Tag: covid19

The Cure For The Next Pandemic

In this video, a younger me stated being unemployed is not a crime. That does not mean I believe we should leave them that way. Now more than ever, we need people to work.

Back in 2013, I recorded a video about unemployment, stating it was not a crime.

In 2021, the year that certainly will be regarded as the first year of the Era Of The New Normal, I have not changed my position on that opinion. Just because someone cannot find work does not mean they’re lazy. The work they used to do might have been automated out or rendered obsolete due to technological unemployment. They might have been a victim of constructive dismissal, a situation where they had no choice but to quit their job without having another job waiting in the wings. They may have suffered a severe illness, or either a physical or a mental disability that makes it impossible to work as a former able-bodied individual.

There’s always two sides to the story.

There’s also always two sides to any opinion, including my own.

The fact that I do not feel being unemployed is not a crime does not mean the unemployed should remain so in that state. We live in a capitalist society where everything —- including the sin of being forced to pay big bucks for shelter, a basic need —- costs money. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

Here in Canada, the things we take for granted and assume as free (such as roads, hospitals, shelters, and other services) are actually paid for by the taxes taken off the paycheques of those still working. Nobody loves paying taxes, but we begrudgingly do so anyways because if there were no taxes, the services I’ve mentioned would have to be paid for directly by everyone. This includes the working poor. Those who don’t have any money at all would not be able to access them.

So, while I feel being unemployed is not a crime, remaining unemployed — especially in large numbers — is not a good thing and it would be criminal to allow that situation to continue.

Especially since Canada’s operating deficit went from $40 billion to $400 billion in 2020. To allow the deficit to remain that high by not taking the necessary steps to get Canada’s fiscal house in order is a recipe for national self-destruction.

As with any financial entity powered by fiscal needs, there are two ways to address this:

  • cut expenses.
  • raise revenues.

Clearly cutting services is not the option. Cuts have already been made in the past, resulting in lengthy wait times to see a medical specialist, our roads, sewage, and electrical systems in a state of disrepair; and the reductions and cancellations of services from social programs designed to help the less fortunate and most vulnerable members of society.

Nor is raising taxes, a form of revenue raising, an acceptable option. More people will refuse to pay their taxes and the underground economy will grow larger while public services suffer funding shortfalls. Disposable income will shrink which in turn will affect the economy. Businesses will simply shutter and either move out of city, out of province, or even out of the country to an economic climate that is less oppressive to the aforementioned fiscal needs.

A third option — often not mentioned except as something impossible to do or that it is not the government’s job to fix — is to treat unemployment as the next pandemic to tackle, a pandemic not composed of RNA and DNA sequences, but of dollars and cents.

Every person capable to work with a useful skillset, no matter how small that skillset is, should be immediately matched through a partnership formed by the government, business, and education to work suited to their abilities. It must become THE priority one goal to have every citizen tax-revenue-positive through employment, not struggling to find a job and thus remaining in a tax-revenue-negative state.

How do we make this possible? While this is something too big for any single individual, including myself, to figure out, I like to offer some suggestions.

Labour demands need to be identified and the qualifications for employment categorized and taught beginning at the junior high level and throughout the post-secondary education system. Co-op training, job mentorship, and entry level employment positions that were once outsourced or eliminated in the name of austerity need to be created in greater numbers.

In addition, most secondary education and career retraining must become more affordable. They must also be pertinent to the skillsets employers are looking for. This means no women’s gender studies, or interpretive music and art studies. Those should go to a private vocational school and not receive one dime of government funding. They are personal pursuits that do not encourage a tax-revenue-positive flow.

Finally, the foundation of ensuring stable employment — affordable housing — must become a reality. Those unable to obtain stable means of shelter will not be able find work or hold down an existing job. It’s not a stretch to see the connection between housing and employment. Whether this is made possible through a Universal Basic Income program or a cap on rent and housing prices is open to discussion, but finding a solution to affordable housing is paramount.

COVID19 will one day disappear, but the economic pandemic that will follow will make what we’ve all gone through feel a Sunday picnic in comparison. Governments must turn their focus on ensuring every citizen is working in some capacity to that tax dollars return to the coiffures, thereby getting the government books back in order.

Thanks for reading!

David.

Going Viral.

We live in unprecedented times.

While the COVID19 (also known as Corona) virus is nonlethal except to those with immune system deficiencies and those prone to respiratory infections and illnesses, this pandemic is changing our society in ways only seen during wartime and national disasters.

Schools, from elementary to post secondary levels, are closed. So are restaurants, movie theatres, places of worship, and concert halls.

Community programs and services that benefit new arrivals and the poor are cancelled.

Companies are asking, if not ordering, their employees to work from home.

Shopping mall hours are being reduced.

It’s like something out of a Hollywood film, except there’s no director screaming, “CUT!” to stop filming.

While we know this pandemic will one day end, we have no say when that will happen. It stops when it stops. Simple as that.

In any major social shakeup, the most vulnerable members of our society — the working poor and the homeless — always take it on the chin. For the better off, situations like this are merely an annoyance. For the less fortunate, it’s truly a stressfess.

Reduced shopping mall hours means those who work in jobs that allow no flextime will have to take a day off work to get needed supplies. Assuming of course they can be found. The more greedy members of society, who have tons of wealth to spare, have gone out to hoard toilet paper, sanitizer, and milk in order to sell at a higher cost in order to make money. I’m an agnostic, but I believe there should be a special place in Hell for people like that.

The cancellation of community programs — which include job assistance and networking support — means those looking for work will have less tools for their job search. Some of these community programs also offer free meals for the homeless. With those closed, the homeless will not have a good meal except maybe in the local shelter. Assuming of course, there’s space to stay in them.

There’s no question there will an economic downturn as a result of the pandemic. In fact, according to an article in Forbes Magazine, rolling recessions are likely going to happen. I’ve lived long enough to have been through a few recessions and while each are different in cause and severity, one fact is common: it won’t be the executives and ranking managers of Corporate Canada who will lose their jobs — it will be the low-income rank and file who’ll get the boot. After all, in this Age of Austerity and the Jobless Recovery, human resources are no longer an investment but a line item on an expense report. The hit song “Times are tough, do more with less, downsize downsize.” will once again be popular but this time remixed to a techno COVID19 reverb track. Everything old is new again.

So exactly how does an economy recover from a recession caused by a virus? Maybe it will change the way the economy runs. Maybe it will run with less workers. I mean, we already have self-serve kiosks and online shopping. Perhaps Corporate Canada will justify this Jobless Recovery further by saying computer programs and routers don’t get sick. Why hire people at all?

With services and stores being closed down, the shelter offered by both will become scarcer. Those who are homeless or at least have unstable housing will have fewer places to go. They’ll be exposed more to the elements, which will make them sick, and in turn more susceptible to the COVID19 virus if their immune systems are compromised.

I’ve often argued for the case of a compassionate society where no one is left behind and that we are all in this together. The pandemic we all face makes that point even more important. We must heed the call to look after those who cannot fend for themselves rather than, as some have stated on social media, let social Darwinism reign and it’s every man and woman for themselves.

Thanks for reading!

David.