So, there’s that election coming up on October 19, 2015. You know, the one the Conservatives really want you to forget about, and are keeping Elections Canada from reminding you is coming. That one. On October 19th, 2015. You can sign up to vote in it by clicking here, but you might want to know about the issues first. It’s important to know what’s at stake. We talked about who the players are here, and what their stance on the environment is here. And, yes, we’re going to start things off by reminding you that a lot of the statements made here will be hyperlinks – think of them as an instance citation. Unlike Harper’s Conservatives, we have nothing to hide.
This week, we’re going to talk about the economy. To understand what the stances of the various political parties are, we need to understand what the economy is, where it comes from, why it crashed in 2008, what caused those circumstances, why it’s crashing now, what can be done to keep it from happening again, where it’s going, and where Canada stands. This is actually where the Conservatives likes to claim they’re strongest, but, well, we’ll let their record speak for itself.
Simply, our economy evolved on the collection of resources and has been moving towards the worth of ideas. The collection of resources is simple: one is as wealthy as the physical things that they have personal control of, whether that be land, cattle, oil, ore, or whatever else people have decided has value. There are a finite amount of these things, and so the only way to become wealthier is through trade, discovery, or taking.
Trade is when one exchanges good or services for other goods or services, and is the back bone of our modern paradigm. When someone pays you for your time working at a job, they’re renting your time and skills. When you pay for a television, you’re exchanging what your time is worth for a physical good that you can then use. Discovery is when someone finds a resource that has remained unclaimed by a recognized authority and claims it for themselves; through this claim, they now have the ability to trade this good at whatever worth they wish for it. Taking is when a group invents a reason to go in and take a resource that belongs to someone else, either fooling, bribing, or ignoring a recognized authority that might otherwise stop them.
As systems go, resource based economies work best when they work under a pairing of capitalism and socialism. Sadly, there’s been a press from corporate interests to focus more on the former and less on the latter, despite the fact that socialism has done much to make capitalism workable, in order to increase short term profits at the cost of long term profitability or survivability. Many corporations like to claim that they need to use these horrible tactics to remain competitive, when we know this simply isn’t true.
The system became to come undone when the Americans decided corporations were human citizens, and a bunch of us decided to follow suite. What that started was the corruption of the American, British, and Canadian political systems to the point where our politicians represent corporate interests rather than the interests of the people living in their countries. And, yes, that includes Canada.
Reaganomics and an increase in credit followed, and both were disastrous to the world in general but made a few people very rich.
A half-decent actor managed to get himself elected in America, because of course he did. His name was Ronald Reagan, and he was terrible and did terrible things. We’re going to get back him in the future, but for now we have to look at Reaganomics. Basically, Reaganomics posits that the very rich need all the money, and that if we give them all the money it will trickle down on everyone else as they spend the money. Like rain, or bukkake. We know it doesn’t work. We have seen repeatedly that it doesn’t work. For whatever reason, the Conservatives seem to really like Reaganomics and keep doing things that push Reaganomics on the country.
The other thing that happened was an explosion in credit. The minimum wage – which was always supposed to be a living wage, ie, the minimum amount of money one can live on – was frozen back in the early eighties, and credit was offered as an alternative. This must have seemed like a good idea at first, and it helped push the idea of Reaganomics in the short term, but in the long term it’s led to crippling debt for the young, the destruction of the middle class, and the industrialization of schools and prisons to the detriment of society as a whole. If you’re wondering why Generation X and younger aren’t buying houses or cars, this is a large part of it… and none of this is taking wage theft into account.
We started building on the marketability of ideas. Intellectual properties have become billion dollar industries, creating boom economies out of nothing more than dreams; Take Harry Potter as an example. Harry Potter was the brain child of someone who had nothing, and is now impossibly wealthy – so much so that she’s given much of her money to charity and is still wealthier than anyone might have imagined possible. Her dreams were refined and brought to market, and subsequently gave birth to movies, video games, books, net series, television shows, toys, and more. Celebrities were created, careers launched. They’ve even influenced worldwide politics. Even the fan-inspired works to come out of it have become industries unto themselves.
The knock-off effects and growth are incalculable. What was possible, changed.
It’s a self-perpetuating growth industry that rewards creativity and depth, and has grown even larger with the advent of internet – uncontrollably so, turning people into celebrities through viral videos, internet shows, and more. The idea of being internet-famous is no longer a laughable statement, but a means of making a steady income.
So, that’s what the economy is and where it comes from. As for where it is, well, we’re in the middle of depression. A large part of this is because of the failing policies that Harper’s Conservative Government have been shoving down our throats. This includes that time he took a $13 billion surplus and turned it into the biggest deficit in Canadian history, gave $50 million from G8 and gave it to one of his buddies, knowingly took advice from a cabinet member that he’d appointed despite his multiple fraud convictions, dropped corporate tax rate to 15% with no benefit to anyone except his very rich friends… the list goes on.
