaires with part-time jobs increased. But wait a sec, is this the whole story? I seem to recall there was better news in the Fall

The public-sector accounted for a gain of 36,900 workers, while there were 14,900 fewer in the private sector and 38,900 more people were self-employed.

Perhaps not surprisingly for the month September, most of the job gains came in the area of educational services. There were 38,000 additional people working in the category last month, Statistics Canada said.

Employment in education was up 20,000 from where it was in September last year.

Ah! It’s those fat-cat teachers responsible for the gap! You know, the ones Falcon and co. are currently trying to crush.

So, in summary, plausible. But delusional.