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Wednesday, 18 July 2012 14:56

Canadian history repeats itself

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“He should see a dentist, to have wisdom teeth put in”. Milton Berle (1908-2002)
“We should study economics. If some politicians talk economic nonsense — and get away with it — that is a reflection on us. In a democracy we get the kind of politicians and the kind of government we deserve.” Professor K.A.H. Buckley (1919-1970).

“We hear commentators wondering whether the politicians like those elected in Greece can solve their countries’ economic problems. For a country to prosper, it’s economy should be supported by three things, raw materials (land), people (labour), and factories plus infrastructure (capital). To get an idea what is happening in Europe we can look south of our border. If the States economy is considered in trouble it could be their capital support is weak because so much product sold is ‘Made in China.’”
During the 1930s the economists were practical, pragmatic realists. In 1937, the United States government adopted a plan called Parity Pricing Policy. The U.S.A. was able to finance the Second World War and then the Marshall Plan to help rebuild post-war Europe. Then along came a new generation of economists who had idealistic dreams of utopia. “Free enterprise” was put on a pedestal with “Motherhood.” Their ideas about deregulation coincided with business enterprises plans for the future. To get people to vote in governments that would implement deregulation, the idea of fewer taxes with smaller government was introduced. The plum in the pudding was “free trade.” With free-trade agreements, industry is able to squeeze governmentsout of overseeing many activities such as environment, food safety, social security, agricultural research, public health care, even democracy to name a few.
 It would seem the earlier economists had a better handle on running an economy.
Some of the “idealist” economists have changed their minds, but we don’t get to hear them tell why they consider the economic policies they promoted were wrong.
Canadians can wonder what we should do to avoid economic problems other countries seem to have. Professor Buckley is not alive to give us any guidance. On television,  we see young people carrying “Stop Harper” signs in Quebec. By ignoring what the media want us to think about the protest we realize they are rejecting Stephen Harper’s vision for Canada being imposed onto Quebec; that is a government so weak it can’t manage the country’s resources for the benefit of all people living within its borders.
 Many politicians convincing us to vote for them have ties to business. We have a problem.
Maybe we should fall back on Milton Berle and hope politicians go to a dentist to get wisdom teeth put in.
Lorne Jackson, Riverhurst, Sask.

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