Politics and Economics

It’s the Economy Stupid …

Ballad Of A Thin Man”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Highway 61 Revisited” (August, 1961)

Reviewing our Year End financials prior to discussing it all with our accountants. It appears that we lost money this year, the first year we have made a loss since year one of this pilgrimage.

Fortunately it is all still in the “paper loss” part of the ledger where the amortization of assets exceeded the net profits for the year. So far we can still pay the bills and put food on the table.

Alberta Premiere Rachel Notley

Alberta Premiere Rachel Notley

Two years into an classic NDP economic massacree and looking down the road I wonder how many more years of losses we will have to face while Rachel and her merry band of communists do their level best to destroy any semblance of an economy in Alberta, which Province once supported the healthiest economy in Canada.

One wonders what the “have not” Provinces will do (under Canada’s generous re-distribution scam) now that the Province which they were sucking the blood from has become a have not Province as well.

There is no Province left in Canada with a positive economy (that is, an economy in surplus) so is this the place where the Socialists discover that taking other peoples production only works as long as there is someone producing. Anybody? Anybody?

Move over E.U. and Venezuela, we need some room on the Group W bench for Canada. It should be an interesting time watching the biggest spending government in the history of Alberta implode as it tries to come to grips with running out of other peoples money. Interesting, that is, as in May you live in interesting times.

Carbon Tax, Electrical Generation Companies closing half their generation stations, Oil industry departing for more favorable venues, “Might as well move to B.C. now,” I heard one oil exec say. “If we’re going to get screwed, at least we’ll have an ocean view.”, royalty reviews, higher taxes on business. Hello, Saskatchewan and North Dakota, said the oil companies to Alberta — don’t let the door hit you in the face on our way out.

Now, let’s look at expenditures. There’s already $103 million to education, plus a reversal of all cuts announced by the Tories (much of this goes to pay teacher salaries, the highest in the country for the lowest quality of education). Then there’s keeping open the costly young offenders’ centre in Calgary, which, will now leave two half-used, expensive facilities staffed with government employees.

4 horsemen of the ApocalypseAnd then there’s the restoration of 1,600 were-soon-to-be-laid-off employees of Alberta’s health-care system (the most expensive, and among the worst performing in the country). And 2 years of new NDP hiring all taken together is heading past the 3000 new government jobs level. That’s why Edmonton booms while the rest of Alberta is in it’s death throes. But that is where the votes are, right Rachel?

That’s just the start of the many campaign promises now being fulfilled on the backs of producers. These include tuition freezes, lunch programs, smaller classes, more health-care coverage, a cut in school fees, more beds, more home care in case you don’t want those beds, job creation for unemployed youth, support for wind power (German Companies are singing) and small breweries (AUPE loves their beer, right?) — just basically more of everything.

What’s noticeable about this equation? The ones who generate the wealth, who take the risks, and make the investment — those on the black part of the balance sheet — are in the dumper, while the gains are all to the mainly unionized, revenue-draining red side of the balance sheet.

AUPE is running Alberta. Does this all sound like the kind of expenditures you would make when all the economic indicators the rest of the universe uses to make smart decisions about budgetary issues are all pointing in the other direction? Obviously, it is easy to spend other people’s money and of course, maybe, maybe, even the Socialist NDP sincerely believe they are helping people …  they take their collective actions all “with the best of intentions” … but as C.S. Lewis opines:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
– C.S. Lewis

Not exactly the 4 horsemen but for a modern western economy, totally dependent on energy and exports it is about as close as one gets.



Blind leading the blind over the cliff edgeStupid is as stupid does

Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Is the Tree Rotten?

Sipping my morning coffee and contemplating temperatures in the plus ranges – things are very much like a maritime spring day today, complete with fog.  Watching Fox, watching Global, watching CTV, and CBC, and BBC, and reading the Economist, and even once in a while the Mop & Flail (although that rag has, over the years,  become much more suited for wrapping used kitty letter than reading)… Everywhere we are continually inundated with a tide of media speak, of endlessly nuanced flavours, views, spin and talking points about and by our ruling elites and how much they are doing for us, or not doing for us, and so on and so forth.

Yet we see every day around us increasing signs of the detachment of these same elites in the media and government from the realities of everyday live for “everyman”. “Budgets”, and “State-of-Union” addresses, and “news” conferences, and magazine articles, and “news” shows – the infamous infotainment style of reportage. We become accustomed to accepting, in a pseudo “Skinner” manner, whatever we are told by these “sources”  because even a broken clock is right twice a day and we periodically get a real grain of corn amidst the chaff.  Of course any really good lie comes at you sugar coated in a lot of truth and it is the progressive agenda that is the big lie coated with the sugar of “helping and looking after the voters”.

One gets the distinct impression that the elites everywhere eventually and inevitably begin to believe their own spin – their own BS, as a friend remarks.  The almost universal development of a “L’etat, C’est moi” attitude amongst our bureaucracy and their political masters reveals just how detached from reality and everyman they are gradually becoming. This phenomenon, this separation of the elites from the masses, is one of the commonest signs of social decline in any society . Where the elites – the leadership and their servants – share the concerns and values of the people, the government proceeds smoothly. Where the elites are psychically and socially separated their people, they start designing policies that actively harmful to the masses. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the areas of Social Services and Criminal Justice. When the elites come believe that the basic rules of decent conduct are only for the “little people” and don’t apply to the elites we are already too far down the slippery slope to recover without cataclysm.

And amongst the people, the ones most susceptible and sensitive to the decline of values and morals, the ones most affected  by harmful policies are the young. Increasingly as they age they perceive that the deck is stacked against them, they have less invested in the status quo and less to loose by abandoning the old values. They have known nothing else and the education system and the social services available to them and the performance of the justice system when they eventually run afoul of the law all conspire to produce an underclass of ignorant visionless consumers who concentrate on living for the now, for their passions and appetites, because they see no future. They can’t imagine things getting better and they turn to any demagogue who promises them something they have been told they want – right now.

I don’t think I am imagining all this. I really do see this all around me every day. Does anyone else see this picture of society?  It seems pretty straight forward to me. It is as plain as the voice of the senior bureaucrat who once told me over coffee (I was a policy writer at the time) in all sincerity that he believed that the function of government was to separate resources from producers and distribute those resources as he saw fit according to policies developed by the same class of bureaucrats for the betterment of those who had less resources – this was his religion, a religion of take from those who were considered to “have” to give it to those who were considered to “have not”, as if the state of “having”, by some alchemy of progressive policy, rendered the “haves” generally evil. The corollary of this was the equally phantasmagorical belief that the state of “not having” automatically conferred the mantle of general goodness upon those who “have not”.

He saw himself, rather romantically, as a kind of “Robin Hood” in a suite. The mechanics, the underpinnings, of have and have not never seemed to enter into the thought processes. He must have missed the Economics 101 class where the prof pantomimed the action of socialist government by “acting” as the government taking from the producer and pocketing a large share while passing the remainder on to the receiver. This is simplistic I know but reflects the reality of daily existence for more or less any producer on the planet, whatever their product might be. Bureaucrats as pimps – interesting image.







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