Socialism doesn’t Work.

Dave 07

We’re in the final days of a very important federal election campaign, and we need to get this one right. Maybe it’s because of my age, but I’m convinced it’s usually a good idea to look back, before moving forward.

Thomas Mulcair and the new Democrats certainly make a point of looking back to Saskatchewan’s 17 consecutive balanced budgets under NDP rule.

Unfortunately, independent financial analysts have suggested that those balanced budgets were sometimes produced by fiddling with accounting practices. But that’s not what’s important.

I grew up, and farmed in Saskatchewan during those NDP years, and those balanced budgets – real or not – were a rare bright spot in a chronically depressed, opportunity-lacking economy.

When Meritha and I pulled up stakes and moved our family to Alberta in 1975, we bought a home in a cul-de-sac. There were 10 homes, 6 of them occupied by economic refugees from Saskatchewan.

Comparing the paths the two provinces took tells us why.

At the end of World War II, Alberta elected a pro-business government; Saskatchewan elected an, incentive stifling, anti-business government. And for the next 60 years their economies headed in very different directions.

By 2005, Alberta’s population had more than tripled to 3.2 million, while Saskatchewan’s stagnated at 1 million. Under socialism, there was an exodus of businesses to Alberta, BC, and Ontario, and predictably, for 60 years, Saskatchewan’s sons and daughters followed.

The black humour of the time suggested that for Saskatchewan’s youth, the most appropriate graduation gift was a set of luggage.

Youth with no futureSocialist policy always, sooner or later, results in diminishing opportunity, particularly for young people. In Social Democratic (socialist) Europe, youth unemployment currently ranges from 15 to over 50%.

Of course, the left argues that Alberta had resources, particularly oil. But Saskatchewan obviously had plenty of oil, and it’s now being developed. What it lacked was a business friendly government.

In fact, just a few years before they were turfed from office, the NDP abandoned some of their socialist dogma and lowered business taxes. To their surprise, tax revenue jumped!

But it was too late for the NDP.  Brad Wall’s government took over and lowered taxes even more, and tax revenue soared. After 70 years, Saskatchewan is growing again, but in spite of abundant evidence that lowering taxes raises revenue, Trudeau and Mulcair want to raise them.

Sadly, Canada has another example of socialist folly. For decades Ontario was pro-business, and, Canada’s economic powerhouse. But in 1990, Bob Rae’s NDP took office and started implementing socialist ideology. As could be predicted, many businesses stagnated, or headed for the exit.

Then, when the Liberal party took over, they governed like socialists, and now, almost inconceivably, Ontario has become a have not province.

Economists compare Ontario’s finances to those of bankrupt Greece, and tragically, youth unemployment is approaching European levels.

Until this June, Alberta’s PC party governed like Alberta was their personal playpen and bank. With oil at $100 a barrel, they threw money at every problem, and seemingly, at every crony capitalist friend.

Four months ago the NDP took over but nothing’s changed. Union cronies have simply taken the place of the PCs corporate cronies, and they’re all securely seated on the gravy train.

And the socialists are governing like, well, socialists. Because if you’re a socialist you’ve just gotta do some socialism, so over the next three years they’re raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

We need jobsBut here’s the reality. What they are actually telling Alberta’s youth is that if they can’t find someone willing to train them, and pay them $15 an hour, they can’t enter the workforce. Read that again.

So erosion of the Alberta advantage accelerates, and the exodus back to Saskatchewan will continue.

There are plenty of things to dislike about Stephen Harper, although Harper Derangement Syndrome has become so absurd that in some cases it probably qualifies as a mental illness. I am not joking.

Harper isn’t warm and fuzzy; he does whatever he feels is necessary to get legislation passed, and he tightly controls his troops.

But can you really argue that Justin Trudeau isn’t controlling? For starters, ask the would-be Liberal candidates he forced aside to get his handpicked candidates in place for this election. Or ask any pro-life Liberal.

Thomas Mulcair is warm and fuzzy? Okay; he is quite fuzzy on how he’s going to spend tons more money, and still balance the books.

And I’m old enough to remember both Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau. They were both ruthless and totally opportunistic politicians.

But elections shouldn’t be about personalities, (or even the Niqab.) The bottom line is the economy, and in a world that’s spent the last seven years struggling out of a major recession, Canada has done exceptionally well.

Unlike most other developed nations, our books are back in balance, and the economy is growing.

Canada’s taken a pragmatic approach to the millennia-old problem of climate change; a controversial and still clearly unsettled issue if there ever was one.

