I figured I’d said enough about Keynesian economics in the last blog entry, but a train of thought has since been weaving through my brain, and so I should probably let it out.
It isn’t just that the idea of spending money to stave off recessions are a contemporary madness, or that politicians manipulate them in order to avoid becoming unpopular during the inevitable ebb and flow of market forces. Nor is it that Keynesian economics always leaves us farther behind than we were before, necessitating larger and larger government assistance programs and funds to bring us back out of our deeper holes. No, it’s much worse than that.
I heard on the radio today that every conceivable cost of living will be going up again this year at a greater rate than inflation. How we’re expected to pay for it is beyond me. Everything from payroll employment insurance and pension plan taxes to the perpetually pointless carbon tax to car insurance premiums, home heating costs and of course health insurance “premiums”. That lie your parents told you about health care being free in this country isn’t true any more than it is when Occupy Wall Street activists tell Americans how great we have it up here.
No, what’s worse than Keynesian economics is the political disease that necessitates it, a contemporaneous concept borne in the early part of the twentieth century in conjunction with, and that’s no coincidence, the mass media. That political disease is the concept that the government is somehow responsible for your perpetual well-being, care, consideration, welfare, concern and overall happiness. And in so pursuing this impossibly utopian mandate, every single politician has failed to manage it.
What requires a city, a province or a country to mindlessly devalue a currency, spend beyond its fiscally allotted means, irresponsibly raise taxes beyond sustainable levels and meddle in the free market? Why, the politician’s promise of course. Why else would we need to waste $300 billion a year on things nobody needed in 1867 when Canada was a fledgling nation of the British empire? To make Canadians happy, of course.
And how does one make Canadians happy? To attend their every possible need. That means going beyond just the basics of health care, education and law and order, but of course the creation of heritage, economic development, government regulatory boards and bodies, each with their own taxes and fees on top of their per-use service costs.
It isn’t, nor should it ever have been, the job of a politician to create a job for a free citizen of Canada. And at one point in the existence of my family’s habitation in Canada, it wasn’t. Lose your job? Well, you better sweep a chimney, dig a ditch, or shovel behind a horse, or else you and your family would, in short order, be occupying a tent outside, and it didn’t come with a safe injection nurse and a library either.
People who complain about the government not keeping its election promises about employment opportunities and an inability to find work in their field are perhaps the finest idiots this side of the historical record of Christopher Columbus. Do they not realize we are the descendants of people who not only left their homes in England, Scotland and France to find work, they spent two weeks on an ocean voyage for the opportunity to inhabit a barren wasteland? People who can’t be bothered to search more than 10 minutes from their home for a job outside their degree in psychology so they can collect 11 months of employment insurance, are the very reason for the problems we experience.
In the natural order of things, and one can agree upon this whether one believes in Darwin’s theory or not, the fittest survive while the weak are cast off from the earth. Unfortunately, humans are far too civilized to adhere to this basic philosophical truth. We embrace the idea of protecting and nourishing the weak, building entire civilizations around limiting ourselves to how much we can achieve with the burden of millions of people who aren’t helping. And not only are they not helping, they’re literally standing there watching us while they’re not helping, and blaming us for being such daft boors for trying to get things accomplished.
In feudal times it used to be a good job if one could win a spot in the sovereign’s household, wiping mouths and cleaning toilets from sunrise to sunset for some bread and water long enough to keep one’s head from being chopped off on a wooden block. Now, not only do we have a lifestyle so luxurious, so comfortable and utterly free of care, that we have to invent reasons to complain about it. I can’t find a job… that pays me enough to buy the flat screen TV I want. I can’t afford groceries… with mint chocolate chip ice cream. Aye, but you do make sure your iPhone is fully charged, eh?
Sometimes the absurdity of it all just gets to me. We’re in another financial crisis of our manufacture, and everyone is once again contemplating how the politicians of the globe should fix it. Well, one possible solution would be for them not to fix it. That fixing it has been the problem for a long time, and that by not fixing it, it might very well fix itself. After all, the government doesn’t create jobs, it just takes the credit for them.
The raison d’etre of today’s government is to find reasons it should exist. As Stephen Taylor once wrote about scrapping the long-form census, if the government doesn’t know how many Urdu-speaking disabled taxi cab drivers there are in Ottawa, it cannot create policies, programs and government departments dedicated to helping Urdu-speaking disabled taxi cab drivers in Ottawa. The absence of such a program is a benefit to every Canadian.
If we all found more reasons why government shouldn’t exist, instead of why it should, we shouldn’t have a need for a $300 billion annual budget in Ottawa, nor the donation of half our earned income toward that purpose. We shouldn’t need 330 politicians in the House of Commons hemming and hawing about jobs and employment insurance and whether, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Thornhill is a piece of excrement for blocking taxpayer-funded trips to Durban to speculate about invisible gasses making us all hot and bothered.
And we certainly shouldn’t need to ask those politicians to come up with solutions that have been self-evident to every creature that emerged from egg or womb since time immemorial.
By the by, writing this reminded me of Kate McMillan’s National Post column from 2008, now disappeared by the Posts’ unreliable archives, but saved by Kate herself. Have a read.