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The upside-down world of Ralph Klein,
Gordon Campbell, et al.

CBC Radio 1, “Commentary,” January 30, 2002
The world according to Ralph Klein and Gordon's just screwball, upside down. Even more screwball is that commentators and the media take it seriously, instead of laughing in astonishment. But, then again, they're part of the same upside-down world, with their head where their feet should be, and can't see it.

The mantra of this world is that cutting back government is good and that the more resources we turn over to the private sector or the market, the better. Well, who says? We've already got double the car-making capacity we need, for example, and too many cars and their pollution anyway. Why bother trying to induce people to buy yet more cars or force feed other market activity? Why not put our overflow economic resources into public transport, or health care, or getting rid of those obnoxious commercials on television, or environmental initiatives, or good, old caring and sharing?

The demand for those things - things we do collectively - is strong and often compelling. Why not meet that demand? We can easily afford it. There's no point, after all, in having an efficient private sector, requiring fewer and fewer person-hours to make goods, if we can't take the resources liberated by that efficiency for other things, mostly things we do in common, which have great value.

Of course, to reallocate those resources to the public sector where they're needed, we have to apply the allocation mechanism, namely taxes. That's what the mechanism is there for. Taxes are just an administrative method of allocating resources to where they should go. Let’s use them. Raise them. Expand the public sector where the resources are needed. Most new jobs should be created in the public sector rather than vice-versa.

This is why it's so absurd to claim that public health care, at 9 per cent of GDP, isn't sustainable. Of course it's sustainable, and increasingly so, as efficiencies throughout our economy and leave extra resources free. We could easily raise that allocation if we wanted to. Slashing taxes to inflate the private sector at the cost of valuable public goods isn't determined by any economic law, just by muddle-headed dogma.

It's exactly because of efficiencies in the market sector, thanks to technology - fewer people needed for agriculture, fewer people needed for manufacturing - that we can have first-class health care for everyone and all the rest of a well-financed, vibrant public sector.

The richness of what we're capable of in this way is staggering. Ralph Klein, Gordon Campbell, Mike Harris et al. - upside-down minds. They've got it all just plain wrong way around.
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