Paying for Public Services

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thanks
Paying for Public Services

So my mom is reading Hugh Mackenzie's article on taxes in the recent CCPA Monitor.  She agrees with his critique that conservatives and liberals and others have de-linked the discussion about taxes from the contribution taxes make to covering public services.

Fine.

I'm also glad he put out the number of 50 billion of lost revenue per year from cut taxes since '95 according to the OECD.

However:

1) It is unfair to minimize the regressive nature of sales taxes specifically, or to cowtow to corporate thugs who use their wealth to buy media rants against corporate taxes.

2) It is inaccurate to imply that public services benefits enjoyed in the sixties were due exclusively to tax revenue.

On the second point,

The Formation of The Bank of Canada

Until the BoC opened in 1935, The Treasury Board, which administered the Finance Act of 1923, had no responsibility to see that advances made to the banks answered the needs of the economy. The unsatisfactory nature of that arrangement was revealed during the Great Depression. In 1934 Parliament passed the Bank of Canada Act, and the bank itself was founded a year later. Since 1938 the bank has been owned entirely by a single shareholder- the federal government (i.e., Canadian taxpayers).

The Use of The Bank of Canada, 1938 - 1974

The 'nationalization' of 1938 perfected the mechanism that allows the central bank to create money to finance federal projects on a near interest-free basis. It may make loans to the Govt. of Canada or any province (BoC Act Article 18 (c), (i) (j) or guaranteed by Canada or any province (c). This is explained fully in our "Article 18" link (see left).

Initially, the bank fullfilled its mandate. It was of great assistance in getting Canada out of the Great Depression, financing the war, and building infrastructure and social systems in Canada into the 1970s. But then things began to change.  [www.comer.org Bank of Canada Tutorial ]

*

The CCPA Monitor has also carried Armine Yalnizian's speech on the Regina Manifesto which included a call to renewed use of the Bank of Canada, using measures of National Wealth as collateral.  http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/regina-manifesto-s...

*Further, the CCPA has included a tidy summary by one COMER member on some of the political dynamics within NGO and party circles around conflicting foci on taxes or use of the Bank of Canada:

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/borrowing-trouble

_

Why can't we advocate for use of fair taxation and the Bank of Canada in paying for public services and infrastructure?

It is correct to critique Harper's reduction in transfer payments to the provinces and to call instead for an increase in transfer payments of several percentage points of GDP, but these transfer payments can come from different sources. 

Provincial politicians should not be cutting food subsidies for the poor, nor increasing sales taxes that disproportionally hurt the poor, nor privatizing and cutting critical public services. 

Politicians and pundits should be calling for increased transfers from the federal government, use of the Bank of Canada to fund provincial and municipal services- recycling public money back to the public, public audits of the private corporations and bankers who make untold wealth in derivatives markets, and a proportional tax system which doesn't let the richest go scot-free.

 

thanks

"Liberal and Conservative governments had increased the federal debt over 3,000% ($18 billion to $588 billion) between 1974 and 1997, during which time the government did not use the Bank to carry public debt as it had prior to 1974, and that we were paying over $63 billion a year on interest as a result."

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/borrowing-trouble

I wonder how much we'd save now if we used the Bank of Canada to carry public debt.

G. Muffin

I have some thoughts on public services and taxation.

thanks

so you want someone to ask you what those thoughts are?

George Victor

I'll bite!  : )    (Love your accounting for the period, thanks.  See Chicago School entry along with Ronnie Raygun for explanation.  We need to know WHY these things happen...connecting with the point in history).

G. Muffin

What was the question, you "guys"?

George Victor

 

Thanks, I've got a request in to my favourite library for Raj Patel's The Value of Nothing:Why Everything Costs So Much More Than We Thnk.  I may not wait for the book to come round but I don't really want to part with $26.99 with the municipal TAX bill coming up March 1. ( I'm all ears for your thoughts on taxation, GM) . But It's one I want on the shelf at home, finally.

Patel, too, sees it all coming apart in the early 70s, the "mortgaging of our future", but as Gordon Laird says in a review in the Globe this weekend (they had to break down and review it, finally): "...his real contribution is something bigger than another attack on neo-liberalism and the Chicago School of Economics. This is someone who has done field work around the world, listened prolifically to non-experts, and come away with a political modality that isn't just ideology, but speaks to human flourishing itself. 'The opposite of consumption isn't thrift,' says Patel. 'It's generosity'. "  That book I will want for a reference.

