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Big Government Bureaucracy Canadian Politics Conservatarians Socialism The left

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?

Categories
Big Government Bureaucracy Conservatarians Politics Science Self reliance

To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate, that is the question….

July 30, 2015

Dave 07Flu season is coming up in a few months; governments are stockpiling vaccine, and many of us are deciding whether or not to get our flu shots.

Hamlet’s, “To be or not to be” is unquestionably a more portentous decision than whether or not to get a flu shot, but you wouldn’t always realize it judging from the ferociousness of the debate.

On one side are those who insist that vaccinations are useless and cause all manner of serious side effects; on the other side are those who believe that if your doctor, or better yet, the government, recommends vaccination, then it must be good. I’d like to suggest that both might be wrong, and right.

Let’s take the example of measles vaccinations. Data would seem to bear out that measles vaccinations over the decades have almost eradicated the disease, which is good. There may be cases where the measles vaccine causes problems – sometimes very serious – for some children, but on balance measles vaccinations have worked, and have clearly been a good thing.

On the other hand, studies show that while the flu vaccine may have some value for small segments of the population, on the whole it has a very limited effect. Every year, there are articles that bear this out.

Here’s how a Maclean’s article, April 9, 2014, starts out: “Tamiflu™ might be the most heavily scrutinized drug in the world and one that governments have poured some $9 billion globally to stockpile in case of a pandemic. However, authors of a new study, published in the British Medical Journal this week, suggest the influenza antiviral probably works no better than aspirin and possibly causes harm.” (Italics mine)

An Australian study found that researchers that were paid by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to recommend antiviral drugs for flu. Adam Dunn who was the lead author of one Australian study, and who is a health informatics expert at the University of New South Wales, said: “We found reviewers with ties to Pharma introduced bias, as we found a disconnect between what the results showed and what they went on to recommend.”

The study found that 80% of reviews written by researchers with financial ties to the drug companies were favourable towards the drugs, while 17% of independent reviews were positive.

So much for unbiased science!  Yet governments spend billions stockpiling flu vaccine and buying advertising advising you to get vaccinated, apparently for no better reason than tradition. A far better defence against the flu seems to be to eat healthy and keep your immune system strong.

Swine-Vaccination-WaitRay Moynihan, a senior research fellow at Bond University said: “It is clear we have likely been misled about the benefits and harms of these drugs because so much of the evidence is tainted by a pro-industry or pro-drug bias. What we have in medicine is unfortunately a lot of marketing disguised as science…”   (In another field, most of the climate change/global warming industry is driven by politics and ideology, disguised as science.)

As someone with a strong libertarian bias, I believe that the final decision of whether or not to vaccinate is up to the well informed individual, or the parents.

Scientists are humans, and almost every area of science is tainted by biases, so being well-informed is key. As you know, a number of us are working together on an online community called Let’s Do It Ourselves, or LDIO™. (Pronounced el-DEE-o)

Our purpose is twofold.

  1. To provide a community where individuals and organizations who believe in limited government can unite to push back against ballooning (and bungling) bureaucracies; and foster an ethos of self-reliance.
  2. To use social media as a tool to reach out to and inform those of all ages who rely on their smart device for information.

If you haven’t already done so, please join us. http://www.ldio.org/join-ldio/  By working together, our efforts become more cost effective. And by developing a well-informed citizenry, we can begin to see some much-needed cultural change.

Thanks for your support!

Dave Reesor

Categories
Uncategorized

Socialism remembered II

Dave 07I hadn’t planned to do another blog until after the Alberta election, but there’s been such an overwhelming response to SOCIALISM REMEMBERED that I felt that I needed to make a couple of comments today.

First of all, a profound thank you to all of those who forwarded the links to this blog by email, and on Facebook, and Twitter. Our purpose of course is to stimulate thinking and conversation, and it succeeded.

We have a separate website at www.ldio.org which is the beta version for an online community called Let’s Do It Ourselves, or LDIO™. For those who are from Alberta, or Western Canada, it’s purpose will be to promote exactly what happened in High River and Calgary immediately after the flood of 2013, and before the government got involved. People came together by the tens of thousands and did it themselves. The government showed up to help and we know how well that worked out.

