Comment 27125

By Richard Wright (anonymous) | Posted November 01, 2008 at 16:31:06

Wow! Thanks to all for the comments; the debate seems to have boiled down to the rights of the "haves" and the "have-nots." The haves seem to feel they should have more and more and more and...well you get the picture. No "wealth spreading" here you commie pinkos...(Just kidding)

I may ramble a bit but the point I'd like to make is that money does not "flow" to the most deserving or necessarily to the "contributors. It flows to those who exercise cronyism, exploit the public purse, manipulate shareholders, raid public companies for personal profit, and ooze into positions of power through less than stellar practices that seem to work best in the shadows.

Mr. Smith, when you state that money flows to those who contribute something to society, I find that pretty amusing. (In fact, my wife came into my study to ask what was so funny.) Particularly, it doesn't add up if you are talking the "large" dollars. That was a reality of yesteryear. That was the Henry Fords and the Edisons and even the "Stronachs." etc. Today money seems to mainly flow to the manipulators, the connivers and the cheats. Or those who make money off other people's money.

If you look at the financial sector, they seem to really rake it in. But what do they "contribute?" Seriously. They don't grow a carrot. Hammer a nail in a house. Or milk a cow. They simply fee you to death as they lend out your money. (I happened to be at a party of bankers where one gentleman railed against Ticketmaster who had the nerve to charge him a fee for merely procuring his tickets. He couldn't understand what they were doing to charge him such a fee. Ahem! Banking? Fees? I saw the irony...he didn't.)

So money flows to those who contribute? I must get new glasses.

Let's look at the recent 700 billion (or was it a trillion) dollar bailout in the US that was supposed to free up lending capital? It came directly from the pockets of American taxpayers and "flowed" to those who had screwed up royally as they made millions in commissions on loans that never should have been made. They contributed all their own pockets. Now, according to Lou Dobbs on CNN, the US bailout money is being used to pay bonuses to execs who haven't really contributed a whole lot other than create that mess. It's being used by people like AIG to fund corporate jet rides and expensive parties for its execs. AIG admitted how it all "looked bad" when its executive elite were caught drinking the best wines, eating the best foods and going on a hunting party compliments of their corporation that was deep in the red. The "party' for a few of them, cost $86,000. Good use of American tax payers' money. I think it was another bank PLC or PNC who used some of its bailout billions to "acquire" another bank. So again, an example of the elite manipulating government so they could profit off the backs of taxpayers.

Money flows to those who contribute? Let's see, John Roth of Nortel who was selling his stock because he knew the company was tanking but publically calling for employees and others to buy more? Money did flow to him for the "value" he created? More than $200 million? What did he do to earn that type of money other than lead the company to disaster? And lie, cheat and steal. He'll be in court for years but, unfortunately, Canada doesn't punish members of the Canadian Establishment.

Garth Drabinsky and Martin Gottlieb who stole (allegedly) more than 130 million dollars from their own company's shareholders. Once they sold the company to a US firm the books revealed immense fraud and they were indicted in the USA but refused to go down to Chicago for their trial. They are classed as fleeing felons in the US and at trial here in Canada. They stand at trial and accuse all their employees of having perpetrated the fraud when their employees had nothing to gain from it and the dynamic duo had everything to gain. And they did illegally pocket mucho dinero. Certainly some good came of their entrepreneurship - revitalized theatres, excellent shows but in the end, as they say, power corrupts.

Conrad Black - need I say more? A bully who was a crook from his time at Upper Canada where he was caught stealing exam answers and selling them to other students. Certainly he was a master manipulator but he didn't work his way from the ground up - he inherited millions. He talked the Argus widows (old ladies) into handing him voting control of their shares to allow him a power seat. His sense of entitlement led him to use shareholder-owned companies as his personal bank accounts. Boy, he really himself. (I hear he offered to donate his $4500 towel warmer to the homeless but they had nowhere to plug it in so he kept it.)

