The universe revolves around “me”

To the Editor;

Re: “Jumping through hoops to defend Canada’s equalization system”

In reference to this letter, I would suggest people go to the official Government of Canada website, then go to the Department of Finance Canada to read three articles. One is entitled “Letters to the Provinces and Territories: Alberta”, the second one is entitled “Letters to the Provinces and Territories: Quebec”, and the third article is entitled “Federal Support to Provinces and Territories: Major Federal Transfers” (2008-2017).

For a simpler analysis of Canada’s transfer payment, I suggest reading “Canadian transfer payments” in Wikipedia. Furthermore, the CBC has excellent resources of this topic.

There are several concerns that I have about our national debt, Alberta’s debt, and our personal debts.

If our politicians in Ottawa, the Liberals under Justin Trudeau and the Conservatives under Stephen Harper, had tackled the problem of wealthy Canadians hiding their assets in foreign countries (“The Panama Papers” and “The Paradise Papers”) we would not have a national debt problem.

As an aside, I highly recommend people check into the following websites (Bloombers’s Billionaires” and “Forbes” magazine) to see who are the wealthiest 500 people in the world and to see how their wealth increases and decreases on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

For example, Jeff Bezos’s (owner of Amazon) personal wealth increased from $113 billion on Feb. 9, 2018 to $150 billion by July 27, 2018. The richest woman in the world is Alice Walton at $44.2 billion.

There are 2,208 billionaires in the world as of July 27, 2018, and their net worth is $9.1 trillion. America has 585 billionaires, and China has 373. The net worth of all these billionaires increased by 18% over last year. How much did your net worth increase over the same period of time?

Our provincial debt could have been solved if our politicians had managed our Heritage Trust Fund more wisely. Why do the heritage trust funds in Alaska and Norway have huge surpluses while ours is so puny? Instead of depending on natural resources for financing our provincial budge (for example, price for oil fluctuate on a daily basis) maybe we should look at having a sales tax of 3-5% instead of a carbon levy (tax). The more we buy, the more revenues that are collected.

However, our politicians spent money on non essential items like on professional sports’ arenas, a provincial airline, and for a “special” condo for our ex-premier (A. Redford). Revenues collected should go, in my opinion, to essential public services like police, fire, hospitals, welfare, schools, roads, infrastructure, etc.

The last area of my concern is the ever increasing personal debt of Albertans. We have the highest personal debt in the country, and we continue to spend more than we earn. Right now, we owe $1.67 for every dollar earned. We want to live like millionaires and billionaires. We mis-use our credit cards (should be called debt cards) as if they are our own personal banks.

We buy houses which are much too big; we own more than one vehicle; we own properties in the States or in Latin America; we vacation at least once per year, preferably in the States; we own travel trailers/motor homes, skidoos, ATVs, motor bikes, etc., but complain about the carbon tax despite the fact that our incomes are 20-30% higher than the rest of the country. We don’t want to pay taxes; we just want to buy more “things”.

Somewhere along the line we have forgotten our conservative values like saving money. Being frugal is now considered “cheap”. In a sense, we have become grasshoppers instead of ants (Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper”). We seem to think that material things will bring us happiness, and we also have developed, in my opinion, a sense of “entitlement”. Society owes us something.

Forget about the rest of the country. Forget about the rest of the world. The universe revolves around “me”.

George Thatcher

Trochu, AB