(Millennia-old you say? Certainly. Google, Vikings in Greenland. Or Doggerland)

I believe that Canada has taken a rational approach to the Middle East refugee crisis, balancing compassion with prudence.

2015-country-reptrakAnd as for all the hand-wringing about Canada’s place in the world, here’s a reality check. For four of the last six year, Canada’s been ranked number one as the best place to live. The other two years, Canada was ranked second.

Is there another country in the world where citizens would want to terminate that success by changing government?

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36 Comments on “Socialism doesn’t Work.”

  1. Mary October 10, 2015 at 1:10 PM #

    On the top 20 list… all but two countries (Japan and France), have higher corporate taxes than the current rate in Canada… the other 17 countries are on-par or lower than Canada…. Same as SK noticed, lowering corporate taxes generates more revenue and jobs.

  2. Randall Morrison October 11, 2015 at 11:58 AM #

    You forgot to mention fracking. That technology and the lower royalties implemented by the NDP lured oil investment to Sask. from Alberta and other places. Until then, the oil in south east Sask. was impossible to recover. The new technology was huge. Our oil was not quite as available as that In Alberta.

    You also forgot to mention Grant Devine and some of his cronies who spent time in jail. His motto was ” open for business”. These non- socialists sold Potash Corp, dismantled a lot of government programs including child dental and still managed to run up a sixteen billion dollar debt. Wow!!! Not bad for a province of one million. It would be nice to have the profits of Potash Corp. in our treasury now. The NDP spent many years paying for those years and bringing a ” normalcy” to our finances.

    The social democratic countries of Northern Europe seem to be doing quite well. They have very progressive social policies and they still have a few billionaires. They are not perfect but anything created by humans will not be perfect.

    I guess social democracy does “work”.

    • Dave Reesor October 11, 2015 at 3:02 PM #

      I expected to hear from you Randall!
      Fracking did improve Saskatchewan’s ability to recover oil, but that was not the fundamental reason why businesses abandoned or didn’t invest in Saskatchewan. It was Tommy Douglas’s headlong adoption of nationalization of at least part of every industry. It is tough for businesses to compete with their own government.

      Someone I know in the automotive parts industry recently lost an employee to the City of Calgary. They outbid him by almost exactly 40% plus the usual gold plated pension and benefits. That is hardly an encouragement to invest and take risks.

      To the extent that Social Democratic countries succeed, like those in Northern Europe, it’s because they abandon some of the ideological underpinnings of socialism, such as government ownership of the means of production. In addition to private industry, Malmo Sweden’s largest hospital is privately owned. Try getting that in Canada and Linda McCuaig’s hair would go up in smoke.

      Under Calvert, Saskatchewan was beginning to truly open up for private development, but it was too late for the NDP.

      The Devine government was corrupt, (as was Alberta’s PC government.) I believe in capitalism governed by common-sense, simple, clear, and rigorously enforced regulations. Crony capitalists belong in jail, but governments should get out of the way of genuine entrepreneurs.

      I also agree with NDP leader David Lewis’s broadside from about 40 years ago about “corporate welfare bums.” I would have let GM and Chrysler swim or sink on their own in 2008, but the NDP and Liberals, wanting to support their union supporters, pushed the minority government of Stephen Harper to borrow money and bail them out.

      It’s taken 6 years to get back to balanced budgets, and according to the New York times – a very liberal / leftish newspaper – the Canadian middle class is for the first time in history, wealthier than the American middle class.

      So the question is: that really something we want to change?

  3. Randall Morrison October 12, 2015 at 2:37 PM #

    Yes, if all business had pension plans and benefits the playing field would be level! And, yes, people need pensions…and benefits…

    It is also good to note that there is a difference between socialism and communism. A real communist wants everything owned by the state. A social democrat just wants to eliminate the extremes of capitalism: poverty and extreme wealth, wealth sharing if you will.

    I am pleased to hear you have a high regard for regulations. We need common sense rules based on fact. Unfortunately, with the new world order (globalization) all countries need to share these regulations to be fair. Good luck with that…

    I’m not sure of the value of comparing the wealth of the Canadian middle class to the American version. It is interesting to note, however, that apparently, our middle class is getting smaller…

    • Elizabeth October 18, 2015 at 8:03 PM #

      If everybody played taxes from the lower worker to the wealthiest and everyone got to pay 1 tax like 10% with no deductions and corporations can only reduce their taxes if they hire more workers and every one put in for pension and corporations offer day cares for their workers. Then charge big bucks on TV’s ect and fancy cars should all pay big taxes on them. People should have education, there are many things one can do. Read, Read and look at how people can change their lives. Look at Ben Carson, Oprah and many more who came from the gettos. People need to take pride, their are jobs but you have to start some where and work your way up.We are told do not covet anything that anyone else has.

