Income inequality gap growing in Canada

OECD) reports that the disparity between the rich and the poor is growing

Editor, The Times:

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) just released its report citing that the disparity between the rich and the poor is growing. This gap has been growing in leaps and bounds since the mid-1990s said the report. The average wage of the top 10 per cent is 10 times higher that that of the bottom 10 per cent. Canada’s richest saw their total share of income increase from 8.1 per cent in 1980 to 13.3 per cent in 2007.

Meanwhile the tax rate for Canada’s richest dropped from 43 per cent in 1981 to just 29 per cent in 2010.

The study suggests that there may no longer be any truth to the notion that the poor will automatically benefit as the rich get richer.

“This study dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility, without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”

The report also notes that the global financial crisis and the growing income gaps have given young adults a grim vision of their future.

Opposition finance critic Peter Julian criticized the government for a “… one-dimensional economic policy that is cutting taxes for Canada’s biggest companies.”

We somehow must have forgotten to remind the government of its promise to eliminate poverty in Canada by the year 2000! It’s obvious that their agenda is to cater to the concerns of the rich. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “If a government robs from Peter to pay Paul then it can always count on the support of Paul.”

This should come as no surprise to those of us not among the one per cent, especially in light of the worldwide ‘Occupy’ movement. I saw a photo recently of one ‘Occupy’ protester’s sign that read, “Dear 1%, We fell asleep for a while – just woke up, sincerely, the 99%”.

What the collective disenfranchised are waking up to is the realization that the much needed ‘comprehensive strategy” the OECD report urgently recommends just doesn’t exist – nor can it exist within the parameters of the current system.

The main obstacle to equitable wealth distribution and the subsequent alleviation of poverty, disparity and suffering that will come from the implementation of just such a distribution is this very system of so-called ‘free-market’ capitalism.

This system has, and continues to pave the way for the corporate domination that is rapidly strangling true democratic freedoms. The late F.D. Roosevelt said, “The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

Since over half of the world’s top economies are now multi-national corporations (not countries) you have to ask yourself if this is not the world we’re living in?

The OECD statistics substantiate the truth that under such a system the rich will only continue to get richer as the poor get poorer, the gap between the two will only increase and in it’s wake we can expect less in social funding for health care, education, affordable housing, pensions, etc. and as the social fabric begins to tear ever more, increasing unemployment, hunger, poverty and despair will give rise to alcohol and drug abuse, crime and further social unrest.

The problem is systemic. The world has had enough and is thankfully beginning to realize that the solutions lie outside the box of political convention.

Tom Coles

Clearwater, B.C.