Politics US Politics


IWUZ (last blog – LATE SHOW WAKEUP), talking about the mess we Canadians got ourselves into 40 years ago when we elected a leader who wanted to build a “Just Society” by redistributing wealth. By the early 1990s what we actually had was a “Just about broke” country. We also had a; “What is the government going to do for me today?” society. Our situation looked very much like the Greece of 2012.

At the last hour, a couple of very pointed wake-up calls finally convinced Canadians to stop digging themselves into that hole. The Prime Minister of the day appointed a businessman as Finance Minister, and we went under the knife. The cuts were sudden; deep; vigorously protested; but ultimately effective.

The cure isn’t complete, but Canada is past the crisis and in the best shape of any western, developed country. This year, our annual deficit will be between $20 and $30 billion; and our national debt (accumulated deficits), stands at around $600 billion. With ten times the population and economy, a comparable US federal deficit would be $200 to $300 billion, and the debt would be $6 trillion. Alarmingly, the US deficit will actually be over $1 trillion; and the accumulated debt has reached $16 trillion, and is still growing. In fact, the US added $6 trillion of debt in just the last four years.

Canada’s deficit and debt should be lower than it is; but, like most politicians – even those with a purportedly conservative perspective, ours can’t resist scattering money around to various interest groups; from multibillion dollar international corporations, to societies for the preservation of macramé.

The Canadian government recently spent nearly $300 million to pay tobacco farmers to get out of the tobacco business. Farmers took the money, and then sold or rented the machinery to relatives who kept on growing tobacco. Somehow, I don’t feel healthier, or even more righteous. Just ripped off, poorer, and disgusted.

Our feds also gave $12 million to a multibillion dollar German company to help it build a frozen pizza factory in Ontario in order to create jobs. Well of course; isn’t it always for a great cause? But what it also created was subsidized competition for Mom and Pop Canuck, and their little family owned pizza business. Collateral damage I suppose.

The point is that politicians in every country do this constantly; it cumulatively costs billions, or trillions; and often results in a net loss to the economy, and the social fabric. And it contributes to those huge debts.

About 40 years ago one of our socialist politicians referred to “Corporate welfare bums”. I agreed with his point then, and I do now. I find corporate welfare bums even more odious than individual welfare bums, although I have little time for either. (That being said, I believe we should, personally, and through our churches, and service clubs, contribute the time, and the finances, to assist all those who have genuine needs.)

Now to the issue. It seems to me that the current occupant of the White House has no concept of smaller government. He appears to be a classic statist, in that he genuinely believes, at a gut level, that government somehow holds the solution to most problems faced by individuals, corporations, and society at large. He’s had almost no exposure to business, has never borrowed against his home to start or expand a business, cut his own salary in order to make payroll, or laid anyone off in order for the remaining jobs to survive. The one time that we know of that he worked in a private business, he said he felt like “A spy behind enemy lines”.

And yet private businesses are the legal structure within which entrepreneurs and investors create jobs, products and services, and therefore, wealth. And yes, taxes to spend on defense, highways, and Medicare. It seems to me that what America urgently needs is a businessman – or woman; having had hands on experience running businesses. A major bonus would be that some of those businesses badly needed a turnaround specialist, and that this person was successful in doing exactly that. 

So, if in fact what America needs is someone who comprehends the fact that a change in direction is critical, and who also might actually have an idea how to accomplish it; then I’d say that on November 6th, American voters could not have a clearer choice.

As a Canadian, and a friend, I can only hope and pray that they make the right one. 

“A nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket, trying to lift himself up by the handle.” — Winston Churchill