Thursday, 27 July 2017 05:26

Debt, drug issues major issues for federal government

Written by  Dale Ferrel
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While governments seem caught up in minor, almost meaningless issues, they appear to have little taste to deal with what really counts.

Debt, drugs, health care and our decimated armed forces are studied to death and real action kicked down the road. Fearing voters unhappiness with the cost of dealing with reality combined with getting or staying elected are compounding into frightful outcome for which we will pay dearly in the future.
Debt compounded with interest is easily accumulated and difficult to overcome. Americans are wallowing in $20 trillion of federal debt and adding on 2 $billion daily.
That’s $61,000 U.S. for every citizen, or $166,000 for every tax-payer. 56 per cent of working citizens themselves are one step from being broke and couldn’t, if needed, even find $1,000 for an emergency. Adding $3 trillion for state and local debt yields another $25,000 for each tax-payer.Add citizen’s debt, corporate debt and debt for political promises and experts claim $100 trillion on the low side and double that on the high side!
The U.S. total economy is only $18 trillion, so debt to GDP ration rings in at more than 110 per cent with that figure increasing rapidly.
Our Canadian population is about 10 per cent of America’s. Our total debt to GDP ratio in December 2016 was 1.67, ”Not” including mortgages, Canadians owe $22,000 each. An increase in interest rates could create a serious problem and a burst housing bubble. Manulife Bank believes a 10% increase would wipe out almost 3/4s. of mortgage holders. 14 per cent couldn’t tolerate any increase. 38% would go down on increases from 1 per cent to  5 per cent. 20 per cent between 6 per cent and 10 per cent. 
Many calculations are available and a direct comparison for the entire picture would require many pages of information. This article is intended to provide a thumb-nail sketch and a heads up on a nasty trend that is building quickly. The dramatic increase in Canadian government debt from $834 billion in 2007/08 to $1.3 trillion in 2015/16 also verifies my concerns.
On the drug problem, I will lead with the U.S. again. A study by JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016, revealed that nearly one in six Americans were on psychiatric drugs. 12 per cent of adults were using antidepressants, 8 per cent anti-anxiety medication, and hypnotics and 2% antipsychotics. As only 5 per cent of the world’s population they are consuming 75 per cent of the world’s prescription drugs. This does not include non-prescription drugs which are more abundant than ever. Drug marketing is out of control and manufacturers are raking in $billions! Not a good situation.
Canadians are heavily influenced by American marketing, and while we lag a bit behind them in comparison, we must do more to stem the abuse. Trudeau’s efforts to legalize marijuana and remove the criminal element while taxing it look good on the surface. The criminals will  control many of the outlets and the laws and equipment required to police it are nowhere close to workable. Another Trudeau plunge into a scheme hell bent to meet a ridiculous promise with an impossible deadline.
The possession, raising and consumption of amounts of marijuana for personal use should never be a criminal offence. That said, I believe the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are not healthy choices. They can certainly lead to increased consumption, each of the other, and using harder drugs. All of these drugs  bring on brain damage, heart failure, strokes, obesity, high blood pressure and the ills increase the more they are used, and, or combined. We are desperate for a Canada wide pharmaceutical program as well to allow more access to needed pharmaceuticals at a reduced cost.

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