Monday, July 8, 2013

Let's Take A Step Backward

We're standing on a teacup, because there's no
river ice in July.
Sometimes, when you step back to look at the big picture, you don't understand what you see. I'm looking for people to help explain it all to me, since  I now stand dumbfounded.

I live in a country where we've maxed out the credit card. I think. It's hard to tell - I'm a mostly-trained accountant, a skilled financial mathematics expert, and an amateur economist, and, as one person put it "damn good at tearing through vague language" - but the government's official page on the budget and the nation's financial statement is opaque for all intents and purposes. I can't figure out how much money we are spending on what things, and it's not for lack of trying, or lack of understanding. The information is being kept deliberately obscure.

But, let's take a look at what we do know. We do know that Employment Insurance, for which all Canadian workers pay, and which is intended to protect us against layoffs, is being reduced. We know that our soldiers are coming home, but not until next year - I guess the treasure needed to keep them in the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan is less than one might guess. I know I hear more often about cuts to programs than new initiatives - no more Midwife's Council in New Brunswick, huge reductions in research facilities. Tax cuts inevitably favour business - cuts to taxes on manufacturing equipment, that sort of thing.

Now, my basic understanding of recessionary economics is that recessions stem from a sudden understanding of the scarcity of money - suddenly nobody wants to spend it, especially spending speculative money that exists only in the form of debt to banks or credit institutions. It seems to me the last thing the government wants to do is stop spending money, putting their heel on the throat of the Canadian underclasses while allowing a few commercial outfits to spend more freely. Improving the economic situation would be signalled by a return to the free flow of goods.

If the government cannot safeguard the people, what is the point of having one? What is the point of having manufacturing if the workers are too poor to buy the goods? What is the point, in fact, of any of it?

A government may function because the people give it a legitimacy - either explicitly, through their support, or implicitly, by compliance. We, as Canadians, need to adjust our perceptions of what we consider legitimate. We, who work to make the rich rich, and the state great, must demand our fair share.

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