  4. Lonewolf October 12, 2015 at 8:19 PM #

    Free trade by the Mulrooney Government destroyed manufacturing jobs in Ontario, Quebec and all over Canada.

    • Dave Reesor October 12, 2015 at 8:33 PM #

      Not true. Assembly line workers making six figures with ridiculous pensions destroyed those jobs. Every wealthy nation in history has been a trading nation.

  5. Dave Reesor October 12, 2015 at 8:31 PM #

    Most medium to large businesses have some sort of pensions and benefits. Meritha and I have always had small businesses, and it was more difficult. We didn’t have them either, although the value in the business sometimes substitutes – depending on the business.

    Less than honest partners cost Meritha and I our last business, but that’s a risk you take.

    As far as “income redistribution”, should the government confiscate Bill and Melinda Gates’ fortune and redistribute it rather than letting them do it themselves? That sure would stifle innovation and risk taking!

    I think we agree on simple and enforced regulations for business. The problem is that bureaucracies never simplify the rules voluntarily. If there is a loophole, they write another regulation to cover it. That usually creates two more, with the added benefit – to the bureaucrats – that it grows the bureaucracy.

    • Realityman October 15, 2015 at 9:24 PM #

      Dave, keep the truth flowing, the blind will always feed the NDP in hopes to receive the freebies it dangles toward them but never really gives them. The NDP and the Lib’s are the most dangerous threats that Canada has ever been faced with, they both will sell out this country in trade for a lousey 4 year shot to prove their incompetence, as they always have. You’re right,why would anybody want to change to a failed ideology? In response to Lonewolf, there is nobody alive that can stand upright without lying or shoveling the BS and tell this country that there has ever been success within an NDP Government, anywhere at anytime! Every formed NDP Government has failed and ballooned debts then blamed them on others, they are a disgrace!

    • Bob Gray October 19, 2015 at 9:07 AM #

      Thanks for your well informed comments Dave. I completely agree with what you are saying.My wife and I were customers of Meritha for many years and I can certainly vouch for her work ethic. please pass on my best regards to her.

      • Dave Reesor October 24, 2015 at 6:02 PM #

        Thanks Bob
        As you can see I’ve had some feedback! I passed your comments on to Meritha.

        She responds
        Thanks for connecting Bob! I’m sure you are well settled in and enjoying the life of leisure. I’m glad for you even though we do miss cleaning your wonderful home. It was a favorite! Keep in touch and a special “hi” to Carmen.

        Regards

        Meritha

  6. hybowing October 16, 2015 at 8:02 AM #

    Your article does not list a single source or link to your research. Could you please provide this. All off your facts (although wrong) must have a source.
    maybe Conservitive News Today
    or Harpers one website?

    • Dave Reesor October 16, 2015 at 12:16 PM #

      I limit the length of my articles. If you’re actually interested in anything but left-wing propaganda, everything I said is on the Internet from independent sources. But I did get one thing from that noted right wing rag, the Huffington Post. Canada is in surplus. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/canada-budget-surplus/ Actually, they got their information from Finance Canada. Justin Trudeau said flat out that we are still in deficit; Mulcair says the surplus is good news. So who is it that’s confused?

  7. Cam October 16, 2015 at 9:04 PM #

    Unbalanced article. Completely forgot to mention the “Devine years.” We are still paying fo his errors! Devine is the major reason for the exodus to Alberta!

    • Dave Reesor October 17, 2015 at 11:06 AM #

      Look at the numbers. The exodous of businesses began when the CCF/NDP nationalized businesses in the late 40s, or formed businesses to compete with the private sector. The CCF even had a shoe factory, just like the government in the Soviet Union!
      Businesses left and the exodus of people started.

      Socialism in its pure form simply cannot work over a longer period of time because it dis-incentivizes individuals from looking after themselves, or from taking risks and starting businesses, or even looking after themselves or their families.

      But socialism is seductive. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of free stuff, especially if it’s being paid for by the rich! The problem is that there will always be far too few rich people to finance everything that the socialists want to do. The second thing – as France found out – is that you soak the rich too much and they leave, and then you have fewer rich. It seems like common sense but it’s a struggle for True Blue socialist to figure it out.

      “Socialist” nations succeed to the extent that they open the door to capitalism and free enterprise. And I do not mean crony capitalism, or corporate welfare. I detest that as much as you do. And I agree that the Devine government was a disgrace.