In fact, on order to make it look like he’s balanced the books, he’s made some pretty impressive cuts to health care, the coast guard, science, women and minority groups, unemployment insurance… basically, if it makes Canada a good place to be, Harper wants to cut it in favor of, well, let’s get on that.
Again, clicking on the name of a political party will take you to that’s party’s website so you can check our findings for yourself.
Trudeau says he’s going to cut the middle class income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%, so that’s nice. That means that you middle class folks out there will get to keep 89.5% of what you make when you rent out your time, and that’s not terrible. He also wants to create a new tax bracket, where anyone making more that $200k per year will have 33% of that taken away. Part of that money will go for child care to those families making less than $150k, and that’s actually a great thing. Go, Trudeau. He’s going to keep the tax breaks that are in place for small businesses, and reverse the Conservative plan to keep people working to 67, while increasing both pension plan contributions and benefits for Canadians as a whole. It’s a pretty solid platform with a lot of promise, though whether he’ll follow through on anything is in doubt following the disastrous support the Grits gave Bill C-51.
More of the same. To start, there’s help for those wealthy friends of Harper’s Conservatives, as they plan to increase the maximum annual amount you can shove in a tax-free saving account from $5,500 to an even $10k. For those of you keeping score, that’ll help some people, sure, but it’ll help the wealthy most of all. So will cutting the corporate tax rate from 22% to 15%, though his promise to lower the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019 sounds good until you realize he’s probably bending the truth. Harper does that – a lot – and expect more government programs and departments to be utterly gutted as he struggles to balance the budget. Part of that is his plan to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67, while asking for Canadians to voluntarily give him more money to mismanage. There’s not a lot of certainties here, just vague promises. Harper has kept reporters and non-Conservatives out of his press conferences, so who knows what he really has planned?
Tom promises to keep personal income tax rates while they are, and not touch the tax-free saving account thing. His reason is that the latter does nothing to help the lower and middle classes, and neither does income-splitting for families. That means that whole thing is gone, too, and that might be a good thing. He does want to increase income taxes on corporations to where they were before the Conservatives took office, though he does like the idea of small businesses going from the 11% tax rate to 9%, so that’s a thing. Tom Muclair and the NDP would also like to build a series of child care facilities, which would allow women to pursue careers and create jobs for those that like taking care of kids. Oh, and this money from the corporate taxation would go back towards the benefits of Canadians as a whole, including health care, education, pension plans, and keeping the retirement age where it is. It’s about on par with what the Grits want to do, and far better than what the Tories have in mind.
And here’s where things get complex, again. See, the Greens have a comprehensive and workable plan for everything. To start, they want to raise the corporate tax rate back to 19%, but they’re also looking at setting up both pollution and carbon taxes that they can then reinvest in Canadian infrastructure, education, small businesses, and communities. Speaking of infrastructure and small businesses, they’re looking to invest in new forms of environmentally stable and supportable forms of energy, tourism, emerging technologies – the Greens have an eye for the future and want to stimulate and cultivate growth across the board, with the understanding that we can all prosper together. A big part of that is eliminating student debt and college tuition, ensuring that we have an educated workforce that is able to go and do things, like start businesses and buy homes. This means getting youth active and interested in the future, and not being forced into unpaid internships or into dead-end jobs that cannot support anything other than crippling debt.
The Bloc is more interested in the idea of Quebec’s independence than in saying out that would be fiscally responsible, viable, or even possible. Do they have any economic policies on their site? We couldn’t find them. There are other places to find them on the interwebs, but if the Bloc isn’t interested in their position, why should we be? They are, of course, devoted entirely to Quebec and couldn’t care less about the rest of the country, except as a hostage used to get what they want. To that end, they’d probably like a million dollars, but whether or not they’d do anything with it is anyone’s guess. One thing for certain: that million wouldn’t mean anything outside of Quebec.
Our favorite independent believes in a strong economy based on a backbone of agriculture. For him, floraculture and silviculure are the wave of the future, but care of orchards and cattle ranches are of equal value. He also wants to make post-secondary education mandatory, and to eliminate both tuition fees and debt towards that end. This would result in an educated youth that would, again, be active in the world and able to stimulate the economy by being a part of it. In addition, the technologies that could be retro-engineered from the robot he destroyed with his eye lasers may hold the secrets to untold riches. Given that he owns the remains of that robot by way of having put it down, voting for him may be the only means we have of getting access to its remains.
And that’s where our candidates stand on the economy. We’ll be back next week to talk about what these people plan to do about other issues, all leading up to the Federal Election that the Harper Government would like us not to talk about. That election is on October 19, 2015, which is a Monday. Make sure you’re registered to vote and find the places you can vote by clicking here. And, hey, looks like you can even vote online. Awesome.