Give Canadian Minister of Finance a piece of your mind on 2014 budget

Original Post: NAAIJ

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The Canadian Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, has put out a request for your comments on the 2014 budget with a brief questionnaire comprising 6 questions. This seems like an absolutely perfect time to tell Jim Flaherty about a recent proposal from Conservative Senator Segal to eliminate Poverty and Homelessness that we recently reported on here[1] Indeed the first question is “How can the federal government help Canadians with the costs of living and raising a family?” Guaranteed Basic Income folks, Those are the magic words. Let him know![2]

The next question concerns education and training. If the Conservatives would study their own data from the Guaranteed Basic Income study…they would find that attendance in class and graduation rates skyrocketed under the 4 year trial of the program in Canada in a Manitoba town. This isn’t to say that the curriculum currently taught in most schools in lacking in key areas … and perhaps even too focused on areas that do not adequately prepare children for the world, but instead, much like the question asserts, prepares them to be efficient and obedient workers. Is this really want we want out of our education system? “What can the government do to ensure Canadians are obtaining the skills and knowledge necessary for the jobs of tomorrow?”

Further on in the questionnaire the Minister of Finance seeks your opinions on how to balance the Federal Budget by 2015. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll just quote my previous article instead:

Segal later explained his reasons for supporting such a sensible program as a Conservative, a party not known for exhibiting a strong command of logic and reason, to which Segal seems to be outshining the rest of his party by a long shot. A cursory review of headlines about any member of the Conservative party in the past months will exemplify this.

“Nobody wants to face up to the reality that the core problem is that people at the low end do not have enough money and I know there is the concern of ‘paying people to do nothing’ I hear that from my friends on the right. The truth of the matter is if you look at the cost of poverty, how it fills our prison system. Close to 90% of the people who are ‘guests of Her Majesty’ in our prisons, which cost by the way, between 60 to 120 thousand per person, per year are from the 10% of the population that live beneath the poverty line. People who are living beneath the poverty line are in jail sooner. They run into more difficulty with the law more frequently. They are in our hospitals quicker and they stay longer because they have no where to go. Their life outcomes are diminished. Their education and family outcomes are not good. All of which produces a huge problem in terms of our national productivity and the workforce that we need. The only way to deal with these issues is not to have a thousand micro managed programs based on rules and welfare officers trying to look into peoples private lives. It is to ensure that everybody has an automatic top up when they fall beneath so that they can manage and there is an incentive to stay in the workforce and participate. We spend between the provinces and Ottawa in excess of $180 billion a year, and we see no real reduction in meaningful terms of the millions of Canadians living below the poverty line.”[3]

Segal says the program would cost only $30 billion a year. A mere fraction of what the Canadian Government is currently spending on programs that fail at tackling the exact same issues. Clearly there is some overhead and waste in the current implementation of those programs, if one program can get the job done at far less then half of what is currently spent. By this logic, Current recipients of social assistance programs, at most are only taking in a fraction of $30 billion, as you’d have to assume at least some overhead is included in that figure. So where is the remaining 150 billion going? Not to the people that need it, that’s for sure.

Seems the Minister of Finance would need to look no further then his own party for feasible suggestions on how to carve a nice $150 billion chunk of savings out of the budget. The full list of questions asked are as follows:

1. How can the federal government help Canadians with the costs of living and raising a family?
2. What can the government do to ensure Canadians are obtaining the skills and knowledge necessary for the jobs of tomorrow?
3. What should be done to further help businesses grow and encourage the hiring of new employees?
4. How can we better streamline regulations and further reduce unnecessary costs that may be holding businesses back?
5. How can the government continue to support a stable environment in which investment and trade flourish?
6. Given the Government’s goal to return to balance by 2015, are there any areas where the federal government can find additional savings and better respect taxpayers’ dollars?
7. Are there any other comments you would like to make regarding the Government’s Economic Action Plan?

Take the questionarre here


Original Post: NAAIJ

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