In 2008, we encountered a massive global recession. This recession was tipped off by the financial industry, as well as a few people that allowed certain scams like the subprime mortgages, financial collapse of major banks and related public companies. The recession moved worldwide, as thousands upon thousands of jobs were shifted to low cost countries (e.g. where labour can be bought for a dollar a day), or simply lost altogether. Manufacturing used to rule Ontario and upheld the so-called middle class. Supposedly in the "best interests" of the country, American and Canadian governments threw trillions of dollars at the failing banks, failing manufacturing firms and the subprime mortgage sector in some sort of twisted rescue mission. Most of us never received a penny from this spending episode and probably never will.
While governments and big companies pat each other on the back for helping one another "miss that bullet", little did anybody know that people were still losing their jobs, losing their homes and losing their position in society. Average incomes dropped dramatically, despite rising costs in food, housing and transportation. Our respective governments declared some kind of victory against the recession beast in late 2009 or early 2010, pretending that everybody was all doing well again. We hear news reports that as of June 2011, we now have more jobs than we did before this recession hit, so now that we are doing so "well", governments are telling US we better start tightening OUR belts because there's this huge deficit here and we lived high off the hog for too long. That's funny. I can't recall ever having so much.
These reports piss me off more than anything else, because I, like most readers, know things are not good again. Newspapers are celebrating the advent of 100 new call centre jobs in Fort Erie. Wow! One hundred more minimum wage workers to prop up the wealthy corporations that retain the centre as their client ... at the same time, I am watching us continue to bleed manufacturing jobs, so men and women in their fifties and early sixties are now thrown on the street with no options, other than a minimum wage call centre job. At the same time, every second person I talk to is receiving some kind of social assistance, whether this be EI, Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support, CPP or other long term benefit that doesn't pay all that much.
Yet we undergone both a federal and now a provincial election where our politicians and candidates for political office continue to lie to us by pretending everything is as good as it was before the 2008 crash. They promise us tax cuts, from ....? I almost drilled a new one into the rear end of one of the local candidates when they tried to sell me on this whole "tax cuts lead to jobs" mantra, which I explained in earlier posts why that is a lie. It irritates me to no end how politicians will go to the lowest common denominator to try to convince people of lies they heard over and over and over again, yet in reality, when these policies are put into place, NOBODY is better off other than the very rich! We have to stop voting for politicians that lie to us, and do not tell us the truth of where their policies will be taking us.
If you want health care cuts, or to pay more out of pocket for various services, including health care, community services, education, and so forth, then go ahead and vote for your tax cuts. Chances are you are not making $93,700 a year as a family, which these same politicians wildly claim as the "average" as they sweep the province this time around. The less taxes people pay, the less money there will be to pay for health care, education, social services, roads, bridges, and so forth. However, politicians were a bit reluctant to cut these services, so they went even further into a deficit. Deficits are caused when the government is not taking in as much as it spends, and when taxes are cut and cut and cut, there is less and less and less money in place for governments to use for health care, schools, social services, etc.
Tell me the truth: Did YOU feel any impact from any of these tax cuts? Maybe a bit extra, so you can buy one more double double each month? That is about all the average person will feel from these tax cuts. The very poor do not benefit at all, and with the onset of the HST, the very poor are likely paying as a proportion to their total income, MORE taxes than the top 10% of earners. The McGuinty government of course is being ratted out all over for promising not to hike taxes, but then later on, adding new taxes. So what, Hudak, I don't give a rabbit's behind over taxes. I read your platform. Which one of these taxes are YOU going to eliminate? None. However, you want to cut taxes for the wealthy and big business more and more as each year passes, just like McGuinty did. I know Hudak understands that tax cuts to corporations and wealthy persons does not create new employment. After all, he has studied economics, before he turned to politics. But unfortunately, we have a mediocre community that includes many high school drop outs and people that believe anything that is told to them, and all that matters is votes. They might as well try to convince us that moon is made of blue cheese!
Hudak did make a statement in his platform that his government would allow people receiving ODSP to earn more money and keep it, but there are no details as to how he will go about this. There is no promise to make real changes to this system so that people receiving ODSP can get married without getting their incomes cannibalized, especially if they are NOT able to work but their spouse can. What in the living Hell does a spouse's income and business affairs have to do with their other half's disability? Maybe if somebody told me where this comes from, I might believe them, but I have yet to hear any plausible excuse for a policy like this, which only entraps and subjects the disabled partner to abuse and diminishes their independence at best.
The second one is even more interesting. Hudak is painting himself as pro business, pro jobs, and pro entrepreneurship. Well, will Hudak get rid of the entangled rules that any ODSP recipient or their spouses have to deal with if they choose self-employment as their way of making money? Self-employment income is not counted in the same way Canada Revenue Agency counts for other businesses, yet we wonder if Hudak will allow ANY business to be treated the same. Either tell all businesses they are not allowed to hire staff, not allowed to deduct costs for conventions, not allowed to deduct costs for professional clothing and appearances (especially if this is part of the job), etc. and see where that gets you. So Hudak, either you are for small business and for increasing the number of jobs or you are not. Which is it? Dalton McGuinty has given these same people the same wimpy excuse year after year about how they do not want to "subsidize" businesses with ODSP, yet on the other hand, the McGuinty government will throw Samsung $7 billion, Silicon Knights $2.8 million, GM almost $3 billion dollars .... yeah, now I get it.
