The Jefferson Tree - A platform for debate and discussion of current events and politics...

Palestine Borders and Demographics Prove to be A Ghetto

Thanks to a good idea given to me by my partner here at STL, I started to research and analyze some geographic information regarding the Jewish land-grab in Palestine. I then followed by studying some demographic info on the Gaza Strip and drew some interesting conclusions. Here’s what I found: First, some great maps over at Wikipedia with adjoining historical context info and links portraying the boundaries of Palestine/Israel since the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement (The linked information could have you reading ...

Social Protest Lit: Ebenezer Elliot, “The People’s Anthem”

A poem from Ebenezer Elliot entitled The People’s Anthem from Book IV called “Out of The Depths.” This chapter is focused on man’s pursuit of remedy for social injustice: When wilt thou save the people? O God of mercy! when? Not kings and lords, but nations! Flowers of the heart, O God, are they! Let them not pass, like weeds, away! Their heritage a sunless day! God save the people! Shall bring crime for ever, Strength aiding still the strong? Is it thy will, O Father? That man shall toil for wrong? “No!” ...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Selective Outrage

War is hell.  All we have to do is look around the world to see its toll.  That being said, I don't understand the lack of outrage coming from this President and his administration other than that aimed at our one ally - Israel which is doing no more than trying to protect it's people from rocket fire and constant raids from Hamas. The fact that Palestinian civilians are getting killed is a tragic yet unavoidable aspect of this war.  Why ...

Why Are We So Full Of Hate?

What has happened to human kind?  No matter where you look we find ourselves surrounded by a world filled with hate. What puzzles me is how it's combined with political correctness.  Take this country where so many words are now frowned upon and even forbidden because they are hurtful to certain people.  Redskins, squaw, savage plus a whole lot applying to blacks, orientals and hispanics not to mention middle easterners.  Has it dawned on anyone banning the names has done nothing ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever. Thomas Jefferson
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Frustrated Joe - Dwindling Empire

Government and Debt. How did we ever go down this road?

Just the other day I was watching television in my bed prior to drifting off for the evening. As I recall I was watching the news, and I got to thinking about how nice it would be to get rid of my 21″ CRT boob tube and replace it with a brand new 32″ Plasma, LED, or LCD HD television. You know the ones, fully loaded with all the bells and whistles.

Now I will admit that there is really nothing wrong with the TV I have, but lets face it the new ones are just a lot nicer. As I lay in my bed musing about this I thought that if I were to buy a new TV I might as well get one of those PVR satellite receivers, that way I could record programs and watch them at night. After all, in for a penny in for a pound. In fact since I am upgrading…. why not a couple of sets of wireless headphones for the wife and I, that way one could watch TV into the wee hours while the other slept. Ooops, almost forgot a DVD player, a Bluray, probably 3D with some wireless features (don’t want to miss out on NetFlix).

Just as I was planning my run to BestBuy the next day, reality set in (it’s a bitch at times). I needed all of this equipment like a “starving dog needs a second arsehole”, more to the point where was the money coming from? After all it’s not like I had a couple of grand set aside for tech upgrades, or that my employer would just cut me a cheque out of the goodness of their heart (and their understanding of my hi-tech needs). The bottom line was that the money would have to be reallocated from something else ( food, education, retirement, mortgage, emergency funds, saving, etc.) or borrowed, thus incurring some debt.

So, now that I have laid out my hi-tech bedroom fantasy (almost sounds risque doesn’t it?) you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with Government debt.

Well its no big secret that governments at every level (civic, provincial, and federal) are and have been overspending for years, taking on ever increasing debt loads with no end in sight or any formal plan for repayment. So what is the answer?

Simple, like my television, every bit of new proposed spending must be given sober second thought. In fact to go a step further, every bit of current government spending must be reviewed under a microscope. With government debt (and for that matter personal debt) in many cases approaching record high levels the days of spending on every want or desire, or catering to special interest groups must end.

How bad is it, seriously?
Canada’s combined federal and provincial net debt will pass $1.1 trillion at 11 p.m. ET on October 3, according to a recent calculation. The Canadian Federation for Independent Business (CFIB) estimates that total debt has now surpassed $31,850 per person  (however if it is any consolation the American taxpayer is saddled with a Federal debt of over $44,000 per person!). The CFIB also noted that provincial and federal net debt in Canada has increased by $100 billion, about 10 per cent in just the last a year and a half alone. 

To put this all in perspective, as of 2009 the average annual income for a single Canadian was $31,500, or in simpler terms about $350 less than their share of the current combined Federal and Provincial debt!

Unfortunately it may be even worse (or thankfully a bit better) depending on what province you reside in, 

with the per capita debt being highest in Ontario and Quebec, where it has reached $35,550 and $38,725 respectively, and lowest in Alberta and the Yukon, where it sits at $14,700 and $14,900.

Now I realize that the average Canadian citizen likes living in a country where so many of their needs and wants are provided for by various levels of government, but unfortunately on occasion reality must creep into utopia. All of these wonderful social and entitlement programs can only be sustained for as long as there is money to do so, by default as the debt increases and more revenue must go to service it, there is less left to spend on the “niceties” that many Canadians have come to expect as part of their heritage. As well, a large public debt also has a negative effect on the value of a currency, if you need proof just look to our neighbours to the south. Recently the Canadian dollar has been virtually at par with the American greenback, unfortunately we can take little credit for that. Our dollars hasn’t gained as much value as the American dollar has lost, in other words its not that our buck is that much stronger, the equality of the currency is a reflection of just how weak their buck is. 

Now to be fair, the CFIB has acknowledged that net debt is not as high as it has been in the past. However I suspect that is due to the fear of hitting the so-called debt wall in the mid-1990s which prompted drastic spending cuts particularly at the federal level. The funny thing is that at the time we had a Liberal government in power (traditionally not a party associated with sound fiscal management) and somehow they rallied to this call for action. Now we have a Conservative government who are spending like sailors on shore leave.

The bottom line regardless of who is in power is that government spending has once more become reckless. Maybe what Canada needs now is another solid dose of financial fear to help us get our books balanced at all government levels.  One of these days I will address the issue of personal debt in Canada, but blogging on one fiscal crisis is all I can manage on a lazy Sunday.

Frustrated Joe - Dwindling Empire

Author: Frustrated Joe - Dwindling Empire

Just your average born and raised Canadian who goes to work each day, pays his taxes, and hopes that there is something left for the next generation. This blog is just a snapshot of my thoughts and the issues that interest or infuriate me as I go through life.

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