The new electoral map of Alberta is disturbing. Three puddles of orange in a sea of blue.

All of rural Alberta and most constituencies where private enterprise reigns vote UCP. Most constituencies where public enterprise (government jobs) reign voted NDP. Quelle surprise.

This suggests to me not an urban-rural split but a public-private split based on the nature and origin of money and finance. Economic world views collide here. Private enterprise says you must make or do something to get paid. Production equals profit equals pay and there are no guarantees. Both the worker and the boss risk everything daily to make a buck. If you work harder, risk more, innovate and give your all you may excel and succeed greatly.

Public enterprise, in my experience, fosters this world view: Because I work for the government I will be paid, eventually. Why? Because the government doesn’t go broke, “yet.” All I risk in coming to work is “coming to work.” All public employees labour in an environment where the workers’ health and well-being is mandated by rules and benefits not available in the private sector.

The very nature of the work done in private enterprise is, on average, less dangerous and labour intensive compared to private industry. The rewards of innovation and greater profit are not present.

Even the origin of the money the worker is paid is different between the two systems.

In private enterprise the money comes from profits, which come from the workers’ labour and production, along with the workers’ and bosses’ time, talent, experience, trust and wealth invested.

In private enterprise you can work for a wage, work on contract or commission, work at and invest in a business you may or may not own, or invest your private wealth so your money works for you.

In public enterprise the money the workers are paid comes from taxes and fees collected by the government. The government has no money of its own and doesn’t earn money of its own. The government’s primary source of revenue are personal and business taxes and royalties.

Why the NDP lost and what its supporters don’t get is that the more you squeeze a lemon (private enterprise) the less juice it has. The public purse is not bottomless, interest rates mean you can’t borrow your way to prosperity and more government jobs don’t represent real job growth.

The ever-growing, abusive, insatiable thirst for tax money by any government is counter productive and destructive. Ever higher taxation does not build a happy, sustainable and positively evolving society. It builds tyranny. The government doesn’t know how to best spend the people’s money, the people do.

Leath Johnston

Medicine Hat

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