Reclaiming human values

Posted 04.19.15

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | With Spring, daffodils appear, and with daffodils comes the Cancer Society's daffodil fund-raiser -- plus the Heart & Stroke Society, autism, and many more funding drives. Volunteers will be walking streets, calling, and manning tables to raise money for very valuable efforts.

But if cancer, heart disease, and autism are such major threats to our well-being, why are they left almost to chance? Or at least left to individual efforts of very generous volunteers? Why don't our public taxes fund this research and education?

Our taxes certainly are used to fund other efforts and to thwart other threats (ISIS, apparently) – we are 'forced] to pay for some campaigns and some projects, but not others, and among these neglected others are the very worth-while cancer, dementia, mental illness, and heart research. We are 'forced' through our taxes to fund projects without our consultation or consent. Yes, we elected representatives to take such decisions -- but without consultation, without full public discussion?

With the wave of austerity sweeping today's right-wing governments, choices for public funding become more difficult and, thus, more in need of full discussion.

Is it far-fetched to ask why the mega-corporations (Big Oil, Big Pharma) should get public funding, and not have to fund-raise street by street like the Cancer Society? Americans used to ask why their military didn't hold bake sales to fund its adventures? That example was only to make a point: Why are Mothers Against Drunk Driving forced to hold bake sales, when more citizens die from drunk driving accidents than terrorist attacks?

Who really should decide? Elected reps who will work for these very corporations once their public term is done? Those with ideological agendas? Those whose election campaigns depend upon corporate donations? Shouldn't such decisions include us, the people?

The usual answer is such funding would require higher taxes -- and everybody hates taxes. So we're told. A lot of people I know actually feel taxes are necessary and could be the means to create a better, more egalitarian, healthier and educated society. Taxation is not a criminal activity!

The question is, unasked in Ottawa and Quebec City and elsewhere, why should the public pay for corporate operations and research? Why shouldn't multinational companies pay more for the resources they are using to generate their profits? Why shouldn't the corporate sector proportionately contribute to the health system, education, and public research, since the companies benefit from them with a smarter and healthier work force?

Shouldn't both these prongs work together -- yes, some higher taxes, and, of course, less corporate welfare and more pay-back from those corporations? Couldn't we stomach some higher taxes if the big guys are also paying their share, finally?

It's the corporate guys and their media megaphones who tell us taxes are wasted by the civil service. There's their threat to take their oil wells, factories, and jobs elsewhere. Funny, they do that anyway, when it suits their projections and balance sheets.

Don't we have this backwards? How do we reclaim government?


Copyright © 2015 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/04.15