"The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer." Here is an oft-repeated assertion that serves as a ready-made conclusion for debates on various topics, from free trade to tax reductions. Indeed, one broadly held view is that economic growth does not benefit the poor. The revenue of the poor might not increase at all or not increase as fast as that of the rich, so that economic growth would create more inequality. What do the facts tell us?
A widely held view suggests that the main function of government is to help the poor. Do the data we have for Canada justify this opinion? Slightly under one-third of spending by all levels of public administration in Canada is devoted to social services, in other words to the various transfer payments supporting individual incomes along with related administrative expenses. If social programs are defined more broadly, we would have to add the 28% of spending that goes to health care and education (in roughly equal proportions). In Canada we thus have about 60% of public spending going toward social programs in the broader sense.
Opponents to the World Trade Organization.