    • Dave Reesor October 17, 2015 at 4:26 PM #

      The “research” is mostly from the CBC and unions. As far as the election fraud scandal goes, it involved a road individual, not the CPOC. The problem there of course is that something other than a left-wing government was elected and to left-wing fundamentalists, that is just plain wrong. Left-wing elitists rule by divine right, doncha know?
      The scandals don’t even come close two Liberal scandals. the last big liberal scandal involved $100 million; Jean Chretien fiddling the system for hundreds of thousands for his hotel in Québec; Mike Duffy, $90,000 paid back by a friend. Cost to the taxpayers; zero.

  8. Randall Morrison October 17, 2015 at 11:29 AM #

    In the globalized economy there may be a need to eliminate the jurisdictions that allow the rich to covet their wealth and abandon the society in which they made their money.

    When I look at the world globally I see that we in the first world are all living over our heads. We are all rich relatively speaking. It is not only the rich but the middle class that needs to give up some wealth in order for all earthlings to lead a reasonable life.

    Unrestricted capitalism institutionalizes poverty. Poverty results in a myriad of problems, all expensive: lack of education, poor health, crime… We pay one way or another.

    Socialist nations already are capitalistic. They just tax more to share the wealth.

    Oh, and I agree with Cam. NDP bashers conveniently forget Mr. Devine and his criminal cronies who virtually bankrupted Saskatchewan with their ” open for business” agenda!!! The NDP under Romanow got us back on our feet…

    • Dave Reesor October 17, 2015 at 4:20 PM #

      I don’t think I’ve ever supported unrestricted capitalism if by that you mean there are no rules. but China did socialism up until about 30 years ago. You remember how well that worked? Then they switched to capitalism and have literally lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. In fact around the world, in the last 25 years more people have been lifted out of poverty that were in the previous 70 years; i.e., during the period when Marxism was all the rage in Africa, South America, and of course the Soviet Union and Communist China.
      The Chinese certainly don’t have capitalism done perfectly, but even imperfectly it’s been a huge success.
      Of course politicians keep dabbling in socialism; take a close look at Venezuela to see how well it’s working in the 21st century.

  9. Graham Barket October 17, 2015 at 4:26 PM #

    There are so many inaccuracies in this rant it is actually quite funny.
    Typical Tory propaganda. Now that the NDP has formed government in Alberta I assume our writer will be moving back to “free enterprise” Saskatchewan!!!!

    • Dave Reesor October 17, 2015 at 4:34 PM #

      Rant? I guess I’ll have to throttle back a bit. I notice you didn’t name any inaccuracies.

      My belief is that all politicians can be corrupted. Look at Ontario under Dalton McGinty and Kathleen Wynne! And the BC NDP lying through their teeth about the budget shortfall before the liberals finally turfed them out. We need to start taking away their powers, rather than giving them more. I’m for smaller government and more local government.

      Political leaders have to be tough. Or are you saying that Justin Trudeau isn’t a control freak? Or that his dad wasn’t? Or that a Jean Chretien wasn’t? Or that Thomas Mulcair doesn’t run a tight ship?

      As for divisive, here’s an example. Justin apparently believes that Westerners– Albertans in particular – are “different” i.e., inferior to real Canadians. Of course he only says those things in French.

  10. Donna Quixote October 17, 2015 at 7:05 PM #

    Excellent article and I concur with each point made. I have been saying for a while now that people who think Stephen Harper is the worst PM in Canadian history, either weren’t around, or have forgotten, when Pierre Middle-finger Trudeau and Lyin’ Brian held power over the great unwashed masses. Their arrogance and disdain for the average Canadian was palpable.

    In comparison, while Harper has had his issues and scandals to deal with (which Prime Minister didn’t?) he is an admirable, strong and capable leader.

    • Dave Reesor October 17, 2015 at 8:58 PM #

      Thanks Donna!
      I see you’re from Ontario so you probably have had more Liberal government then you can stand.
      Notice my response to Ken above. You might also enjoy the article from Imprimis.
      My view is that it’s pretty conclusive that we cannot change the culture through politics; instead we must change the culture first and then politics will follow.

