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The High Cost of Free Money

Tue, March 22, 2022   |   Author: Rod Taylor   |   Volume 29    Issue 12 | Share: Gab | Facebook | Twitter   

They say money doesn’t grow on trees. But maybe it does! Some highly-paid federal politicians apparently think that unlimited amounts of money can be had by wishful thinking (no work involved) and they have drafted—not one but two—bills to make that daydream a reality.

Canadian Senator Kim Pate has tabled Bill S-233, and her counterpart in the House of Commons, MP Leah Gazan introduced an identical Bill, C-223; both of these bills call for “a national framework for the implementation of a guaranteed livable basic income program throughout Canada.”

Why should this concern us? Don’t we want all Canadians to have the necessities of life: a roof over their heads, the ability to feed their families and to be secure from the ravages of poverty? Of course we do; so what’s the problem?

The problem is that a universal basic income (UBI) provided by hard-working taxpayers to other Canadians who have no incentive to use an alarm clock, to put their boots on in the morning and to deal with car repairs, rush-hour traffic, grumpy bosses, crabby fellow employees or demanding customers . . . just will not work. It’s grossly unjust to take what one person sweats for and give it to someone who is unwilling to work for it. Canadians who now work extra hard to obtain or retain a good job will soon be tempted to exchange their work ethic for a free ride. This isn’t a diatribe against those who have fallen on hard times and may need temporary relief; it’s simply a recognition of basic human nature. Good habits need to be developed; bad habits come naturally.

Canada has been and continues to be a land of opportunity. It’s true that in the past two years, many hardworking Canadians have been shut out of the workplace, due to intrusive and counter-productive government edicts and restrictions. Businesses have been lost forever and conscientious and experienced workers in healthcare, service industries and law enforcement have been deprived, not only of their regular employment, but even of the employment insurance benefits to which they were entitled and into which they were compelled to contribute.

Governments have caused the loss of many jobs and the collapse of many businesses. They do have a responsibility to provide some help to those directly affected by those decisions; but the CERB payments to individuals and lavish grants to municipalities, businesses and organizations have created an economic burden to taxpayers for generations to come.

The idea that government can simply create and distribute wealth by passing a bill is patently absurd. Real wages earned by hardworking employees and business owners are the result of the production of something useful . . . some potatoes perhaps or an item of clothing. But money taken from the hands of productive Canadians and given to the indolent produces no benefit to our economy; it just adds greater debt to future generations.

There are several glaring misconceptions in these identically-worded bills, S-233 and C-223:

  • They don’t propose any coherent method by which the government could pay for such a scheme; nor is there an estimated cost. These bills simply call on the Minister of Finance to “develop a national framework for the implementation of a guaranteed livable basic income program throughout Canada for any person over the age of 17, including temporary workers, permanent residents and refugee claimants.”

Note: Most 17-year olds are still in school and living with their parents. A “temporary worker”—by definition—is, in Canada, to work and to fill a need in the Canadian economy that no Canadian is able to fill. The idea that the state should siphon taxes from the pockets of taxpaying citizens to make young people and “temporary workers” into permanent non-workers is so bizarre that one wonders how its proponents were not embarrassed to present it.

  • Part 3.c. of Bill S-233 says that the framework must “ensure that participation in education, training or the labour market is not required in order to qualify for a guaranteed livable basic income.” In other words, there would be no requirement or expectation that anyone receiving this “guaranteed livable basic income” would ever have to work, train or seek employment in order to qualify. Now, I admit there is a lot wrong with our current system of so-called “Employment Insurance.” But to remove all safeguards against abuse and to simply grant unlimited economic benefits in perpetuity with no even implied expectation of effort or contribution to the Canadian economy is unbelievable.

In my title, I referred to the “high cost of free money.” What did I mean by that? Firstly, that the overspending of the federal government (and this current Liberal government outstrips them all in that regard) has increased the federal debt to such a level that they now do not even promise to balance the budget until 2070; our current MPs will be long gone by then. They’ve given themselves two raises during this pandemic and are now making $186,200 per year. It’s easy for them to promise free money for everyone. They’ll just raise taxes or borrow more . . . because budgets don’t “balance themselves.”

In the meantime, for the average working Canadian and for those yet unborn, we will be left struggling to pay interest and principal on the soaring national debt (along with inflation, carbon taxes and—if Bill S-233 passes—the “guaranteed livable basic income.”

Canada’s federal debt today is already close to $1.2 Trillion, nearly double the $628.91 Billion it was in 2015, the year Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister. The Canadian Taxpayers’ Debt Clock shows that our government is now borrowing an additional $391 million every single day! At today’s low interest rates, we are currently paying over $55 million in interest alone . . . every single day! By 2026, barring a rise in interest rates (?) we will be paying $119 million per day in daily interest.

Bills S-233 and C-223 belong on the trash heap. The CHP instead proposes “mandatory balanced budgets.” Politicians MUST stop buying votes with taxpayers’ money. It’s time to put taxpaying Canadians back to work and to encourage young people and all resident adults to find a job and help us get this country out of deficit and out of debt.

To protect future generations, join CHP Canada and reward thrift, industry, and productivity.

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