What Are The Think Tanks Thinking?

by Terrance Hunsley

 C D Howe Institute President,  William Robson. points out that the unfunded liabilities of public sector plans (including hospitals, schools, universities, etc ) are often not fully disclosed to the public.




Brookings Brief (Brookings Institution)

Ben Bernanke, a former Chair of the Federal Reserve, recommends that continued stimulus will be needed to maintain consumption and protect people from hardship, and that federal stimulus measures should not be offset by austerity measures adopted by state and local governments. 


The CARES Act allocated $150 billion to state and local governments. This new aid package must be significantly larger and provide not only assistance for state and local governments but also continued support for the unemployed, investments in public health and stimulus payments to encourage household and business spending and restore full employment.

I know that states such as New Jersey are grateful for the aid they have received so far — without it, their fiscal reality would be much more grim. But much of the aid already provided has come with tight restrictions, which means that it cannot be used to offset budgetary shortfalls resulting from the recession and pandemic-related shutdowns.

To continue to provide services that its citizens need and to avoid severe budget and employment cuts that will drag down the economy, states and localities need more federal help. Providing that help is in everyone’s interest.

Ben S. Bernanke, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, is a distinguished fellow in residence at the Brookings Institution.



The Fraser Institute has done an analysis of the potential for young people living with their parents, who have earned more than $5000 in the past year, to benefit from the CERB. Below is their infographic. They point out that some of these young people will wind up with as much or more income this year as last, because of this benefit. (https://www.fraserinstitute.org/file/distribution-of-cerb-infographicjpg)



It is interesting that they seem to consider that a “high income family” with a young adult present would be one earning $100,000. They even did a second analysis with families earning $80,00. But Statistics Canada informs us that in 2017, the median income of a couple family with the older adult more than 45, was about $120,000. The average income of that category would probably be more than $140, 000.   


IRPP Policy Options

“Palliative care has been lacking for decades in long term care”

Amit Arya, the author is a palliative care physician who also teaches at University of Toronto and McMaster. He first quotes from a report of the Canadian military after they were sent into a number of long term care homes to provide support during the COVID crisis:

“Poor palliative care standards, including no mouth or eye care supplies for dying residents.”

“Palliative care orders are not charted, are unknown to staff and therefore not often observed and residents’ documents are out of date.”

“Lack of pain treatment, including a patient with a fractured hip and inadequate palliation.”

He then goes on to state: 

What may also be shocking is that these findings are not unique to the pandemic. Even on a good day, palliative care is often utterly inadequate in nursing homes, and this needs to change.

In Ontario, the average resident of a nursing home dies within 18 months. For many of us, these are the places we will go to die, yet palliative care is not something people in these homes predictably receive. In fact, only six percent of residents in a nursing home have a record of receiving palliative care in the last year of life, according to a 2018 study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

…Palliative care is built on frequent, deep conversations between health workers, patients and their family members. The goals of these conversations are twofold: to ensure that patients and families understand the medical situation and the healthcare team understands what is important to the patient in the time that is left. These essential discussions take time and trained health workers – something in short supply in the nursing home system.

To read more, go to: https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/july-2020/palliative-care-has-been-lacking-for-decades-in-long-term-care/,


The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has recently completed a series of webinars on the subject of Green New Deals that the world needs now.  

In the spring of 2020, the CCPA partnered with the New York and Brussels offices of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy to convene a series of webinars on the transformative and internationalist responses to the climate emergency that the world needs right now. Click on the links below to view the webinars in full.

For more information: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/updates/green-new-deals-world-needs-now-webinar-series


The Cochrane Collaboration has completed a review of psychological interventions to build resilience in health care workers and related professions, such as social workers. They find low-level supportive evidence:

Cochrane review authors asked, “do psychological interventions designed to foster resilience improve resilience, mental health and other factors associated with resilience in healthcare professionals?” This question is particularly relevant at the moment, when healthcare workers are under great pressure due to COVID-19.

Review authors searched for studies up to June 2019. They found 44 studies that tested a range of resilience interventions. Thirty-nine studies included healthcare professionals only (6892 participants). Four studies included healthcare professionals and non‐healthcare workers (1000 participants). The remaining study examined 82 volunteer emergency workers.

….Nineteen studies compared a combined resilience intervention (e.g. mindfulness and cognitive‐behavioural therapy) with unspecific comparators (e.g. a wait‐list control). Most interventions were performed in face-to-face, in groups, with high training intensity of more than 12 hours or sessions.

The review authors found very low-certainty evidence that resilience training may improve resilience in healthcare professionals, and may reduce symptoms of depression and stress immediately after the end of treatment. Resilience interventions do not appear to reduce anxiety symptoms or improve well‐being. Very few studies reported on the longer‐term impact of resilience interventions. Only three studies examined potential adverse events and found no undesired effects.

For more info: https://www.cochrane.org/news/featured-review-psychological-interventions-foster-resilience-healthcare-professionals


The Institute for Public Policy Research (UK)

…has just released an interim report of their Environmental Justice Commission

As we move through this pandemic, and seek to transition from stabilisation to recovery, it is vital that the economy and society we rebuild is not a return to business as usual. Governments cannot claim that the climate and nature crisis is unexpected nor that they are unaware of its destructive potential. It is incumbent on all of us to act now, not with a vision of hair shirts but one of building a new fairer society, with dynamic businesses that are future fit, providing fulfilling jobs, a much healthier public and a thriving natural environment.

At the heart of this new economy will be the promotion of citizens’ wellbeing. Health, quality of life, and the positive impacts of a thriving environment will all be driven through strong climate and nature policies with ambitious targets to deliver clean air, warm homes, access to open spaces, and healthy diets. Our homes will be largely powered and heated by renewable energy, much of it decentralised and all of it smart. Sustainable public transport will be abundant, electric vehicles available for those that need them and take-up of cycling and walking increased.

…While the housing sector has in recent years expanded its capacity to build new homes that meet high energy standards, retrofitting the existing housing stock and decarbonising heat remains the biggest challenge for the housing sector.

They recommend that government develop a detailed strategy for every industry to decarbonize and adopt green technology.

for more: https://www.ippr.org/files/2020-07/faster-further-fairer-ejc-interim-may20.pdf

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