Am I becoming a crooked old fart?

By Ivan Morgan

Why is it okay for you and I to do without but not for government institutions?
It’s the little things that set me off.
When I read last week Canada Post wants to raise the price of a stamp by seven cents, I got really annoyed. Why?
It’s mostly a financially independent Crown corporation. It doesn’t cost us much. I never send anything snail mail anymore. I stopped getting bills in the mail years ago. I subscribe to only one magazine which always comes weeks late (I should just switch to an e-subscription.) I use flyers to start my fires. If I need to send something I use a private carrier. Basically, it’s a service I don’t use. Why should I care if the cost of a stamp goes up?
Another service I no longer use is the CBC. It costs us all a fortune yet they also want more tax money this year. Why? Their ad revenue is down because viewership is down and therefore they want more money from you and I. Talk about not taking a hint! Once upon a time it was an important organization. Now it seems irrelevant.
Conversely, I have been paying for health care my entire life and pray I never have to use it. Now it seems less and less likely to be there for me if or when I need it, even though I am still paying for it.
We all pay taxes. Lately I think we are all noticing our taxes going up, but services declining. Just like the cost of most everything, we are being asked to pay more for the same – or less.
I see no solutions on the horizon.
Is this a lack of political imagination? A lack of will? Perhaps it’s an inability to understand reality? Or is it just plain old bad management?
Like many older folk, I am mostly retired now, and I have to deal with the reality of having less money, and therefore not being able to do as much. Why do we seniors have to accept this fact, but the same challenge is sacrilege for these institutions?
Why is CBC churning out programming nobody wants? Why does the price of a stamp have to go up? Why are food companies making record profits while people go without? Who is in charge of all this? Where are the political solutions?
You’ve read in this paper and other media outlets that some municipal governments faced with cost increases have decided to raise rates. Is that the only solution?
I live in St. John’s and my taxes went up $240 a year. For what?
Is there no one who can wrestle with this demon? Is nobody willing to step up?
I volunteer at a food bank. I see people going without all the time. I have seen elderly couples in supermarkets pass on food they can’t afford anymore. I have been in houses which are cold because the people who live there can’t afford the heat. I could go on, but you get my point.
But organizations dependent on tax dollars seem to be exempt from belt tightening in any meaningful way.
We have three layers of government all dependent on public money. Our money.
We are (and have always been) a major source of cash through our taxes, and the sole source of power through our vote. Ultimately all these problems are our fault.
I am not calling for the shutting down of the CBC, or any other government run outfit for that matter. I am saying that many have not kept pace with the people they are supposed to serve – the people who pay for them. Like many things we pay for, they are used to the money but seem incapable of changing.
Many of the rest of us haven’t had that choice.
It seems to me we have elected a generation of politicians whose only solution is to raise taxes.
We need to elect politicians who don’t just campaign on good management at election time, but who are actually good managers. Not people who slash and burn to save money, but managers who use the resources we provide to get the services we need.
We have a provincial budget coming soon. Is government going to shrug, raise taxes and say they had no choice? If they do, it is going to be up to us to look for better options.

Ivan Morgan can be reached at ivan.morgan@gmail.com

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