I suspect that Patel the economist would not lean toward even more central bank funding of services and infrastructure than it is committed to now, but I can't wait to find out how he would use the banking system (which was set up by a panicking Conservative government, along with a public radio network and airline in the depth of Depression .  Jeez, wonder if we can panick Steve into somethin' similar?  :)

 

thanks

Panic is unhelpful.

Generosity is use of limited public funds for maximum good. 

That means proper use of the Bank of Canada, and limitations on the destructive behaviour of private bankers, financiers and insurers.

George Victor

thanks:

"Generosity is use of limited public funds for maximum good. "

 

I'm hoping that Patel explains how it will require fuller use of nigh-unlimited private funds for public good, everywhere. But, of course, you are right about the Bank of Canada. When it uses the CMHC last year to buy up $65billion of mortgages held by the banks to give them liquidity for the explosive takeup of mortgages at fireslae riates today, of course, it was still a game of "there's no tomorrow", eh?

G. Muffin

thanks wrote:

Panic is unhelpful.

Generosity is use of limited public funds for maximum good. 

That means proper use of the Bank of Canada, and limitations on the destructive behaviour of private bankers, financiers and insurers.

Thanks, thanks.

Panic kills.

Maximum good is the utilitarians' answer to everything.

G. Muffin

I took an overdose in the Emergency Department and was sent home for "being silly."  So I spent the rest of the morning jumping in front of traffic at Richmond & Fort.  It was just a bunch of Seroquel but it still wasn't good for me.  When I actually attempt suicide, people make no mistake about it.  I might just as well have put a gun to my head.

G. Muffin

The Acute Home Treatment Program is awesome but they're only available 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Most disasters strike in the middle of the night. That leaves 911 or a chair and an extension cord.  

So far, it's been 911 but that could change at any time so don't push your luck, Herr Campbell. Enjoy your little party. Some of us work for a living and we won't be able to catch The Games Live.

G. Muffin

Starson v. Swayze - The SCC agrees with me.  

Mullins v. Levy - So does the BCSC.

But Gordon Campbell knows better. "Deinstitutionalization was never implemented. Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal Party is a failed experiment." (Francesca Allan, February 2010)

G. Muffin

"If they fired all the professionals, the people 'paid to care,' there'd be a run on the Archie Courtnall Centre.  Same with Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam."

G. Muffin

Want to get the homeless off the streets of Victoria?

Hey, homeless bums! You can get free drugs @ The Archie Courtnall Centre. Plus 3 hots & a flop. Plus free hot water, leccy, phone & internet access.

Just call 911 & threaten suicide. Your ride will be along shortly. Watch those handcuffs. If one's too tight and one's too loose, you've got a weapon. Try not to scare the police.

And try not to get Tazed. Keep your hands out of your pockets and move predictably & slowly.

G. Muffin

We could start by dismantling the Vancouver Island Health Authority. VIHA makes all your nightmares come true.

15 times I've been turned down for psychiatric help, despite the fact that I'm a 2X suicide survivor (meaning I survived my own very nearly fatal attempts, not that I lost someone to suicide).  

And don't even fucking get me started on Archie Courtnall and smoking regulations.  Morans.

G. Muffin

I'm in Vic but I appreciate your post, thanks.

thanks

i'm hearing you prefer care over being left in the street.

thanks

not an accurate comparison at all. 

and i'm tired of people making issues into an affront against Jews, through association or rhetoric.

it's also unfair to equate discrimination against people with disabilities to discrimination based on race. 

the practice is entirely unfair to clear analysis of the dynamics of systematic defunding of public services, which BY THE WAY is what this thread is about, and how to pay for them.

 

 

G. Muffin

It's an affront against Nazis, thanks.

G. Muffin

Gordon Campbell is going to kill me.

Support gun control.

G. Muffin

thanks wrote:
it's also unfair to equate discrimination against people with disabilities to discrimination based on race. 

We're both protected classes so what the hell is the difference? Why is it "unfair" to point out that the Gay Pride movement won their Revolution? They're queer, they're here, get bored with it (Bill Maher).

Long before the Final Solution, schizophrenics were singled out and crucified. Yet the rate of mental illness in Germany is congruent with ours. What does that say about the genetic theory of schizophrenia?

thanks

G. Muffin your comments twist meaning and are offensive.

G. Muffin

I don't mean them to be, thanks. I really don't. I just don't have time any more to prettify my speech. Clock's ticking, you know?

