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LETTER: Social assistance vs. corporate welfare

"Canada should determine how much of its corporate tax cuts have been lost to tax havens," Lana Payne writes. —
Some people have to rely on social assistance, others seek out tax havens to hide some of their wealth. — 123RF Stock image

It never ceases to amaze me how some individuals I meet, and hear on the radio, find every opportunity to denigrate people who rely on social assistance to survive in this dog-eat-dog world.

Many of these people may have mental health issues, many just can’t find suitable work, and many — through various circumstances — have not completed education and/or skills training. Yes, some have no drive and work ethic. But the easy, mentally lazy way, is to lump everybody in the last category.

Where is the empathy and understanding when people make those facile judgments? Why do they harbour this anger, bitterness and cynicism toward their fellow beings? Do they ever take the time to do some much-needed introspection and look deeply at themselves and their preconceived notions of what ails the world?

Where is the empathy and understanding when people make those facile judgments?

One rarely hears from these people about corporate welfare — tax loopholes used by the rich, who can afford to use high-powered lawyers, offshore tax shelters and other means that drain billions of dollars from government treasuries. Oil companies that make billions each year, yet demand government tax breaks and incentives to drill and support their efforts! What about CEO salaries that rise every year regardless of how well the company performs? Look at the recent bonuses to Nalcor executives — did they really earn these bonuses?

The Conrad Black story tells how some CEOs (who think of themselves as proprietors) manipulate and even hire directors. In many cases these “directors” rubber-stamp the moves of the top people as they collect their fat cheques for a few yearly meetings!

In our predatory capitalist system (especially in the U.S.), the rich do indeed prosper, even in bad times like we are presently going through. Most of the remainder struggle for day-to-day survival to pay rent, food and utilities —paycheque to paycheque if they are lucky. Inequality has never been more pronounced in our society. Yet greed abounds by many at the top (with some notable exceptions, like George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet et al.) Is it any wonder that we have had periodic revolutions in our history as people finally get fed up enough with the elite and take to the streets to overthrow the status quo?

Charlie Menchions



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