Restoring Our Social Democratic Past
Warning! This is a thought experiment and not a serious political program. Imagine returning to the conditions and living standard we had in the 1970's. What would have to be re-established? Or, looking at the question another way, what have we lost and what needs restoring?
Back then young workers could look forward to a life-long, well-paying, union job in manufacturing or resource industries. Thanks to corporate mercantilism, oops, I mean Free Trade and NAFTA, hundreds of thousands of these jobs disappeared never to return.
Most consumer items were produced in Canada and were of relatively high quality. Today they are crap and imported from China.
Thousands of decent jobs have also been sub-contracted out or corporatized, if of the government sector. These are now low wage and often "on contract" (not stable employment) Hundreds of millions in tax payer dollars now goes to foreign multi-nationals rather than staying in the community and being thus recycled within it.
The resulting lower wages means lower tax intake, which means higher taxation for all workers.
A multitude of hospitals, schools and post offices, built at public expense, have been closed, resulting in the destruction of community and job loss.
Hundreds of billions of dollars of public facilities and property, built at public expense, have been handed over to corporations, often foreign, which means a net drain of wealth out of the country.
Massive cuts to government services, leading to poorer service or fees where none exited before.
Replacement of income and corporate tax by a regressive tax on goods.
Cuts to welfare payments and a severe reduction in UI coverage, leading to a rapid increase in poverty.
Deregulation of airlines leading to bad service, lower working conditions and pay.
Curtailing of government-sponsored affordable housing and coop housing. Pushed housing costs out of range for most Canadians and led to homelessness.
The loss of a multitude of Canadian companies. Bought up by US interests and many cannibalized. More unemployment, more wealth literally "heading south."
Huge factory farms which are terrible polluters and use huge quantities of anti-biotics have destroyed the family farm and the relatively healthy products it used to produce.
In order to restore all that was taken away from us we would have to:
Scrap NAFTA and free trade. Not move back to a tariff, but institute "free rider" charges.
Reinvest in manufacturing
Re-nationalize all corporatized public property.
Restore UI to 90% of the work force and welfare payments brought up to changes in the cost of living since 1980. Reparations payments to all victims of these cuts.
Insititute a massive program of low-cost housing and coops.
Re-establish public employment for all corporatized former government employees. Abolish sub contracting. Reparations for everyone who suffered financially from these programs.
Restore funding of all public institutions to previous levels.
Make off-shoring illegal and confiscate any wealth that has been placed in off-shore accounts. Raise corporate and upper-end income tax to 1970 levels. Abolish GST and replace with a tax on luxuries.
Nationalize and re-regulate air lines.
Ban factory "farming" and severely restrict the use of anti-biotics. Ban caging of chickens and other cruel treatment of farm animals. Give financial encouragement to the restoration of true farming.
Just to restore life the way it was, would require truly massive changes. In fact, it is hard to believe any present government or party having the cojones to even suggest a partial restoration. Let's face it, restoration would require a revolution. This is one of the reasons all these cut-backs, deregulations, corporatizations etc., were proposed in the first place. This way they could destroy "socialism" by which these fanatics really meant social democracy, forever. They would destroy so many of the gains of the previous two generations that it would take a revolution to restore them. The idea being, that people would not want a revolution. This is how they planned to box us in, creating what their guru Thatcher called a TINA situation (There Is No Alternative, as totalitarian a slogan as one could ever have.)
The only thing is, this petard might blow up in their face. If it takes a revolution to restore social democracy, people might well say, "Why go half way. Why not eliminate the corporatist system entirely, so it can never threaten us again?"