Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stuff That is Never Said in the Mass Media

About Your Town

Megaprojects like conference centres, and sports complexes never succeed in revitalizing the down town core of a city.

The reason why the down town core deteriorated was suburban malls/suburban sprawl and sprawl is one of the chief reasons for increased taxation. (1)

We, the tax payer, have paid to destroy the down town core with our taxes, and now we must pay once more to revitalize it.

The destructive nature of malls/sprawl was well known 35 years ago, yet uncontrolled suburban growth went ahead anyway, because it was profitable to the developers, if not to the tax payer.

An alternate form of development, providing everyone a house and yard, yet taking up half the space of the conventional suburb, placing schools and shops within walking distance and preserving a farm green belt has been around for more than one hundred years. Yet highly expensive and environmentally harmful suburban sprawl was chosen instead. (2 )

About Your Home

Not one of the houses built years ago are up to code. Yet they have been here a hundred years, are in high demand when they sell, and will be here a hundred years from now if kept up. Could you say the same about the built-to-code chipboard and vinyl boxes built today?

While by laws and building codes have done a fine job of saving us from new 1910 style Craftsman bungalows, they sure did nothing to save us from leaky condos. What is the point of having regulations that don't protect you from real problems?

We are not living in Belgium or Holland, yet in spite of having a small population and huge land mass, building lots are expensive. Why?

Fifty years ago the average cost of a Canadian house was little more than twice the family income. Today it is seven times. Why, and who really benefits from this enormous disparity? (3)

About Government Debt

There isn't enough money to fund Old Age Security, but there is enough to spend untold billions on US-built war planes that we don't need.

We spent 44% of our GDP on WW2, had a post-war debt of enormous magnitude and at the same time financed the immense growth of the 1950 and '60s, yet today government debt is seen as a major problem.

With the 1960s economy we were able to fund unemployment insurance, universities, medical care and a host of other benefits for the people. Yet, here we are with an economy at least three times the size and we are told we must make cut-backs to those same services.

About Your Car

The speed limit is 100 kmh, yet most cars can do twice that. Why?

Excess speed is one of the greatest causes of auto fatalities. All the TV ads glorify speed and nothing is done about this.

The highest rate of accidents and fatalities are with young (age 16-19) drivers. Governments so eager to ban everything from peanuts to pot, never consider raising the driving age and saving hundreds of lives. Why?

Passenger vehicles eliminated bumpers about 20 years ago. A parking lot ding that meant nothing now will cost you hundreds of dollars. Manufacturers make money on parts, so screw you!

Petroleum is a finite resource and with India and China developing, the price will inevitably rise, yet no mainstream politician will raise the issue of developing programs to go beyond a petroleum-based economy.

About Laws and Regulations

To understand a situation one must "follow the money". What does that say about politicians who insist on treating drug addiction as a crime and fight decriminalization tooth and nail?

Why do courts freely grant injunctions against trade unions and environmentalists, but never against the corporations that are the root cause of strikes and protests?

How is it that the municipality will tell a homeowner or small businessperson in infinite detail what they can do with their property, yet we have to resort to civil disobedience to prevent a forest being clear-cut?

Most conflict comes from powerful minority interests pushing their agendas upon us. Conflict could be greatly reduced by adopting a more consensual approach - one that included all those effected by a policy or development, not just those who would gain financially or politically.

About The Economy

Every politician talks of the need to support small business, and the government spends millions on futile programs, yet the key issues, the high cost of commercial rents and intrusive regulations , are never mentioned.

Multi-national corporations drain wealth out of the community as the profits go to investors who live elsewhere. Locally-owned business strengthens the local economy through the multiplier effect. Therefore a strong economy must be locally based, yet all efforts are aimed at attracting multinationals instead.

A resource-based economy is unstable with its highly destructive, boom-bust cycle. An economy using resources for production of goods for local consumption, would be more stable and therefore less devastating for its workers and small business people.

The short-term view is always seen as irresponsible, yet this is precisely what our business people and politicians do – a world view no longer than the annual shareholders report or the next election. Many problems and much conflict could be avoided by taking the long term view of policies and economic development.

Privatization and out-sourcing do little to save tax payer money, since profits are usually guaranteed by the government. It is merely a way of shifting money from the public work force to the corporations, in other words, a form of corporate welfare that drains money out of the community. (4)

Canada Post sold its post offices, most of which had been owned outright and paid for generations ago. Now they rent offices from private companies. Money that could go to cheaper postage or better services is being channeled to private business – a form of legal racket with YOUR money.

About Social Problems

It is a well known fact that an increase in unemployment means an increase in the death rate. So why aren't politicians who deliberately create mass unemployment charged with premeditated murder?

Why is it that 40 years ago there were almost no homeless, yet with an economy three times larger, thousands of them are in the streets of our cities?

Notes

1. Cost of building and maintaining infrastructure

2. The Garden City or English "New Town" movement.

3. Figures from the Canada Year Book, 1962, 2009

4. Suppose subcontracting reduced 100 hospital cleaners wages by $5.00 an hour. That would be a total of $1,785,000 that would go to corporate headquarters and not to the employees who would have spent that money on goods and services in their community.

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