“Poverty is the worst violence.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
The Nortel pensioners who had worked all their lives with confidence that in their retirement they will be able to have pension income, are out cold in the rain because the company went bankrupt. Who will provide for them in their old age?
While much can be said of the problems with “socialism” one thing is certain: if we want to ensure that our rights and dignity are respected at all times, we must organize our society in a manner where we are there for each other through a system of the government bailing out the little guy, and not only big corporations and banks as happened in the United States. This is perhaps the optimal way of balancing economic freedom with economic rights of the individual and society. Every time I hear in the news of a disaster striking a community, or individuals being laid off, I wonder how fearful and vulnerable must the family of that individual feel, and how we, as a community, have so much resources but we are not there for them and each other. My sentiments equally apply to those Canadian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan, return home disabled only to find a society interested in paying the bare minimum for their and their family’s welfare.
How is poverty the worst violence? Because without adequate income you have no shelter, food, clothing, health, or the joy of some of the finer things in life like education and art. Most are bound to compromise on their rights and dignity. Why is it society’s business to ensure your welfare and rights? Because society expects loyalty from us and in the case of soldiers- loyalty and the potential sacrifice of their lives.
Is it true that we do not have the resources to be taking care of all of us? This topic is for another day. I submit to you, however, that within our existing tax system, without raising a single dollar in taxes, if we prioritize what is important to us and act intelligently in chopping off the monetary fat from the top, we can not only guarantee our dignity and rights, but potentially reduce taxes.