First! Define the Problem Accurately

FTLComm - Tisdale - Monday, January 14, 2002

Though the amount of snow that has fallen has been light I am certain that most people realise that more is better. Its a simple problem, we have a drought in Saskatchewan and we need water.

Over a month ago I wrote about my concerns about depopulation of rural Saskatchewan and I explained that government and other folks are ignoring the problem and instead considering all sorts of cutbacks to deal with the problem instead of just re-populating.

Once again I am noticing that the first step in any problem solving process is being ignored as though everything that happens is some how either irriversible or fate. In Saskatchewan we had the Fyke report and this past week the cheap former Mulroney finance minister comes out with his privatisation health proposals and everyone accepts both of these lines of plain stupidity without considering the real problem.

Why is there a drought in Saskatchewan? You know the answer, it just didn't rain much in the last few years and there was no run off last spring. Now weather, that's quite a different matter than human affairs. We can not safely change climate or weather conditions, this is beyond our capacity at this time but other affairs that affect us all are well within our control.

Why is there a problem with Medicare? Yes, I have heard the many suggestions and almost all have merit, bad management, to many hospitals, to many old people, expensive procedures, doctors and nurses expect to be paid for their work, and so on. But none of those are the reason we have a problem. If we have a problem with Medicare consider what it really is. Having trouble with this one aren't you, that's because you and all of us have ignored the cause. Unlike the weather this problem is one we have created and you personally have to accept the blame for this.
As a voter you have marched to the polls and you have voted for politicians and political parties who have preached their dedication to "lower taxes". You elected them and they are in power. No one likes paying taxes yet that and that alone is why medical care and a host of other social issues exist as serious problems because there is less money available to pay the bills. Cutbacks have occurred and those cutbacks have been to satisfy the public's demand to pay less taxes.

Now people you will notice that our taxes are pretty damn high and you wonder why when Medicare was introduced in the early 60s we in Saskatchewan paid for it without money from Ottawa. What has changed? It is not the amount of taxes collected from us as individuals because we are paying way more. No, decades ago we shared the burden of taxes between individuals and corporate earnings. Business used to pay taxes, about 40% of all government revenue came from buisness now it is as little as 10% and when you consider the overly generous government handouts to business, the bottom line is that the business/corporate world pays virtually no taxes at all.

The problem with reduced government services and shortage of revenue for the needs of the country is so simple. The burden of paying for everything has shifted from a shared position between corporations and individuals to just the individual citizen. To make this situation even more shocking, most of the taxes paid are paid by the lowest income brackets, rich folks rarely pay taxes, they can afford all sorts of means to hide their income or defer it and thus avoid their share.

First define the problem, then you can go about solving the problem. All we need to have a healthy social and economic country is for business and individuals to pay the same amount of taxes. Most of us pay about 35% of our gross income to taxes, just imaging what that would mean to the governments, provincial and federal if the Royal Bank, Imperial Oil, Wallmart and Macdonalds paid taxes like the rest of us. Their dividends would decline a bit and maybe their presidents would have to get by on a few hundred thousand a year instead of a few million a year, but in the end everyone, everyone including those presidents, would be better off.