Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Not That.....

I have been thinking a lot, again, about 'entitlement programs'. It seems as though people who hear that cuts are being made, or might be made, to such programs think that everyone who supports the cuts/changes just want everyone who needs them to be homeless, starving, struggling, etc. I do not believe that is the case. What we have to look at is what it is costing ALL of us. Yes, even those who do not actually pay taxes because they are low income earners (or don't work at all). It costs them as well because while they might not pay taxes, while they might rely on various govt programs for their income, the cost of food, clothing, rent, utilities, gasoline, and so on just keeps going up and up and up when businesses and other individuals are taxed to the max.

It seems like a perfect example of a vicious cycle and I do not understand why so many people cannot see that.

Costs go up, businesses may respond by increasing their employees wages to reflect the higher standard of living, which increases product and service costs again as the business attempts to continue making a profit while paying employees more, eventually entitlements increase (ex higher welfare amounts, subsidies increase, etc to ease the burden on those less fortunate), which may increase taxes (either corporate or individual or both), which again raises cost of products and services as businesses again adjust for profit/costs, which again may cause a rise in minimum wage and entitlements, which then may cause a rise in taxes... around and around and around we go. It never stops. How can it?

Countries all around the world are going bust. But then the poor get poorer and while trying to help them, more is taken from the middle and higher income brackets, which leaves them struggling a bit more, and we go through the cycle again. And again. And again. It truly boggles my mind how we think our current systems are working. How far are we going to go before almost everyone is busted. Everyone is broke. Is that what we want?

Social justice is apparently about bringing the poor UP from the bottom - but it doesn't REALLY do that. It brings everyone down. EVERYONE. Is that what we really want? It doesn't even anyone out. I see families every single day that rely heavily on various social programs. But guess what? Costs keep going up so every dollar they manage to save gets spent again. I learned today that the Alberta govt is going to increase childcare subsidy amounts and raise wage enhancement for staff in that field. Well that's strange - I thought we were heavily in debt again and have not gained any ground. How are we going to INCREASE entitlement programs when we are already in debt? Last week I heard cheers that the govt was not going to cut subsidy or wage enhancement. I must have been asleep because I didn't know those programs were in line for the chopping block,,, but then a week later, a head in southern alberta tells us the entitlement amounts are going to INCREASE. How is that even possible?

I know one reason why - in the past few years a lot of centers and dayhomes have had to up their parent fees because minimum wage kept going up (it was 6.50 or so about 10 years ago and now it's at 8.90/hour) and center's only real income is from parent fees, so to cover staff wage increases that were forced upon them, they increased parent fees. This caused all parents to pay more of course, but subsidized parents were not happy (believe me, I remember the complains and sighs). I understand the frustration - I have been there myself. I used to pay double what low income parents are paying today, when I only made $6.50 an hour, compared to so many of them making at least double that now... but I digress. My point is, the govt increased minimum wage, so many centers had to raise their fees to stay afloat, and now the govt is increasing subsidy amounts because low income parents are struggling with higher prices across the board (food rent daycare etc).... and what will happen next I wonder? Are we going to see another increase in minimum wage? And then another fee increase? And then another subsidy increase? It is a never-ending saga no matter which way you look at it. I fail to see how this helps anyone!

When I made 6.50/hr, I lived in an apartment with my 2 year old son. I paid $125/month for daycare, I got not subsidy for rent or food or anything like that, I paid for all of that. The only thing I did not pay was my alberta health care (a whopping savings of $44/month at the time). But parents I know today who get subsidy make $12 or more an hour and live in subsidized housing and only pay $84/month for daycare (oh but wait, they also get $100 a month from the Feds, which did not exist when I was on my own). So.... what the hell happened? People can make more than double what I did only 10 years ago, only working at A&W or the corner gas station, but cannot seem to afford to pay to live in a cheap apartment and pay lower daycare fees (for their portion after subsidy comes off). What happened? I thought that increasing the social programs was supposed to help low income families? Why do they seem worse off instead? Why do they need an increase?

When I was a single mom, daycare subsidy was $300/month. Now it is about $580/month. And it's going to increase. I know, because the little cost increase ditty I wrote above has come into play multiple times. Costs increase, people still have less money, they receive more, the businesses have to charge more, people have less again, they receive more, businesses charge more.... do I really have to keep repeating myself before this sinks in?

It's not REALLY that the majority of people calling for cuts want all lower income people to move into a cardboard box in an alley and fend for themselves - it's that we simply CANNOT afford to do things this way. It is not working and it never has. It is going to bust every single one of us down to nothing eventually. What other possible way out of this could there be without going through the programs and having a total shake down? I also blame bureaucrats because there are so many govt employees overseeing things at every level, it's almost disgusting. They take their wages and benefits before the subsidies trickle down to low income people/families. That's a HUGE cost right there. But every time the govt sets up a program, it seems to think it needs to hire hundreds of more people to staff and check and regulate each one, and THAT is also where the money goes. So that needs a serious overhaul as well if we have any hope of surviving.

How long do we have? Years? Decades? I have no idea. But we are all in red ink and have been for a long time, and it's only getting worse. How anyone can possibly think this kind of system is sustainable is beyond me. We could all end up in cardboard boxes together if that makes supporters of this system happy. But no, the old mantra of Andrew Wilkow comes to mind here 'It's not for them, it's for YOU'. They quite happily intend to keep their lifestyle at it's current level, they do not want to come down - but they will sure try to make you come down. It's all for the good of 'the people', ya know. Just not for 'them' because they need to be at the top to make sure things run smoothly. Gag.

But all of that aside, just think of the bare basics of the system. Take from one to give to another. Modern day Robin Hood - except it's not the fat cat evil sherrif and his gang that dear Robin is taking from - it's YOU. And next it's your children, and trust me they already have bills lined up for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to pay off as well. Hmmm how high will taxes be by that time, I wonder?

And what ever happened to those old stories about the naughty king demanding more and more taxes from his poor townspeople while he lived in the castle? We always used to side with the poor taxed minions who stormed the castle eventually to bring the King down and give the money back to the people? That's what is happening to all of us today and we just let it happen. Why is that? Can we not see that it is the same thing? The money supposedly goes to the poor but most of it is gone before it ever gets to them - to pay the wages of the govt (king's) staff. And not only that, but there is no money to give! My province posts a deficit yet again, and then announces an increase in subsidies??? Who did that math? Everything seems to be written on credit these days - to be paid off by future generations. I thought maxing your credit card and going out and getting another one was BAD financial practice? Hasn't anyone told this to the govt yet?

2 comments:

  1. On election day we tell them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 18 billion and change in the sustainablility fund divided by a population of 3,743,302 is $4808.59 for every man/woman/child, that's $19,238.36 for a family of 4. I miss Ralph Bucks. I have absolutely had it with this government and i'm pissed! So glad we sacrificed in the 90's so Ed and his gang could blow it all!

    ReplyDelete

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