G. Muffin

Well, you've got quite a set of ears on you.

The Eric Martin Pavilion is being "phased out." In February 2011, there'll be 57 psych beds in this town of 325,000. You might as well send the cattle cars. I know I'll have my yellow star ready.

ETA: About to be deleted.

jas

I do hope you're writing all this down somewhere other than here, G Muff. You obviously have a lot of insights about mental health care and often a very amusing and colourful way to say it. Often it doesn't relate to the threads you're posting in, though. I would hate to think you are losing some of these gems in various unrelated Babble threads where you may not be able to find them in the future.

If you want people to hear you, start writing for publication. Keep it all together.

Sorry for the drift, thanks.

 

thanks

G. Muffin, I am very sorry to hear that you aren't getting good care in Vancouver.  There is definitely a need for more public dollars for good multi-faceted supports for people with mental health issues.  I believe there are professional obligations as well for caregivers to help those who may do harm to themselves or others, if not legal obligations.  The Canada Health Act also calls for universality of public health care.  That includes people suffering from mental health issues.  Health Authorities in Vancouver and across Canada are obligated to uphold the Canada Health Act and universality.  The federal government is similarly obligated. 

The provinces should be demanding reinstated transfer funds for public health care from the federal government.

But the provinces should NOT be signing any WTO deals on sub-federal procurement, as i heard recently via www.canadians.org .

Then, in the context of NAFTA and proposed EU and other deals, our public dollars would just be heading to private, unaudited pockets.

___

Regarding generous use of public funds, that generosity is best reflected in measures of suffering people helped, of decreases in rates of suicide, illness, and poverty, of decreases in greenhouse gases, increases in members of previously-endangered species, increases in preserved wilderness areas, increases in measures of ecological and human health.

Use of public funds is 'maximized' when definitions are shifted from consumptive measures like GDP to measures of national wealth defined in ecological and human terms.

Use of public funds is maximized when policy and vision take account, not in dollars, but in counts of natural processes which have their own order and respective boundaries.

Nature has limits. 

Generosity acknowledges and respects Nature's limits and holds any dollarized transactions to account within those limits.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I agree jas, G. Muffin is brilliant, if not tenacious.  I also think thanks and you are correct in pointing out the troubles.  Hopefully, there will be some congruence.

G. Muffin

When I am unwell, my posting gets erratic.  Sometimes, Oldgoat or somebody comes along and mercifully shuts me down for a few days. Other times, I get away with my crap for too long. That's what happened here. Sorry, everyone.

Tommy_Paine

Don't be.   It's okay.

thanks

- items are 'kept together' via the name index.

- what's babble if not a publication?  rabble promotional material often highlights babble. it's read.

- back to the subject, our Conservative MP is in the habit of sending out these slippery flyers, like the one in the mail this week:

"Following through on our commitment to restore fiscal balance to the provinces and territories to ensure they have the ability to provide health care, education and other essential services that are important to Canadian families...Defending consumers against unfair financial practices by introducing a new Code of Conduct for the Canadian Credit and Debit Card Industry."

another flyer sent to other constituents said, "Providing record-high support ($54 billion) to provinces and territories for 2010-2011. Since we took office, support payments to the provinces for vital health, education and social services have increased by 30 percent ($12.7 billion)."

I don't have numbers to counter his statements regarding 'support', but seeing as past governments, including Conservative governments federally and provincially have cut mercilessly, i doubt their 'support' even comes close to meeting equivalent service levels in the '80's, let alone comparative levels of support in earlier decades.

And how much of Conservative 'support' is going to be tied to public-private partnerships and directed to their crony banking and insurance profiteers? 

Harper announced he signed a deal with the US last week, forcing our provinces and municipalities to procure critical infrastructure/services from foreign suppliers.  So all that Conservative 'support' is going to go south.  And east if Harper gets his way and we sign an EU deal too.

As for the 'Code of Conduct' for the Credit and Debit Card Industry, i hope it doesn't give them more self-regulating room to trick household debtors, by, say, 'forcing' industry players to follow counter-productive rules in trade deals as determined by the G20.

Besides, the financial fog extends far beyond the household credit house of cards.  Conservatives in Harper's camp don't have what it takes to clear up the larger mess.

