Economics + Politics

If there’s one thing that’s very clear to me in Ontario, it’s the fact that there’s a huge disparity in the wealth distribution in this province. While the average income here is quite a bit higher than say, Prince Edward Island, the cost of living is even higher. On PEI, there were those few that were very wealthy, but the average household could still live pretty comfortably in a middle class neighborhood. The cost of land was relatively low, unless you went towards the waterfront properties. Most places were well-kept.

But when you come to Ontario, you’d probably notice the shocking amount of derelict buildings, poorly maintained neighborhoods and a general ‘poorer’ feeling in many areas. That’s not to say there aren’t rich people. Far from it; everywhere you look, you can see fancy cars, huge houses and thousand dollar handbags (okay, so you can’t really see the last one everywhere…) That’s the problem though. The average income is higher because there are so many well off people. The majority of people are still only making $30-40K a year. On PEI, you can get away with that. In a big city in Ontario, where the cost of a decent condo is easily double a nice house on PEI, it’s pretty difficult to get by on that sort of salary. Meanwhile you’ve got a ton of people who trying to decide what luxury car to buy next.

I’m not complaining about my current living standards at all. I live very comfortably. If I want something, I can probably afford it, within reason. (No, I can’t go buy a car on a whim) What I’m saying is that there is a disproportionate amount of people who are not living comfortably. In fact, they’re hardly living at all. They work very long hours at mediocre paying jobs just to get by in the big city. Just how bad is it? If my co-op jobs’ salaries were annualized, I’d be making more money than a lot of people out there (in Ontario). Just think, I’m merely a first year university student.

It’s also why I’m against what the Harper government has done. Before the Liberals went out of power, they decreased the lowest tax bracket’s tax rate by one percent. However, when the Conservatives came into power, they reversed that 1% decrease and meanwhile lowered the GST by 1% instead. Now let’s think about this for a moment. Who does the 1% decrease in income taxes benefit the most? The people who need it the most; the people who make the least. Who does the 1% GST decrease benefit the most? The people who spend the most, or, in other words, (generally speaking here) people who make the most money already. This has always been the fracturing between the three main parties in Canada. The Conservatives favor the rich, the NDP favor the poor and the Liberals stick themselves somewhere in between. Fortunately, the majority of voters are not wealthy. The majority of voters are average Joe Schmos. While the Conservatives put on the front that they’re accountable and responsible, not scandaling it away like the Liberals, how much did we really lose with the Liberals? Yes, they got complacent in their position of power for too many years, but in reality, they only blew, what, a couple hundred million. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are spending billions on projects that many protest again. For example, the $100/month child support checks. Instead of providing the daycares subsidies, to lower the cost, the Conservatives thought it a good idea to send that money directly to the hands of the parents. While you’d like to believe so, not all parents are responsible. With the Liberals’ plan, the money was going to child care and child care only because it was going directly to those facilities. But when you mail a check out to a household, you no longer have any control over what happens with that money. Maybe it’ll be used for the child’s daycare or other care costs, but there’s also a big possibility that it could be used to buy cigarettes, alcohol or that big screen TV? Add on top of that the fact that many daycares are raising their monthly fees by that exact $100/month and it seems like those billions mailed out in nice government envelopes are for naught. So is it more right to spend money legitimately, but completely wastefully, than to cheat it from us? Or what about the softwood lumber dispute? Canadian lumber companies were forced to forfeit $1 billion to our neighbors to the south in the most recent deal. Now that in itself is bad enough when just about all the rulings were coming in our favor. To add insult on injury, the Conservatives crowed about how great of a settlement we were getting. How great was that settlement Mr. Harper? Why did we not get that other $1 billion if we were in the right? Why was it a good settlement if we in the right? Whether it be the Liberal scandals or the Conservative’s irresponsible spending, I believe we, the citizens, are being cheated.

I won’t speak about it too much at length, but I just have to comment on Steven Harper’s recent comments in light of the difficulty going on around the world. Be it the North Korea or Iran or Iraq or Israel-Lebanon conflict, Harper has been in step with the United States and George Bush the whole way. I want a government who can speak for the country. I don’t want a lapdop that’s willing to do anything to get some table scraps from the United States government. I actually feel disgusted at the way Steven Harper has handled himself. While just about every nation except the United States has called on an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Lebanon conflict, Harper thought it would be nice to put on a show of solidarity with Mr. Bush. Earth to Harper, we don’t need a miniature Bush here. And what’s even worse is that we have one who can merely repeat after the real one. I mean what’s all this crap about a new Middle East coming from the United States? The Bush administration even went so far as to essentially call the people who don’t want this ‘new’ Middle East terrorists. Who the hell asked the United States what the Middle East should be? What gives them the right to define what it should be?

Enough of that. What started off as a small discussion about the financial state of Ontario compared to PEI really degenerated into politics. But if I learned one thing in economics in high school (aside from the fact that options are both awesome and evil) is that politics and money are joined at the hip.

4 thoughts on “Economics + Politics”

  1. You see, one of the reasons why I’m glad I got laid off is because my boss was a total nutcase. She was behind Bush and Harper 100% of the way and refused to see the errors both have caused. Personally, I’m a liberal, but I don’t care if people support Bush and Harper, but to the point where they stand up for everything they do? She’s their puppet, complete and utter puppet. I remember one time she was all gung ho about the war in Iraq and she kept telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about. Yeah, pretty sure the only reason I’m in this country is because of a war! I know what the hell war means, I know what it can do to families and to people. She’s lived in Canada her whole life, she doesn’t know anything about war. She also believes homeless people shouldn’t be given money or support and that they can make it on their own, and that they’re homeless because they choose to be. Oh, and don’t get me started on the fact that she doesn’t think homosexuals should be allowed to teach children or anything. It’s fine to have opinions, but she not only has them, but only sees her opinions and thinks everyone else is wrong. On top of that she teaches the children her opinion. Informing? Fine. But to tell kids that the way you’re thinking is the only way to think, I don’t think so. Come to think of it, I’m actually kind of glad to not have to work with her. Ugh. Anyway, I’ve deviated far from what I meant to say, which was this: Excellent post. I agree with almost everything.

  2. I think there is a huge problem with the political system here in North America in general. I mean when a leader can keep his position even when complaints from the citizens are coming in as fast as he can deny them…
    Our governments are set up to protect the leaders from their own citizens (really…think about it). Rather than giving our leaders a better ability to hear what the people want. So what do we do? My question is…can it be changed, becuase it needs to be…without question.

    Frieden in der Mitte Ost!

    Nick

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