Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interesting Comment

I was listening to the Mike Slater show (Young Conservative) on Sirius Patriot and a caller made an interesting comment. He was a slightly older guy and he said that things have changed a lot. He said something like "It used to be that when people were elected, they were elected based on what they said they WOULDN'T do. But now people elect them based on what the politicians say they will DO for them".

That really does seem true. I can hear in my mind politicians of the past saying that they would not do this, would not do that (anything from getting involved in union politics, farting around with personal lives, etc). But now it's all about what they will do for you. For certain groups. Lobby-d by other groups to 'guide' them in their direction. Voters on tv looking for who will put more into medicare for them, or more into welfare, or even who will raise/lower taxes, etc etc. On and on it goes on both sides of the political spectrum. So much for limited govt involvement.

I just found it interesting and worth further thought - how things have changed even in the last 40 years regarding how we elect our politicians, and why.


  1. As interesting a thought as it is, I think that caller is simply wrong. There have been plenty of major elections in the past where the winner was clearly running on what he would DO for us, as opposed to not do. Mulroney's campaigning for a free trade agreement comes to mind.

    The same way, we also have a long history of what people often complain about as eternal indecisive waffling from today's politicians. Like King's infamous "conscription if necessary but not necessarily conscription" nonsense.

    The more things change...

  2. I agree because I can think of many ideas as well but I think the caller was referring to even further back. Anything since the 40s and 50s has been what the people want the govt to DO rather than keeping a rein on what they should be allowed to fiddle with. And also it was a US program with a US caller (which I should have made more clear, but it was Sirius radio which does not have Canadian content anyway lol).

    I just found it thought-provoking. For so many years people have been looking to the govt to fix things, help them, do things for them - decades upon decades of increasing govt strength. But it wasn't always like that and the people who lived in different times are either gone or their words are no longer heard because they are 'old'.

    For example, I was listening to Mike Church (another Sirius Patriot host) and he was discussing this fascination with people 'retiring' and collecting their pensions. He talked about how we act nowadays as though this is a god-given right, when most retirement programs did not even exist before the 50s. Up until then, for thousands of years, or hundreds for Canada and the US, no one had any pension program or retirement age. They managed to survive obviously or the population of the planet would not be hitting 7 billion right now. But for those born before the 50s, 'retirement' was a new word. It was a new program. People just naturally tried to work through their lives and hope to be able to work less and less as they got older, have their kids take over the farm or business, and you still had some income or savings that you did all by yourself.

    Fast forward to today, and it's a normal every-day term that everyone expects and doesn't question. How did that happen? Because people obviously found themselves in trouble decades ago, living on the breadline as they got too old to work enough to keep themselves fiscally stable, and asked the govt or their job places for help. Tada- the birth of the pension programs and someone decided that 65 was old enough for someone to be able to quit work and be supported by everyone else. I say that because even if you paid into a pension program, you still get back more than you put in, so you are living off other people's money in one way or another.

    But the point of the program was that people act as though Retirement with a capital 'R' is a right, something that has always been there, when it actually is pretty darn new in the history of man. When programs face crisis and cuts, the people freak out like they might just die without it. But how did anyone before 'retirement programs' manage to survive? Dont we think of that? How do people in countries that do not have any sort of retirement program manage to survive? It might not be fun - but they DO survive and they plan for it on their own, and not officially as retirement either. They often work in some capacity or other until the day they die of old age. But we so mehow decided somewhere along the line that we do not have to work after age 65 even if we are physically capable. Why is that?

  3. when I was 20, I thought 60 yr olds were ancient lol but now I am near 40 and my mom is 66 and you'd never know. She looks 40 to me haha. My ex mother in law was a workaholic her whole life but when she was hitting 65, her workplace practically forced her out, even though she wanted to continue working. They didnt want to deal with all the extra govt hub-bub over a pensioner working for them. This woman was 5'10 and fit as a fiddle at 65 - not a 'pensioner' in anyone's eyes but the govt. But still, we the people demanded that the govt oversee a program for retirement and I dont even know if I will get to see any of that money back when I am old enough to collect it. All I want is what I directly put into it - but I honestly don't know if I will ever get it. I can't see the system surviving long enough. WOOO what a great program the people asked them to set up! And then they ask me to put money into an RRSP, so that if I want to draw it out, I have to pay a penalty fee for withdrawing it early, or agree to put it back in within a certain amount of time. It's MY money. I put it there from my paycheque every month, the pay that I earned with my own physical self - but they want a piece of it if I decide to cash it in to pay for dental needs or something. It's mind boggling.

    Before the 40s and 50s, did the govt have this much involvement in people's every day lives? We recently discovered that my partner's great grandfather was an MP. He was the first MP for the Assiniboi region, SK. One of his main rants during those days was to fight against forming the Canadian Wheat Board. We got to read speeches he made on this idea back in the early 1920s and it is fascinating.

    and here we are today, him and his cohorts having lost their fight to stop the Wheat Board formation, and the board is still a bone of contention with many, appearing on the news because some want it dismantled and some don't. At least we know that between 1919 and 1924, a family member elected by his fellow people in Saskatchewan was trying hard to make people understand how it was wrong for the govt to get involved in the farms. He did not succeed and then lost his next election, but he tried and that's more than I can say for many people these days.



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