2015: Threat or Menace?

Warning, serious wonkery ahead.

So I was a tad alarmed to see, in last month’s council agenda, this operating budget variance report projecting a year-end deficit of $1.783 million. And I’ve also been going back to David Hains’s look at the formidable 2015 budget gap and wondering if there’s anything to it. Basically, I’m wondering 1) how much of a mess will the next mayor inherit?, and 2) do they even know?

Continue reading 2015: Threat or Menace?

In the News: Poverty, Housing, Health

Toronto Star, “Affordable housing to simplify onerous rent rules”, Nov. 29. The [Ontario] Liberals are coming through on their promise of an affordable housing strategy…sort of.

Globe and Mail, “Province tells Ford to back off on Toronto welfare funding request”, Nov. 29. The provincial government promised municipalities it would cover half the cost of running Ontario Works. But that cost has risen sharply thanks to the increased caseload during this recession. They’re hoping Ford’s frugality means a lower payout.

The Toronto Star, “The rich get rich, and the poor get sick”, Dec. 13. Poor people are vastly more likely to get type 2 diabetes, and, of course, be unable to afford the healthy diet that would help control it.

The Toronto Star, “Welfare rules forcing people into destitution, report finds”, Dec. 13. Includes a smattering of delicious nation-wide statistics. You don’t qualify for social assistance until you’ve exhausted nearly all your assets, and then payments are well below the poverty line—leaving no means of getting back on your feet. Some people seem to think that poverty just happens, like weather or something. In fact, government policies actively create and sustain poverty. You just need to look at the numbers.