We hope to be ready for a roll-out of the new look and new videos by late May. In the meantime you can JOIN LDIO™ on the website, and it would be a tremendous help to us. http://www.ldio.org/join-ldio/

We’re getting a lot of feedback on this blog; most positive, but some negative. We are accused of ignoring the damage that some so-called conservative governments have done to provincial, state, and federal economies. Point taken.

But I would suggest the reason they failed is that, first of all, all governments are run by human beings, and they are all subject to letting greed and arrogance and pride get in the way of principles. But on the economic front, so-called conservative governments fail when they go whoring after votes. They all do it, because the only way they can have influence is to get elected, or re-elected. The competition in an election often boils down to making promises rather than promoting sound ideas.

It has also been suggested that I didn’t make the case to get rid of the PC’s strongly enough. That wasn’t the focus of the piece, but I did say that Alberta doesn’t need another four years of unremitting scandal. I am interested in sound principles, and in this present election I think that on every metric, Brian Jean is the best leader available.

But my belief is that a minority Wildrose or NDP government would be best at this time. The one thing that they would agree on is that priority one is to “clean out the corrals.” After 44 years of PC cronyism, that task will keep them busy for at least a year or two, and then we can have another election.

But an NDP majority would be a catastrophe.

However, the long-term solution lies with us; we must work nonstop at changing the entitlement culture between elections. For the older crowd that still reads, it can be done with blogs. For the younger set, the concepts must be transmitted via short, engaging videos delivered on smart phones and tablets.

Videos and social media are incredibly efficient ways to transmit ideas. On present trajectory, this blog, Socialism Revisited, will approach 100,000 views in three days, and we didn’t spend one penny for printing or postage.

Once again, you can support our LDIO™ community project at www.ldio.org. An email link is on the website.

And if anyone can help us with responding to emails and updating mailing lists, please let me know. It can all be done online. Several very solid references will be required.

Thank you all!

Dave Reesor

Categories
Bureaucracy Politics US Politics

WANT CHANGE? LET’S DO IT OURSELVES!

IWUZ reading my last blog which I suppose is quite narcissistic. It’s just that I’m going to be 70 next birthday, and I don’t want to start repeating myself. But, (to repeat myself), here’s what I said at the end of my last blog.

“So, if in fact what America does need, is someone who understands that a change in direction is critical; and someone who might actually have the know-how to accomplish it; then, on November 6 American voters could not have a clearer choice.”

Now, in spite of an outcome promising more of the change that 48% of Americans don’t believe in, (nor do I); I’m thinking that maybe it’s for the best.

Simply changing the occupant of the White House is a bit like installing new tires on a badly damaged car. Unless you intend to rebuild the whole thing it’s a pointless expense. That’s the message of the “six billion dollar blizzard of BS” election campaign; “No significant change from Washington.”

I think it’s pretty clear that forcing a movement towards smaller government must come directly from individuals and families; communities and businesses; who can say to all politicians, with one voice; “Stop! We will not mortgage our children’s and grandchildren’s futures any further”. But how do you get the voices together?

For the past year I have been working on a project called “The Let’s Do It Ourselves Movement”; (LDIO™.org). LDIO™ will be dedicated to encouraging and celebrating stories of self-reliance as practiced by individuals, families, and communities.

LDIO™ will also spotlight, and call to account; politicians who create laws and bureaucracies that run roughshod over the rights, aspirations, and bank accounts of ordinary citizens. Our objective is to provide a platform from which the encroachment of the nanny-state can be halted, and reversed.

With the vast array of communication tools now available; we can educate, encourage, and empower those who already believe that a rollback in the size of government is overdue. We can also inspire others to join us who may be apathetic, or just discouraged.

We used to just assume individual and community self-reliance; our ancestors certainly did. They accomplished important tasks by working together – with no government advice or financial assistance required! Millions still aspire to do the same; and we want to nurture and assist them, and celebrate their accomplishments.  

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Our definition of insanity is: Complain- but do nothing, and hope for change.

We have our web designers working on Phase 1 of the website, www.ldio.org and we are currently aiming for a January roll-out  More details coming in the next blogs.

Let’s go back for our future!

Dave   

There is some interesting post-election analysis in this New York Times piece by Ross Douthat. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/opinion/sunday/douthat-The-Liberal-Gloat.html?_r=0