Recently, I received a surprise. One of my sons has decided he is a socialist. He watched the recent debate between the candidates in the running for our federal election and was impressed with the NDP party’s talking head – Jack Layton.
Now, the type of socialism that Layton proposes, is a very homogenized version of the thing. Actually, there are all kinds of interpretations of socialism but Layton seems to be very leery of actually coming out and stating the type of socialism he is looking to create. Instead, he makes promises, vows to equalize the economy, to help the poor – to create low income housing and a pie in every oven. He lambasted or attempted to lambaste Harper over the Conservatives proposal to lower corporate taxes.
This shows me that Mr. Layton is full of hot air.
You see, at one time, both the U.S and Canada were nations that manufactured goods for export. Back then? In those halcyon days of free flow of goods, out of the country…we could afford to think of ourselves (okay, not the States) as Socialists. As a nation that put people first. Those days are over. It is a cold, harsh fact, no amount of wishful thinking or empty political promises will change the reality of our very precarious financial position in the world’s economy.
We are a nation of importers now. We have to import everything, from our undies to the parts for our vehicles. Everything is imported and our exports are nowhere near the levels required to equalize the balance.
Corporations have left, in droves, moved their manufacturing facilities to nations with low wages, no CSST or Workman’s Comp. No medical or dental and even better, extremely low taxes. Strictly business decisions. The bottom line is the corporation’s main focus. Why would they stay here? Why would they pay the higher wages, pay the extra benefits and be subjected to high taxes as the topper?
So, establishing that we are not the financial powerhouse we may like to believe ourselves to be…along comes Mr. Layton and Mr. Ignatieff, oh and Ms. May touting social programs, making promises that they cannot, possibly, keep.
The corporations and manufacturers are gone. Our oil is owned, by and large, by foreign entities who export for profit. Same with lumber. The corporations and manufacturers who, once upon a time, funded most of the social programs via their taxes are gone. They are not here. They are not paying taxes. They are not funding programs anymore.
So, where will the money come from to fund these social programs? To pay for our education systems, our medical systems, our old age security and pensions? I don’t get it.
This should be the most important question to be asked of the candidates…Lovely programs folks but who is going to foot the bill? If corporate taxes are not lowered, if the financial environment is not corporate friendly? More corporations will leave. More corporations leave and they take their money with them, to China, to India, to Indonesia, to Thailand – anywhere but here.
The very cold and hard truth in all of this rhetoric is that North America, with the exception of Mexico, is in deep, deep trouble.
The cold hard truth is that we cannot afford socialism. We can’t afford the programs instituted during our heyday.
Every year, our exports go down and our imports go up. Do the math…it’s simple. We are now working from a negative balance and a big one. Unless we can convince corporations to stay – we’ll never get the other ones back, there will come a time, in the not too distant future when the Great Depression may well seem to have been a walk in the fiscal park.
I would love to have the luxury of being a socialist but over the past 10 years, I’ve been watching our economy take a nose dive and there’s no net waiting for us. We are, folks, in deep doo-doo. We need a government that understands a hard line has to be taken, and taken now. A government that institutes or pours more money into social programs will drive us further and further toward an economic abyss from which there may well not be a return.
Can we possible compete with China? With the other nations I mentioned, for corporate friendly environments? We have to take a very hard look at our privileges and we must understand that those privileges must be given up, that we cannot possibly pay for any more of those programs because…if the corporations aren’t here to pay the piper? It will fall on the rest of us to foot the bill and I don’t know about anyone else but our family isn’t even close to keep our heads at the waterline.