Time to keep the cash in the country

“The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind” — Bob Dylan

It’s no coincidence Stephen Harper is turning Canada’s international attention away from North America. His recent jaunt to India and the Philippines isn’t only a cynical grab for the ethnic vote but also serves to underscore the reality that the Americans want to become more like Greece, but the rest of the world wants to become what America once was, that is, a land of opportunity not entitlement.

Naturally along the way he, as per Johnny Appleseed, threw out bushels of foreign aid dollars to any country that wants them. There are 150 countries that receive free money from Canada and I’m sure others wouldn’t turn it down either. The galling part of this is that Canadian municipalities are starving for infrastructure money for aging bridges, sewer and water systems, and roads while the feds traipse around the world dispensing largesse to ungrateful, and ever more demanding, foreigners. We should demand that our tax dollars stay here. After years of giveaways, Canada’s international prestige is bought and paid for. Not one more cent to other countries.

Of course, I’m just an unsympathetic old curmudgeon who doesn’t care about people, but until things are perfect here I’m staying that way. If some woolly headed, soft hearted do-gooders want to make personal cheques out to whichever bottom rung nation or people they want, that’s OK with me; just don’t make me spend my money for their silly causes.

In Canada we’re experiencing a major demographic shift to an aging population requiring increased medical attention and a steepening demand for an underfunded pension system where most people aren’t going to be covered by so called social security in their golden years. I’m OK, being able to get while there’s still some money there, but the premise that governments can make long-term promises without having financial wherewithal is being shown right now in Europe, where the receiving class outnumbers and cannibalizes the productive sector.

“It’s just paper, or numbers, or whatever,” many say. Well, I’m old fashioned but realistic enough to know that when bills aren’t being paid and the cupboard’s bare, history always shows violent revolution, and in the 20th Century, World Wars. This isn’t an ideological slant but a fact of economic reality.

Only a few countries around the world are in any shape to decently provide an economic and fiscal environment that will allow commerce to responsibly and sustainably flourish. They share a respect for contract and property law, a fundamental concern for the value of their currency and a well-defined interest in looking into future actuarial realities.

Many, if not most, people think our mostly capitalist system is seriously flawed by income inequality, garish incomes for a few, and a belief that if the rich would only pay their share (which they do), things would be better. Really? Show me. Just like the fairy tale, killing off the goose that lays the golden eggs now won’t make things better in the future.

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