Has income inequality really been unchanged in Canada? : a reader’s guide to the recent TD report

To some there would appear to be a debate over whether inequality has increased in Canada. My view is that it has in fact increased, but at the same time its nature has changed.

However, a recent report released by the economic analysis branch of the TD Bank has been interpreted by a columnist at one important national news paper to suggest that inequality has not been changing. Some readers of my December 16th post , which attempted to clarify this perspective, have asked for my own interpretation of the TD report. This is what I offer here.

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Three rules for good pundit behaviour, or if you like: how to obstruct the debate on inequality in three easy steps

Inequality is increasing in Canada. Or is it?

A short report on the topic released by a major Canadian bank includes the bold heading “Income inequality has been unchanged in Canada — say what?”. This apparently contrarian finding has been seized upon by at least one influential pundit in a way that only serves to obstruct constructive public policy discussion.

A debate is in order, not over whether inequality has increased—because it has—but why this is important, and what could, or for that matter should, be done about it.

But this sort of discussion requires the best of our public commentators, and in this post I offer three rules for good pundit behaviour. Economic statistics can be confusing and they can be used in confusing ways, purposely or not, and so these rules might also be a set of general guideposts for the average reader to help separate fact from fiction, since after all we can’t expect pundits to always follow them.

Continue reading “Three rules for good pundit behaviour, or if you like: how to obstruct the debate on inequality in three easy steps”