The poorest of the poor, the entrapped poor and their families and the "working poor" are supposed to continue to pay for these subsidies and benefits given to the rich and to large corporations they will never benefit from, even though these same entities have been busy sucking out of the government trough for years, leading our government into this huge deficit they are saying is there now, and because of that, WE but not THEY have to tighten our belts. I'm sorry. THIS IS NOT MY DEBT. I OWE NOTHING. The more of us that can say this and really mean it, the more impact it will have. If there is a debt that has to be repaid, take it from those that benefited in the first place from all the largess.
Take it from the multi millionaires that pay less tax as a percentage of their incomes than the people that clean their offices. Take it from the corporate executives that paid themselves bonuses after their companies went tits up and got government bucks to "stimulate" the economy. Take it from the $3,000 a day consultants that worked for e-Health under McGuinty's watch, who had the nerve to charge their Tim Horton's on top of it. Take it from your so-called "average" family that makes $93,700 a year and up.
One of my MPPs in my region asked me how I would respond when groups like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show up at their door crying poor because they do not want to pay any more taxes. I told him to ask each and every one of them present to bring in their last year's tax return and show him line 150. I am willing to bet my first born that their incomes are all in the six figures and they can damn well afford the taxes they are supposedly paying, and probably have more loopholes than the average person anyways if they want more write-offs. Ask them to make a choice: earn the money they are earning or more likely receiving right now, while continuing to pay the taxes that they allegedly do, OR earn only $20,000 a year and pay NO taxes, and still have their current expenses. I am curious which one they would pick. Are you?
To me, it is people in the higher income brackets that benefited from the spending and tax cuts that led to this monstrous deficit and it is THEY and not US that should be tightening their belts and giving up more. This era of the selfish has to end, as it is driving all of us into the ground. These same people do not want to help the poor other than their "charitable donations" to food banks etc. - (no thanks). At the same times, poverty is costing every man, woman and child each year over $2,700 according to a study by the National Council of Welfare, but would cost less than half to eradicate it.
Some of you people reading this probably wonder what I have AGAINST the rich. Actually, I don't have anything against the wealthy. I have many friends among this upper middle echelon and so forth, and I once made good money in the past where I had few financial worries. However, when I made the good bucks, I did not care about the taxes, as I believed if I made more, I should pay a little more than those that earn less than I do. Taxes create a civilized society. This does not mean we do not have the right to criticize HOW our taxes are spent, as there are likely ten thousand different ways governments can save money without cutting services, and to use their resources more efficiently. What I am critical is the growing passive acceptance by the public of the growing gap between the very wealthy and the very poor, as well as the decimation of our middle classes.
Some might argue that companies will leave if they had to pay more taxes. This has never been proven. Companies do leave jurisdictions, usually for a variety of reasons and not necessarily because of taxes. Many times, it is labour costs. There are companies that move to Canada as well because employers are not stuck with a bill for health insurance for their employees. Others choose a location because of the pool of labour available, the number of people with particular skills and expertise. However, as I said before, there are probably a few companies that would be eager to hire chimpanzees in exchange for a clean cage and bananas, if they could do it. The very wealthy often do not seem to want to share their wealth, even though it is their best interests.
First, the work of the lower and middle echelons of their companies effectively keep them in business, and in turn, with a public with an acceptable level of income, there are more consumers for the corporation's product or service than if this inequality is allowed to continue as it has. People on the bottom end of the income scale do not eat at restaurants, do not buy their clothing at department or clothing stores, do not buy their books at bookstores, do not go to the movies, nor do they buy computers, iPads, cell phones or even cars. When companies that supply these things have less consumers, because more and more members of their communities are unable to afford anything beyond their housing, these companies eventually fail. Henry Ford, when he set up his factories, knew that he had to pay his staff enough money so they can afford to buy his product, or he would not sell enough cars to enough people to make any money at all.
I tried over the years to tell politicians how to achieve this aim, how to do true stimulus, and how to deal with objections by the selfish and senseless. I also tried to show politicians how to achieve change without killing people, or putting people into positions where they feel they must take their lives, or they develop health conditions where they slowly die. All of these things seem senseless or illogical, but when you think of it, when more of us are healthy, costs for our cherished health care system go down and become more manageable. When we have not only sufficient funds for bare physical survival, but also for meaningful participation in the community, everybody is richer, from the butcher at the corner, to the farmers at the market, to the chef that runs the downtown eatery, to the man that owns the movie theater.
This is all common sense to me. How come our leaders seem to be losing their way?