As a famous group of puppets on Sesame Street would say, “Today’s letter of the day is ‘K.’ ”
But what if a “k” is not what we want?
This is the situation the Canadian economy finds itself in: current economic data shows that the pre-pandemic well-off are benefiting while the pre-pandemic marginalized are suffering considerably.
For example, white-collar workers are benefiting from work-from-home’s favourable commute times, low interest rates to upsize their living space, and soaring financial assets in their portfolios.
In contrast, blue-collar workers providing essential services on the front lines are facing potentially serious health problems. They also have to deal with unpredictable work schedules, shutdowns and convoluted government income-support programs. In short, we are experiencing a K-shaped recovery: the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
Winston Churchill famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” COVID-19 and its congruent economic crisis is an opportunity to implement key changes that will set Canada’s economic trajectory on the right path.
Specifically, three things must be done: a universal basic income with automatic stabilizers; high-quality, affordable child care; and a well-designed wealth tax.
A guaranteed income
The current global pandemic has rekindled a discussion on the need for a minimum guaranteed income, or GI.
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