Finally, 'restoring fiscal balance to the provinces and territories' means they're going to cut some more, directly or indirectly.  It's wrong.  First government needs to publicly audit the financiers it already gave 200 billion to, via the Bank of Canada.  Then it needs to publicly audit the other corporations it has subsidized over its tenure, and tell us where all that money has gone, exactly.

Then Harper and Flaherty can tell us where all future handouts to private corporations and their bankers will end up, exactly.

Talk of 'fiscal balance' is complete hypocrisy when Harperites don't keep track of where our money goes once its handed out.

E.P.Houle

Speaking out of thin air I would guess that' thanks' exspouses Ayn  Rand. If there ever was someone to lead the rich to megalomania with a clean conscience, it was her. It was her job description.

E.P.Houle

I live on disability. I wasted my lungs making a public museum. In my years on disability I helped my ex-wife raise three through g12 as I was the only one to love education or had the time. Now it seems we have wars on every front and the economic one is very important. The theft of the public purse and the shackles of debt loom large. There was an ambiguity in your first statement that makes me think I may have miss judged you. You do recognize the unfairness of a flat tax(sales) when expences to propaganda are tax free.My apology, please.

thanks

I returned to this thread to say that I'm thinking all parties should let bygones be bygones.  This reflection was based on some finger pointing I did this morning, then realized that no major political parties in Canada have been completely clear on the FTA, NAFTA, or other deals since square one.  All have made bad decisions at different times, granted some more than others.

In the present though, we all need to oppose the immediate spectre of US-banker run healthcare, education, daycare, water, energy, construction, and all the other provincial and municipal infrastructure services under Harper's prorogue procurement plan.

Letting US finance, with its sorry recent history, invest in and garner WTO rights to our domestic core public infrastructure and services at the local and regional levels will not only drain our coffers but will take away any of our residual economic and ecological control.

I hope there is strong uprising against this latest and most outrageous move by Harper, and any provinces that are thinking of signing on.  We simply won't have any public services left.

From the DFAIT site: "The agreement includes permanent and reciprocal commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) with respect to provincial, territorial and state procurement."

http://www.international.gc.ca/commerce/buyamerican-2010.aspx

This can include procurement of financing, insurance, management as well as construction and other services, as we have had some (disastrous) experience with in a few experimental public-private 'partnerships' to date.  CUPE's website has a link to more info on those horrors.

Harper is trying to ram this through on a permanent basis !!!  While he's shut down parliament !!!

US finance will also be able to acquire rights under current terms in Ontario's 'green energy' contracts, including rights to environmental attributes defined as 'the nature of a source' in the Feed-In Tariff program.

Comments at http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/irtn/2009/09/new-ontario-energy-feed... .

 

George Victor

And have you noticed, thanks, Canada's banks are now asking the feds to put more controls on mortgage purchasing, requiring a 10 per cent down payment and a limit of 30 years?   OUr finance industry is afraid of a U.S. mortgage balloon...while Steve and Flaherty  the mad Irishman can only think in terms of votes. Surprised,I'm not. Mustn't interfere with the holy of holies, our market, eh?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Strangely I find a interlocking theme to the posts in this thread.  VIHA and the other health authorities have been designed on the HMO model and are ready for "management" contracts  with America's health care vultures.  This new deal will have significant repercussions in the BC health care system as procurement of services basically means everything and everything. The Health Authorities have already entered into management contracts for things like managing their warehouses.  BC will sign on immediately and the Howe street cabal will start making a fortune on drafting and brokering the deals with US hedge fund vultures.

 

I enjoyed Hugh Mackenzie's article since he articulated a view of the NDP's anti-tax stands that is similar to my own.  And he is an excellent writer.

thanks

thanks for comments, it's helpful for me to hear that others are concerned. i have to think more about ramifications.

while i'm here  though, might as well type up some of the questions i had the other day:

Why do many progressives avoid discussion of debt and use of the Bank of Canada? I understand that debt is a construct, dependent equally on inputs as outputs, and that one part of the equation can be changed as much as the other.  Is it that progressives think its easier to convince people to support taxes and jobs than fully public finance? Or that they just don't want their political representatives to get assassinated as some US presidents were over the latter?  Or what?

Some clarity would really help.

George Victor

I had the opportunity to speak with the late Joan Robinson, a British economist highly valued by the late John Kenneth Galbraith (note all the "lates").  Ms Robinson knew that unless we could retain control of our exchange rates (for reasons of sovereignty) the wonderful social welfare construction of the postwar advanced world was going to suffer. This was just when the Chicago School was coming to the fore. I'm afraid we let slide her warnings - Canada had been among the first to float its dollar - and our central bank long ago gave up attempts to modiry the exchange rate, seriously (last year's "warnings" were pure bluff.

