Further to my quest for politicians to set aside their personal agenda’s to simply do things that get them re-elected, and actually do things that will enhance our economic future. I hear Kitchener Councillor Barry Verbanovic, who is also the President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, this morning talk about the annual roundup of local politicians who “occupy” Parliament Hill and meet with MP’s, Ministers and political staffers to push their agenda’s at the Federal Level. They will be asking for more investment in public transportation and public housing just to name a couple. What FCM wants is more of the Federal pie, transferred to local municipalities, to spend. Now, I like Barry a lot, I’ve known him for over 20 years, he’s a hard-working representative of his community, he is an engaged leader in our country and he really is an all-round good guy. He is elected by the people of his Ward in Kitchener, the same is true of his counterparts from across Canada who have converged on Parliament Hill. The job of an elected official is to be the “people’s” representative to ensure that the Government Administration is effectively and efficiently utilizing the money “we” give them. I know, you’re thinking exactly what I am, the performance appraisal’s of all elected official’s wouldn’t be that great, as it seems, none of them are doing what we elected them to do, or maybe they are, it’s just that our wants have become our needs that have outpaced our ability to pay.
The Chamber runs North America’s #1 financial literacy program, Funny Money. Developed by International acclaimed Canadian Comedian James Cunningham. We’ve delivered James’ message to over 400,000 high school students in Canada, now he is embarking on taking it international because Funny Money was awarded the Worlds Best Unconventional Chamber Project this past year. The message is clear, the same one you use at home. Budget your money, understand where it comes from and where it has to go, manage your debt responsibly so your debt doesn’t manage you and make sure you always, always, always put some away for the future. We all know wise financial management is important, we know that because we simply can’t go to our employer and tell them to give us more because we’re short a few bucks. It seems funny that the Government is now pushing the need to educate our kids on strong financial literacy skills, when they are, simply said, the worst example there is. What gives them an edge over you and I is, they can go to their employers (us) and not just ask for more, they take it. Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?
You see, taxes have been steadily rising at a rate of more than twice as fast as incomes. In the past 50 years, household incomes have risen about 700% and over that same period taxes have risen over 1600%. If you put those two lines on a graph, at some point in the not too distant future the requirement of tax would be equal to our income. Obviously its hard to believe that will ever happen, but folks, over the last 50 years, that’s been the trend, based on facts not assumptions. Today Canadian families spent more on Taxes each year than on the necessities of life, about 35% on necessities, and well, we know Tax freedom day is sometime in late June or July, nearly half our income goes to ?????, all the things politicians want to get them re-elected. It’s not on their incomes, or the controversial holidays, or odd helicopter pickups, or dinners out or even the rides in a limo, these folks, are peanuts compared to the decisions they make everyday that would curl your hair (if it’s not already). Every ounce of wealth, at whatever level that may be, is generated by business activity. Governments print the paper version of money, business puts the value in it. So with that being said, if business can’t put the value in our currency how can we possibly hope to reverse the tide of having our tax requirement out pace our income requirement.
It’s as obvious as the noses on our faces that BIG BOLD leadership is required, it’s as plain as day that we need out of the box action and the only ones that seem to understand that are the ones not sitting in the legislatures of our communities, province or country, it is us, the average everyday folks. The one thing everyone knows, even those with their heads buried in the sand is, bold leadership will happen, because it has to. Politicians will have to make the difficult decisions, they’ll be forced to listen and act accordingly, look at Europe, they’ll be dragged kicking and screaming, but they have to make those choices, they’re in survival mode right now. We are not there yet, but if we don’t have that big bold idea leadership now, we’ll get there sooner rather than later. The Chamber will continue to press for Big Bold New Idea Leadership and encouraging those who want to make us a stronger, more vibrant and prosperous community, that and only that is what is good for our communities social fabric. Lemme hear ya, who’s up for Big Bold New Idea Leadership?