There are more manipulators in Canada such as the two BC mortgage company entrepreneurs who cheated people out of more than $200 million with their pyramid mortgage schemes. Martin Wirick is one name to look up. Biller and Slobogian two others. And others and others. Money sure does flow to those who "contribute" alright.

In the USA Tyco, Worldcom, Enron etc. etc. etc. Money "flowed" to their execs. And there were dozens more of the privileged who were found to be lying and cheating to get their money and ruining the lives of their shareholders in the process. These aren't victimless crimes. Old people invest too for their retirements.

As for "paying taxes," they are viewed as two bad words by the rich. For instance, Paul Martin's Canadian Steamships Line is registered off-shore so he doesn't have to pay Canadian taxes. Frank Stronac lives in Switzerland now to avoid paying taxes. Yes, money sure does flow to those who contribute to society. The rich are known to pay less taxes (proportionally) than the middle class.

It is widely acknowledged that CEOs routinely staff boards of directors with their friends who vote them huge compensation. They take bonuses from their companies even when they are losing money big time. (More contributions flowing to those even when they don't create value...) Just try to count the billions of dollars in executive compensation paid out to undeserving people who claim sole responsibility when things go right for the company...and are suddenly "out of touch with the numbers" (a quote from Nortel CEO John Roth) when things go wrong. Typical BS.

Yes money flows to those who contribute to society. Ball players for instance. Hockey players - another good example. Basketball players. Meanwhile I remember seeing a Canadian doctor on TV saying he had to sell his house out of economic necessity.

Let's look for a moment at those really big earners in society who save lives and stand between us and disease, disaster and danger. Nurses, doctors, policemen, firemen, paramedics. We know they all live in mansions since money must have flowed to them, right? Well my wife was an ER nurse for 23 years and waded through blood, cleaned up bodily discharges, picked up body parts, got smashed in the face by addicts, puked on by drunks, and time-after-time recognized when someone was in real medical trouble and saved his or her life through her intervention. When she got sick because she likely picked up a virus during her work and had to have a liver transplant, our Canadian health system saved her life. (God bless Canada.) My in-laws are all nurses, paramedics, cops and firemen. And you know what? Most are struggling to make ends meet. Money didn't flow to them. Of course, it could be said they didn't "contribute" enough. Right, sir?

As for stating that the average Canadian earns $37,000 a year versus the Chinese, I'll bet the Chinese don't have to pay $200,000 for a house, $30,000 for a car or $35 for a shirt so that money can "flow" to those who are so deserving because they are excellent "exploiters." With all due respect Mr. Smith and absolutely no malice, I again submit to you that exporting jobs isn't altruism; it's based on exploitation and enhanced profit, not a dirty word at all. Profit is good and necessary. But when you think only of profit and shareholders and not your employees or even your customers, there's gonna be trouble in River City.

Also, averages are sometimes misleading. Having worked as a statistician for a time, I can say that if you have two people, one making $1,000,000 a year and another making $1 a year, on average they each make $500,000.50 per year. I think the Canadian average salary you state simply doesn't reflect reality unless you consider that most of the big money is being "earned" by fewer and fewer people. I think I read somewhere...yes I did indeedy, that the middle class is vanishing. Hmmm...wonder why that might be.

Unfortunately, again I have to cite personal experience. My daughter with three years of university(completing the fourth year on-line) makes $14 an hour part-time and can't find a full-time job. My niece with five years university works for $12 an hour and can't get a job teaching. My nephew who took police training at college for three years can't get a job on the police force because there are visible minority quotas to fill. My son cannot find a job that will give him more than 24 hours of work a week since if they did they'd have to class him as full-time and pay bemefits.

Companies exploit our own people by hiring two or three part-timers to fill a signle job thus avoiding a committment to the employee, paying benefits or insurance etc. The people I know want to "contribute" but they can barely make a living. Maybe cause jobs are being exported. Or, in some cases it's because our Canadian companies have been bought up by American firms and the jobs sent else where. Two years ago a US firm bought Cangro here in Niagara. This year they closed it putting hundreds out of work; they will buy their fruit from China so our farmers had to rip out their clingstone peach trees, a 100 year industry dead. That was manipulative. They killed their competition in advance by buying it and then closing it to support their strategic decision to buy from China.

