Saturday, January 21, 2012

Canada, the Pogie, and Fiscal Reform

Contrary to the picture portrayed by Joan Delaney in her Epoch Times article "Living on Welfare Test Canadian Politician's Endurance, welfare is not insufficient and impoverishing because of the miserly state. In fact, welfare creates a culture of poverty in which individuals grow dependent on a handout and lose initiative to fend for themselves.

Unemployment also eats away at the value of a nation's currency. As the government pushes funds into the economy, creating a market where more money is chasing fewer goods, which in turn stirs up inflation and erodes consumer capacity. This trend harms everyone, but it specifically hits those who were responsible enough to save their money. Inflation cuts into their purchasing power, and unjustly, too.

Two decades ago, Canadians lived off "the Pogie" (unemployment benefits), the standards of which were so lax that beneficiaries only had to look for work two weeks out of the year. After that, they could loaf around and do nothing, somewhat like living off of disability insurance, except in their case, the only ailment plaguing these individuals was government induced "laziness".

The Canadian government should look to invest in doing less, allowing businesses to thrive more, and prevent any more unemployment beneficiaries from pushing away available work. Most people should not try to live off of welfare, anyway. Unlike the sad picture presented by Delaney and New Democratic legislator Jagrup Brar, I am glad to read that individuals cannot comfortable subsist off of welfare.

In addition to the biased presentation of the article, I would like to know more about how much the legislator spent. How did he invest his time looking for work? Another journalist, Barbara Ehrenreich, lived off minimum-wage salaries in different parts of the country. In her undercover reporting "Nickel and Dimed", Ehrenreich claimed to live in the cheapest lodgings. She was forced to endure the most difficult tasks, working three jobs just to make ends meet. Another investigative reporter, John Stossel reported that Ehrenreich splurged at fast-food joints. She also lived in hotel rooms as opposed to free homeless shelters. This woman used her money poorly, not saving her money appropriately.

In another special report by John Stossel, a self-described libertarian, another young man started with nothing, similar to the living experiment that Ehrenreich endured. Instead of a nice hotel and fast food, the young man stayed at a shelter and ate free meals in a soup kitchen. He then found an $8 an hour job. He worked his way up in the company, after which he saved and invested his money. Then he purchased a car and an apartment to live in. Human ingenuity knows no bounds, provided that individuals pay attention to what they can do as opposed to what they state should be doing for them.

It was the same journalist John Stossel who discussed the fraud and waste in Canada's unemployment programs. When the Government in the 1990's had to cut costs, including hand-outs to the unemployment, the rate of unemployment actually decreased considerably. Proper fiscal reform would prevent individuals from living off the state, attempting to make ends meet with so little from the government, which can do so little for itself. Taxpayer dollars must be returned to taxpayers, who can then spend and invest their money in businesses, which can then hire more workers, and thus end unemployment.

Legislator Jagrup Brar is foolish to think that by handing out more money to recipients, that he could increase their purchasing power. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creating inflation, denigrating the decency of Canadian citizens, enabling them to be dependent and starving - I do not believe that the Canadian government wants to further such poverty and misery. Yet "the Pogie" does exactly that! Real fiscal reform would do away with welfare, lower taxes, decrease regulations, and permit individuals, poor or rich, to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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