Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Poor-Bashing and EI Reforms

Back for another round, which is unfortunate, because in the meantime I've missed many juicy potential stories, like Sylvain Charlebois's ludicrous pro-industry bullshit, claiming not only that we should welcome higher food prices but that in the long term, a rise in food prices which actually lead to lower food prices. This sort of up-is-down doublespeak is straight out of Orwell and not normally something to be expected from a tenured professor. And Mr. Charlebois is indeed a tenured professor, as a haughty commenter took pains to point out the last time I tore a piece out of him for defending corporate interests over those of the Canadian people.

Anyhow, Charlebois isn't the subject today, because there is new fuckery afoot. In the Globe and Mail today, Charles Cirtwill is banging on about the evils of Employment Insurance, arguing that instead of reforming the EI system so that more help reaches those in need, we introduce an entirely new system which he dubs "Compensatory Income Support" (CIS). CIS would be a separate EI system that would be activated only during an economic recession, eithe by some sort of technocratic trigger or by a special vote in Parliament. "EI would still be used in the up times," he writes, but the government could draw on the CIS reserves in the bad times.

Cirtwill insists in the column that he isn't actually against reforms to EI. In fact, he says, he wants some even more radical reforms than anyone is proposing: what he calls conversion to a "real insurance program." This would eliminate the appalling egalitarianism that pervades the present system and instead establish a much more "flexible" system of rates, charging more to seasonal industries and to individuals who have a propensity to be laid off. He also says it should be optional to buy in to the program.

Sound good? Maybe. But I'm not convinced. Given Cirtwill's background, and some of the appalling blank spaces left in this article (a convenient ignorance on his part), you can take me as being highly skeptical.

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