Why do progressives avoid discussion of debt and use of the Bank of Canada?  I think because the central bank, which allowed us to carry far more debt in the last war (per capita/per gdp) is not seen as a means toward an end, but only a capitalist institution? I personally think that we have to think of mobilizing to fight environmental catastrophe, just as though we were going to war, our financial institutions and our lifestyles on the line.

thanks

- Harper's bunch is just waiting for Obama to put mortgage limits on first. and if CMHC is guaranteeing all the banker mortgage loans anyway, why not have it or the federal treasury collect the interest too?

- the whole mess of setting prices for money- exchange rates can be done by us, not a few privacy-protected bankers.

- no clarity yet on the assassination question

- just calling something 'a capitalist institution' is silly- more useful is to know how it works and can it be made democratic.

- i don't like war language for environment, some have used it with good intention, but already that's being misused as energy is considered a security issue.

- regarding Harper's procurement pact, I hope people are demanding to know specifically what Harper thinks the provinces are willing to hand over to the US.  Scott Sinclair wrote last fall on the negotiations (www.policyalternatives.ca - publications) that some in the US were pushing to have health care and university education up for takeover by private US corporations/ investors.  Water, sewage, and electricity were possibly 'on the table'.  Are we going to get written documents from Harper or more detained info?  Media are saying Harper wants it all sewn up by Feb. 15.

Honestly it's like a living nightmare with this prime minister.

E.P.Houle

Myself, I dislike Harper but I see Iggy as a larger threat to people organizing. It's the 'merican model, two crappy choices.

G. Muffin

E.P.Houle wrote:
Speaking out of thin air I would guess that' thanks' exspouses Ayn  Rand. If there ever was someone to lead the rich to megalomania with a clean conscience, it was her. It was her job description.

Really? I thought she was a deadbeat philosopher.

G. Muffin

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Strangely I find a interlocking theme to the posts in this thread.  VIHA and the other health authorities have been designed on the HMO model and are ready for "management" contracts  with America's health care vultures.  

What happened to me couldn't have happened in the USA. VIHA should be put out to pasture. We don't need anybody in between the public and the Ministry of Health.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

G. Muffin wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Strangely I find a interlocking theme to the posts in this thread.  VIHA and the other health authorities have been designed on the HMO model and are ready for "management" contracts  with America's health care vultures.  

What happened to me couldn't have happened in the USA. VIHA should be put out to pasture. We don't need anybody in between the public and the Ministry of Health.

 

In the US you would be uninsurable so you are right nothing would happen in their system.

I agree that the Health Authorities are another bad idea first implemented by the Clark government and then worsened by the BC Liberals. 

G. Muffin

That's why I tried to emigrate in 1994. But they didn't want me. Guess I don't have "the right stuff."

My mother was born in Montana but left there @ 7 years of age.

My father was born in Munich.

They were British subjects. Now they're Canadian citizens.

I wish I had been born in Kenya. (j/k)

G. Muffin

I wish I had been born in Hawaii. And was 1/2 Black. And politically inclined. And been born male. And could write like B. Hussein Obama does.

thanks

"Canada and the United States hope to conclude this process by February 16."

-from the DFAIT press release feb.5

Today is Friday.  Feb. 16 is Tuesday. 

Monday in Ontario is a civic holiday.

This cannot be concluded by Tues. obviously.

Harperites haven't even given details of the deal, as they said they were going to this week.

the week's over.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
B. Hussein Obama does

 

Uh, is he going by his middle name now?

 

Because the only people I've ever seen take pains to emphasize his middle name are right wing nutjobs who hope their friends will hear the dog whistle of "He might be a MUSLIM!!"

 

For everyone else, his name is actually "Barack".

George Victor

And you are SO sensitive to others' situations, Snert. So unlike those on the right.

Snert Snert's picture

Did you really click on "Post comment" for a feeble little swipe like that?  Is Sven not around?

George Victor

I'm talking about your effect on others in this thread, Snert. I'm not lying in ambush for either you or Sven.  :D

Snert Snert's picture

I think I know what you're getting at, and I'm not unsympathetic.  But c'mon... Hussein Obama?  Isn't that what Glenn Beck calls him?

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