B.C. income inequality high

Queen Elizabeth has de-knighted former Royal Bank CEO Fred Goodwin for putting the bank into a situation.

Queen Elizabeth has de-knighted former Royal Bank CEO Fred Goodwin for putting the bank into a situation which required a government bailout.

She knighted Mr. Goodwin in the first place because the bank was doing so well. Too bad for Mr. G that he didn’t live in North America where he probably would have received a healthy bonus for his failure.

***

A report by  BC Stats,  a provincial government agency, has made it official. The Occupy Movement has it right. One per cent of the population does have all the money and what’s more, B.C. leads the Canadian parade in terms of financial inequality.

If the media is reporting what he said correctly, B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon sees nothing wrong with this. He suggested anyone wanting financial equality should consider Cuba where everyone is equally poor.

There’s more. According to a recent report (December 2011) by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the wage gap between the rich and the poor is at a record high and countries (i.e. Canada) with the highest levels of disparity have shorter, less sustained economic growth.

The OECD deals only with developed countries so Cuba wasn’t counted but it found the Scandinavian countries and the Czech republic have the smallest gaps; bankers and executives lead the pack in terms of  incomes (quelle surprise); and the top 10 per cent make nine times more than the bottom 10 per cent.

So,  B.C. has the highest level of  income inequality in Canada, and Canada is well above the 34 country OECD average. What does that do for our economy? Will the bankers and executives spend enough money to keep the economy growing when everyone else is broke? Beyond giving our resources to foreign countries in return for a job or two, does either the prime minister or our premier have a plan?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.