Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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I’ll PASS ON THE KOOL-AID
With it being Home & Garden this weekend, my mind has been preoccupied with the challenges of small businesses. That, combined with an impending election, one can’t help but wonder what, not only the political landscape might look like in a couple of weeks, but also what the business landscape might look like as it will no doubt be affected.
The one thing I can’t get over is how politics has taken on an almost cult-like mentality. I hate to sound older than I admit to being, but I remember a time when we voted for whom best could represent our interests and not for what party they belonged to. I’m hearing a lot of folks out there who are voting ‘xyz’ party. When I ask them who their candidate is for ‘xyz’ party, they don’t know. Hmmm… then how do you know they can serve you appropriately? How do you know they have the proper skill set to do what needs to be done? If you’ve never heard of them before, then they probably didn’t contribute a whole lot to your community before running for office. So what makes you think they’ll contribute once elected?
The other thing I notice is politicians throwing one group under the bus to gain popularity with a larger group. I had an opportunity to verbally spar with a young campaign worker just the other day. She said her party would build more schools, add hospital beds, and ensure all lack of infrastructure was brought up to par, and they intended to do this without raising personal income taxes.
“Where are you going to get the billions of dollars to pay for all of that?” I asked.
“We’ll raise corporate income tax,” she quipped. “Those big corporations can pay for it all.”
I asked her what they would do with the resulting high unemployment caused by the increase in corporate taxes.
“The work still needs to get done,” she answered. “There won’t be mass layoffs.”
First of all, I want to commend that young lady for at least getting involved. And to be fair, at least she told me how they intend to pay for it, unlike many of the others who are promising the moon while supposedly not raising any taxes, or cutting public service, or worse yet, not even telling us what they’ll do because they want us to vote brand instead of candidate. But this is a perfect example of how young political volunteers, and many others, are drinking the “Kool-Aid” of political parties. Instead of telling us why their candidate is the best person to serve us in our community, they swallow the ideas without knowing the actual realism of the plans.
Now my rebuttal: it’s not this young lady’s fault that she thinks raising corporate taxes will pay for everything. Her party didn’t tell her that the larger national and international companies can just move assets to a friendlier tax environment to avoid paying them here. Her party didn’t tell her that over 90% of corporations in this province are small businesses. It’s the little hair salon, or the guy operating the convenience store. It’s the little franchise restaurant owner that has risked his or her life’s savings to go into business for themselves. Most aren’t rich. Most work long hours. Most can tell you of occasions when they didn’t take a paycheck themselves so as to ensure they could pay their staff. Her party didn’t tell her that these small business owners account for almost 90% of the jobs in this province. And, although they probably think of their staff like family, if you add forty or fifty thousand dollars a year in taxes to their little business, they’ll have to lay someone off to recoup that money. Maybe we don’t see one company laying-off thousands, but if you take 90% of the small businesses laying-off one employee each… I’d call that a mass layoff. And guess what? Unemployed people don’t pay ANY taxes. So everything the government would gain in corporate taxes would inevitably be lost on personal taxes not being collected by the unemployed, compounded by increased demand for government retraining programs, and unemployment services. But it sounds good, right? “Raise the taxes on those greedy rich corporations.” By throwing all the small business owners under the bus, they hope to gain all of these business owner’s employees’ votes. If you repeat it enough…. people will believe it. My folks used to call that brainwashing.
That’s just one example. Every party has spin doctors whose sole purpose is to make someone else look bad. They want you to choose their party over everyone else’s. Politics is more about team spirit than it is about realistic ideas, philosophies and hiring the best person for the job. Unfortunately, I don’t really like any of the teams right now, and I never really liked the taste of Kool-Aid either. Voter apathy and low voter turnouts tell me I’m not alone. So, how about these last ten days or so, before we go to the polls, you all tell us why YOUR candidate is the best person for the job… because most of us aren’t drinking your Kool-Aid.