  11. Ken October 17, 2015 at 8:25 PM #

    Hard to understand why some people vote for socialism despite overwhelming evidence of the destruction that always follows?? Fear and a negative attitude about life is part of the reason I suspect. People unwilling to live life on life’s terms
    Is another reason, but the biggest reason I see is that many, while academically smart, are severely limited in nearly every other facet of life, giving them a complex that causes them to do nearly anything to keep their egos inflated. ANYONE who shows them to be weak fools is dealt with in the obvious reactions predicated by the politically correct dogma of the day.. Sad to be a socialist, cause nothing will give them the measure of superiority they yearn for, simple reason being, they are not superior and never will be, and we know it and they know it.. Only a person who seeks to give, rather than receive deserved that accolade, and it’s not given by a human…

    • Dave Reesor October 17, 2015 at 8:54 PM #

      Thanks Ken!
      An article you would really enjoy is The case against Liberal Compassion by William Vogelli, printed in Imprimis. You can Google it.
      Dave
      Please consider joining the Let’s Do It Ourselves online community at ldio.org.

  12. Bo_Red October 18, 2015 at 12:18 AM #

    Some of these statements are whack. Lol. Liberals will legalize marijuana which will create jobs everywhere and bring in tons of money. That money could be used to go a lot of good. They are on the right track.

    • Dave Reesor October 18, 2015 at 9:46 AM #

      Finally!! Someone with a solution for financing Canada’s future.

      • Harry October 18, 2015 at 10:38 AM #

        It’s a $7 billion industry in BC alone! I’m sure Saskatchewan farmers relish at the idea of having a slice of that pie! I’m with you on the right, but Harper’s right is too idealistic. I hope for a Conservative minority so that Harper gets the vote of non-confidence and goes back to Calgary for good.

      • Dave Reesor October 19, 2015 at 3:16 PM #

        Please folks!! This comment was made with my tongues almost shoved though my cheek!!!

    • Greg October 19, 2015 at 2:30 PM #

      Legalizing marijuana… That’s your deal maker? I think you’ve smoked one too many already today. The only benefit to the Liberals legalizing marijuana is you’re going to be to stoned to realize how big of a mistake it was to vote the Liberals into office. That’s enough internet for me today.

      • Dave Reesor October 19, 2015 at 3:15 PM #

        Greg
        If your comment is to me – I had my tongue firmly in cheek. I am no smoker of anything. And I hope you read enough to realize that I believe Justin Trudeau is almost as unqualified to be the PM of Canada as Obama was to be President of the US.

  13. Melissa Maddocks October 18, 2015 at 9:38 PM #

    Is it not under Harper’s government that has recognizes marijuana for medicinal purposes?!?!. The people who need marijuana for medicinal purposes can easily get it right now, through a medical prescription. Those who use it as a recreational drug, can’t and should not have access to it. If this election is based on this one issue, we are in trouble.

  14. Rene Hachey October 19, 2015 at 10:18 AM #

    i agree, but what about socialism in the media.

    • Dave Reesor October 19, 2015 at 3:23 PM #

      Hi Rachel
      the universities and colleges are overwhelmingly left-wing or in some departments,even Marxist in their orientation. As I say in one of the videos on ldio.org, those educational institutions train the teachers, the lawyers, and people who will go into media and the arts. Some of them even train church leaders.

      In the case of lawyers, they go on to Parliament; write the laws; become judges who interpret the laws, and even make law when they feel the urge. Those of us who believe in smaller and more responsible government have sleepwalked our way into this mess by thinking we could use politics to change the culture.

      Instead, what we have to do is change the culture, and then politics will change. And since traditional centres of influence like the media are mostly off-limits to us, we have to fully exploit the Internet and social media.

      I expect we agree on many issues. Love to have you join Let’s Do It Ourselves at http://www.ldio.org

  15. Randall Morrison October 23, 2015 at 3:24 PM #

    Just to clarify, there are no socialist parties in Canada. The “left” in Canada is made up of progressive conservatives, liberals and assorted others in all Canadian political parties. Many, like me, consider ourselves to be social democrats who want to eliminate the negative extremes of capitalism. My dear cuz, would you not make better progress on your agenda by pointing out the problems with capitalism rather than attacking an ideology that does not exist in this country?

    I am a tad concerned by your quantifying morality. A cheating, lying politician’s responsibility for his immorality is proportional to the amount of cash that was stolen??? I may have a bad memory but when I was a kid it seemed a politician resigned if there was a problem with his/her integrity. When our leaders publicly ignore standards of integrity, a message is sent to all citizens. As Chaucer said, “If gold rust what shall iron do?” I’m surprised you excused Mr. Harper et al for the scandal: “cost to the the taxpayer; zero”. (sic)

  16. Dave Reesor October 26, 2015 at 11:28 AM #

    Hi Randall
    I’ll have to get back to you next week on this as this week is over booked. I really appreciate your feedback and suspect we agree on a lot of things but come at them from different angles.
    Best
    Dave

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