The rich and the poor
The Toronto Star carried a report on income disparity in Canada. Amazingly, there are people who still find it surprising that some people make more money than others. They get in a tizzy about it.
The problem is that they usually direct their gaze towards the rich in an ugly fit of jealousy, rather than taking the time to wonder whether there are things that could be done to improve the lot of the poor without worrying about how the others live.
Here are some examples.
The rich don't need to worry too much about the price of basics when they are grocery shopping. But the poor do, and they pay through the nose for dairy products such as milk, eggs and butter, due to supply management, which is a scheme to protect farmers from the realities of the marketplace, to the detriment of the consumer.
13% is a very high consumption tax in general, compared to most N American constituencies, but it is a lot to ask a poor person to add to the cost of the things they need to get by in life.
If a poor person can drive over the border to shop in the USA, they will save, but that brings up a couple more problems.
If a poor person has a car, they are gouged by the government at the gas pump, which is why they pay so much more for gasoline than our neighbors to the South. It is taxes that make the difference, primarily.
We are also hosed on insurance in this province, which again is a burden to low income people.
The fraud, waste and abuse we have experienced in Ontario through eHealth, ORNGE, gas plants and now paying teachers more money than the contract actually called for, will fall to others than the poor to pay. The poor do not pay the majority of the taxes, other than the consumption tax mentioned above.
But that waste slows the economy and kills productivity, which makes it less likely that companies will expand, offering employment and growth opportunities for the poor.
You want to help the poor? Let's fix the economy and stop rewarding bad government with re-election.
If all we do is attack the rich, there will be no opportunity to get richer, and that is the best cure for poverty there is.