Politics & Economic Morality

Dave 07On January 20, 2017, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be become the next President of the United States, because no other candidate can win.

I’m a Canadian, but I believe that this is the world’s most critical election in a couple of generations. So this blog is directed mainly at Americans.

Now I’m sure many of you Americans are asking: what could a Canadian know about US politics, and what gives him the right to comment on the US election? So I’ll give you a little background.

For starters, Canada is America’s largest trading partner; larger than China, and you Americans will be happy to know that we buy from you almost exactly the same amount that you buy from us.

We’re your biggest oil supplier; bigger than Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. And our oil is produced under some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world, by some of the highest paid workers in the world, and many of the companies and workers are American.

For 40 years I’ve lived in Calgary Alberta, a city with over a million people, and the largest population of US citizens of any city in the world, outside of the United States.

On a more personal level, my maternal grandparents came from Philadelphia; my paternal grandmother was from Indiana.

In 1739, my Swiss Mennonite ancestors pioneered in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The 1775 church named after my ancestor is still there, near Elizabethtown, and still being used. I’ve been there. And on a political note, I’m a very distant cousin, by marriage, to Newt Gingrich.

But I do have first cousins in 6 states. And I’ve been in 45 states, for business and pleasure, several of them many times. I’ve also traveled for business in a number of countries in Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

I’ve long been a follower of Canadian and world politics. And, I’ve been an avid follower of American politics since November 22, 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. So I have a deep and personal interest in all things American.

I grew up in Saskatchewan, just across the border from Montana. In 1944, the year after I was born, Saskatchewan elected a socialist government. Businesses left, and for the next 65 years, Saskatchewan’s young people also left, looking for opportunities elsewhere. One place where opportunities were better was in the neighboring, business friendly province of Alberta.

In 1945, both provinces had populations of just under a million. 65 years later, Alberta’s population had quadrupled while Saskatchewan’s hadn’t moved. Over the years, most of its young people had left.

But last year, in a fluke election, Albertans elected a socialist government, and now we’re in big trouble. More on that later.

Our largest province, Ontario, used to be Canada’s economic powerhouse. But in recent years it’s gone “green energy” crazy; adopted endless leftist policies; accumulated massive debt, and tragically, has been reduced to what Canada categorizes as “a have not” province.

For some reason, many left-leaning politicians like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton look to European Social Democracies for their inspiration. Why?

Most European countries are massively in debt, and youth unemployment is chronically high, often near 20%. In Spain it actually reached 50%, but it’s now all the way down to 40%, and that’s considered an achievement.

Across Europe, ill-considered, Progressivist, open border immigration policies have led to growing racial tension, and social disruption.

So what does this all mean for the upcoming US election? Well, Hillary Clinton intends to implement many socialist policies, like open borders; a $15 an hour minimum wage; and higher taxes on businesses, which clearly reduces their ability to create jobs.

As I mentioned, last year Albertans unexpectedly elected a socialist government which immediately began implementing their socialist ideology.

One of their first acts was to begin a three year, 50% escalation of the minimum wage. By 2018 it will reach $15 an hour. That year our youngest grandson will turn 15, and he’ll be looking for an entry-level job.

But here’s the reality. If he can’t find an employer willing to train him, and pay him $15 an hour, our government says he can’t work.

Now I ask you: “Does any government have any business telling a kid that he and his parents can’t negotiate with a business owner, for a mutually agreed on wage?”

Needy families are obviously in a different category, although, sadly, it’s not obvious to socialists. If we wish to assist the truly needy – and I believe that we should – that’s a social program, and it should be funded by taxpayers, not businesses.

However, the central issue in this American election seems to be morals; well, only the morals of the male candidate. Apparently Trump’s don’t reach a high enough standard.Trump.jpg

High like the Clinton’s standard?Hillary Clinton.jpgBill Clinton.jpg

On next week’s blog, I’ll explore some questions I have about, when principles and reality collide.

I invite you to join the Let’s Do It Ourselves online community. Like and share us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

And that’s the view from across your northern border; the one with no walls; and just a few fences.


That Elusive Wage Reality

Dave 07Rachel Notley’s NDP continues to insist that they are proud of their minimum wage plan. And for good reason; after all it proves they are forging ahead with implementing Socialist/Progressive (SoProg) ideology. And for SoProgs, ideology trumps all else, including reality.

Because the reality is that minimum wages fail the very segment of society they purportedly help.

First of all, some employers are forced to lay off staff, or delay or abandon expansion of their business which would include additional staff. That hits the poor the hardest and removes tax dollars from the economy.

Minimum wages create a barrier-to-entry for kids looking for their first job, and for immigrants whose Canadian language skills are limited or nonexistent.

A negotiated wage for most 15-year-olds living at home isn’t a hardship, but an opportunity to learn workplace skills such as showing up for work on time (regardless of how you spent the previous evening); organizational skills, customer relations, and teamwork. And for immigrants with no local language skills and where the employer has to provide both training and translation, a negotiated wage is an opening to success in their new home.

We have a 13-year-old grandson who will turn 15 in 2018 when the $15 an hour minimum wage comes into effect. Let’s say he wants to work a few hours on weekends and sees a business that interests him. He might be willing to work for nothing, or for 6 or 8 or $10 an hour in order to get work experience, and to see if he likes the business.

I’d say that’s his (and his parent’s) business, but the SoProgs have told him; “If you can’t find someone willing to train you and pay you $15 an hour, you can’t work in Alberta. Period.”

20151207_091424So now we have these new “trainees” at our local McDonald’s.

If society wishes to provide a safety net for genuinely needy families or individuals – and in general I would agree with that – then society should provide it,not place the financial burden on individual business owners forced to finance ideologically driven, “one-size-fits-all” solutions.

Last year I wrote about the minimum wage and was taken to task by some employers who said that they have no problem paying the minimum wage, or more. One fellow who owned a software development company said he was proud to pay above minimum wage.

Well, so is my wife who owns a home cleaning business. She pays well above to over double the minimum wage. That’s a wage differential. A 50% minimum wage increase over four years will force her to maintain that differential and increase wages more quickly than financial prudence would dictate. and it will force her to increase prices far faster than the rate of inflation. It will also force her to slow expansion which means fewer additional staff, and less income tax for the government. Or, it may put her out of business.

Last summer, I asked my granddaughter – then age 20 – what she thought of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Her immediate response? “That will just make the cost of everything go up.” Unfortunately, that’s reality. But reality won’t have the slightest effect on the world’s SoProgs, because their ideology says otherwise.

You might want to send this to  your children or grandchildren and see if you get a conversation started. It works for us!