Policy has much to do with family debt
Re Debt: Canada's Borrowing Binge: The Globe's debt series frequently suggested that the problem of household debt is a personal one, rather than a policy consequence. Insofar as policy has been featured, it is only in the form of recent low interest rates and certain aspects of financial services regulation, notably mortgage terms and so-called payday lending. There was no recognition that driving up households' debt-to-income ratio has been policy – long-standing policy at that.
In 1975, Ottawa decided it needed to put a stop to increases in average real wages. In 1977, it decided to begin managing the economy by increasing the country's debts. It took 20 years to put those policies into full effect, but we now have the evidence of the 20 years since 1995 to see their consequences. With stagnant average real wages and a policy of increasing personal indebtedness, an increasing debt-to-income ratio is the inevitable outcome. If we really want to solve this problem, it requires real wages to start increasing again, governments to start reassuming the costs and responsibilities they have downloaded onto households, and an end to the use of monetary policy to manage the economy. Chris Borst, Hamilton
Twisting metaphors to defend the rich
Re Overtaxing the rich: A cautionary tale (May 14): Tim Cestnick provides a rather tortured metaphor on dinner and tax cuts. An alternate version of the metaphor would read as follows: Ten people, each representing 10 per cent of Canada's population, sat down to dinner. One was served 50 per cent of the food; one was served 20 per cent; two were served 10 per cent each. The remaining six were served portions from the last 20 per cent of the food, with two receiving just a few crumbs.
The six at the bottom end said to the one who had received half, "You used to get less, we're going to reduce your portion from 50 per cent back to 40 per cent and distribute the 10 per cent, especially to those who are getting only crumbs."
He replied: "If you do that, I will go to another country where I can receive 60 or even 70 per cent of the food."
The other nine said, "But the food came from this country. You can leave if you like, but you can't take this food with you."
The moral of the story is not who should get tax cuts, but how the country's wealth should be distributed. The majority of those receiving the crumbs are young people who rack up enormous education debt, then graduate into temporary, low-paying jobs, while some fight to have more wealth diverted to themselves. Chris Glover, Toronto District School Board trustee and adjunct professor, York University
MaRS does, indeed, help businesses grow
Re For university innovators, building a better mousetrap is just the beginning (May 16): Jordan B. Peterson argues that incubators such as MaRS and Communitech "don't help new entrepreneurs gain customers."
Really? In fact, we actively build partnerships with corporations in Canada and internationally to help startups gain customers. In addition, we provide market intelligence, advise as needed on business models, sales and marketing strategies and support recruitment of business talent. Salim Teja, executive vice-president, venture services, MaRS Discovery District, Toronto
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