The Politics of Dancing
“I know a lot of fancy dancers, people who can glide you ‘cross the floor.
They move so smooth but have no answers. . .”
It doesn’t seem to matter how often they get it wrong, nothing deters governments from forging ahead and making the same decisions and making the same mistakes over and over and over again. It’s unbelievable! It’s like you have to pass a stupidity test to run for office.
“Sorry. You have a brain. You’re over-qualified. Candidacy for electoral office denied. Next!”
Most of these people, irrespective of party or even nation, can’t think beyond the end of the last idea they had let alone the end of their noses. Almost all of them haven’t the strategic vision to plan anything beyond next Tuesday.
They don’t, so much, trip over the law of unintended consequences as wallow in it and seem to spend more of their time and our money addressing the problems created by their previous decisions than they did on the original issue.
What’s happening in Cyprus is a perfect example.
The government of Cyprus didn’t ask for a bailout because it had over-spent and was in fear of default. Cyprus has been running surplus budgets for years. The problem was that their major banks were at high risk of default and the government was afraid that without support from the EU, those banks would fail and that would devastate the country. Guess why the banks are in trouble?
They hold a significant amount of toxic bonds and loans from Greece; bonds and loans they were encouraged, along with other lenders, to make by the EU when the EU decided to bail out Greece. In other words, the way the EU handled the Greek bailout has not only created an economic and social mess in that country, it has exacerbated another mess in Cyprus and it is the people of Cyprus who will pay for it.
We pay more now to government than to anyone else in our lives unless we have a drug or gambling problem. Even there, the government is horning in on the gambling action with dozens of lotteries and casinos and is moving in on the illegal drug action with proposals to legalize and control the sale of marijuana and opening and funding safe injection sites for heroin and crack users.
So desperate is government for cash that nothing gets in its way; not fairness, not efficiency, not even common sense. Rather than clean up its act, it finds new terminology to try and cover its tracks. The latest term for taking money out of our pockets is ‘revenue tools’. I love this one.
“The government needs to ‘explore’ new ‘revenue tools’ to fund its programs and service debt.
It rankles me that governments take as much of our money as they do but what really gets under my hat is that they think we’re so stupid we’ll think to ourselves,
“Phew. They’re only exploring new revenue tools. I thought they were going to raise taxes. What a relief.”
We pay income tax, consumption taxes, ecco (recycling) taxes and energy and health taxes. We pay user fees for everything from public sports facilities and some roads and bridges our taxes paid to build and for which they fund operations and maintenance. We pay fees to acquire forms that governments require us to fill out and documents and licences they require us to carry.
We are over-regulated, over-licensed, over-taxed and definitely under-loved.
We even pay to park at hospitals, colleges, universities and government offices – all of which our money built and for which our money funds operations – and all of which belong to us.
We have become little more than organic ATMs for government and I, for one, don’t like where they’re inserting their debit cards. It makes it uncomfortable to sit down.
Governments of all political ideologies and at all levels take billions in Canada and trillions in the United States from the economy. They create nothing, not even a fair tax system. Fully 36% of individual Canadians and 47% of Americans pay no income taxes at all. Charities, NGOs, unions, churches, foundations and a whole lot of other special interest groups pay no tax either and yet have a great deal of influence on public policy which always ends up costing you and I more money.
I tell you, my friends, there are days when I think we would be better served if we had a couple of guys named Vinnie and Lefty, in colour-
coordinated sharkskin suits running things. Sure, a few people who didn’t pay their taxes on time might have their legs broken or end up sleeping with the fishes from time to time but it would certainly cost us a lot less in the long run. And gangsters would be better dressed than most politicians. At least their ties and socks would colour coordinate with their suits.
The way government operates is nothing less than death by a thousand cuts by people poorly very often poorly dressed.
It has become so bad, the European Union actually forced the Government of Cyprus to pass legislation that allows them to steal – and there is no other word for it – money from people’s savings accounts. This wasn’t money that was proven to be the proceeds of illegal activities or for which taxes hadn’t been paid. This is money that is legally on deposit; tax paid money that was invested in bank accounts in good faith.
Government and good faith are terms that just don’t go together. They simply change the rules of the game to suit their purposes whenever they need more cash.
The EU assures the world that this is a ‘‘one of’’ and it won’t happen again which is sort of like some punk crying in front of a judge and promising he’ll go straight if the judge is lenient this time. How long do you think it will take governments around the world to realize that if the EU could get away with it in Cyprus, some variation of it might just pave the way to a whole new series of ‘revenue tools?
Governments are so addicted to spending money that they’re like crack addicts desperate for the next fix and like addicts, nothing is beneath them in trying to find the money they need to finance the habit.
Like all addicts they’re clueless and they’re out of control. All they care about is the next hit and perhaps some chocolate chip cookies in between fixes to help deal with the shakes.
Government drifts from crisis to crisis mindlessly. They throw money at problems without thought or regard for the long-term and spend our money trying to buy votes to keep themselves in power. Why bother? When they’re in power they don’t do anything except make things worse until it’s time to retire. All they have to show for their contribution to society is more debt, more polarization and if they’re lucky, a bridge, a street or an arena named after them.
When they do have an idea, it is almost always a bad one like my city building an outdoor ice rink at City Hall less than 100 yards from the world’s largest outdoor skating rink on the Rideau Canal or paying to put GPS tracking devices on Blanding Turtles.
Government is nothing more than a collective of bureaucrats and politicians who don’t have a clue about what to do or how to do it. They hold meeting after meeting where they huff and puff over trivialities. They are people who think they can redistribute wealth without consequences, borrow their way out of debt and engineer their society to fit some politically correct fantasy of what they think it should be like.
It is management of our common resources without thought or ability.
In Ontario, the new Premier, in less than three months in office, is implementing the same mismanagement of her predecessor with secret meetings with teachers unions and new ecco tax increases for tires for farm equipment that top a 2200% increase.
Now that’s a revenue tool you can believe in.
Nonetheless, there are actually people in the province who will vote for her because – well – they think she’s a nice person and that she’s trying her best. Sorry folks but her best just isn’t good enough. Just ask a farmer or a low income family who will be paying more for food as a result of the ecco tax increase.
It’s just more of the same old stuff packaged up with new terminology and the more I look around the more I begin to think that just maybe politicians and government are right. We really are as stupid as they think we are. Whoever coined the phrase ‘we get the government we deserve” was talking about us.
At least some of us anyway. How else can you explain that abject failure keeps getting reelected and supported? Like masochists at an orgy, too many of us keep going back for more.
“Beat me, beat me. I haven’t stopped enjoying the abuse.”
Apparently the people of Greece no longer enjoy the abuse and took to rioting to voice their displeasure. It makes me wonder at times if we will have to sink down to that level of economic devastation and violence before people in this country take their heads out of their asses and start to stand up for what is right rather than for what is politically correct, what is expedient or what is in the interest of their special little group.
It might be a good idea if some of us started to learn the Zorba Dance. It might not fix anything but at least we’ll be prepared if and when this country ends up in the same position as Greece.
We have a lot of fancy dancers in politics these days but they dance for their own purposes. What we are lacking is leadership; real leadership from people with courage, vision and integrity. It only takes one, leading by example based on principle rather than dictate based on expediency, to bring us together so that we will all hear the music and learn to dance together.
Perhaps I”m losing it but it occurs to me that there is no ideology when we dance together; just strength because we are united rather than polarized. We are happier because we are united in a way government continuously fails to achieve. Perhaps it would do us well to remember, the next time we vote, that dancing together is always better than dancing alone..
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