Or John Deere? Or dozens of others. (Beware Chinese canned fruit as it will likely soon feature that wonderful additive - melamine - or maybe lead? Or maybe asbestos? Whatever works...)

Perhaps you've heard of the "hollowing out" of Canadian companies? For instance, we no longer own CN Rail, The Hudson Bay Company, Tim Hortons. There are no Canadian steel companies, nickle companies or even (major) beer companies. More "whining" on our parts I guess.

Personally, I feel it's up to the Chinese government to look after their own people. Surely their government should stop buying arms in favour of looking after citizens? Or is Canada supposed to save everybody? be real. The largest army in the world and a few years ago we sent them $150,000,000 in foreign aid? Give yourself a shake. Perhaps if we didn't spoonfeed them our jobs they'd get on the ball?

If, as you seem to prefer, we ship all our jobs over there, it won't make a dent in their poverty anyhow but there is going to be a whole lot more people living on the street here. So how can we stop whining and "contribute" if we don't have jobs?

To digress, don't you think we should first look after our thousands of homeless who are out on the street because our Ontario government decided to close Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital and "dump them" into Parkdale. I guess they don't "contribute" so they don't count. I always thought a society is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable? Guess I was wrong. We should take lessons from China - that bastion of democracy and fairness? Gee...who pirates Canadian and American products? Who steals technology? Who is sending poisoned food and products to North America? Kiddees toys with lead? China. Pet Food wheat gluten that's killed our pets? China. Lead on kids toys? China. Asbestos in baby bibs? China. (No doubt it was a safety feature in case the babies took up smoking early.)

Mr. Smith, perhaps I have taken you too literally when you say that money flows to those who contribute. Of course, it does to a degree. You work, you get paid. My point on that is that the effort and the rewards are largely out of synch. Take a good hard look at who makes the most money and how they made it. If, for example, we were to look at the top earners in Canada or the USA, we'd largely see people who sit on their asses and manipulate events and people.

Hey let's have some fun and look at a high-profile "earner" who has contributed so much. Look at "W". He bankrupt three companies his father gave him. So, the American elite, to give him some money of his own, arranged for him to buy into a Texas sports team - The Texas Rangers. Not worth much unless it had a venue. So they went after public money to built a stadium. While a complicated deal, it was also crooked; Bush was "led" to the ulitimate sale of the team whose value increased through public money being spent. He made $14.9 million. The rich taking care of their own - again using public money.

Here's a few quotes by that famous (ha) author Richard Wright.

"If corporate decision making is shipped out of the country, the decisions made won't be in the best interests of the country."

"As wealth (earned or not) generates power, the decisions made by those in power will favour the wealthy."

"The elite have seized control of government and will work tirelessly to assure that fewer and fewer people will receive more and more."

"If you lined up all the economist in the world, you'd have a lot of economists." (Not sure if this one is mine or I read it.)

I assume Mr. Smith that you would not be voting for Obama if you were eligible to vote in the US election. I think that we are seeing, for the first time in a long time, true democracy in action. I have to laugh at McCain accusing Obama of having "bought" the election since this is typically what the Republicans do with their huge contributions from corporations and special interest groups such as government lobbyists.

In this case, regular people contributed to get rid of a regime that has just about bankrupt the country and killed so many poor American boys. Of course, Haliburton stock has doubled so I guess that's okay.

As previously mentioned, I believe that people should work for their money but they have to be afforded equal opportunity. When companies ship jobs overseas because it's cheaper and they'll make so much MORE PROFIT, that's their perogative. Unfortunately, its hard to even boycott overseas products. Example, someone I know worked in a tourist department store where they received sweaters with the label - Made-in-China - on them. The supplier apologized profusely and asked that the items be returned and they would put the Made-in-Canada label on them. Oh, how was this justified? The label IS made in Canada. Pretty soon it may be the only thing.

Happy Halloweenie Mr. Smith. Check your candy - for melamine.

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