Are we socialists?
Is it Canada, Ontario, or Toronto? Are we a socialist system? Should the hard-working not benefit from their hard work?
Three Toronto city councilors argued last week that the city should purchase waterfront condos with great views to provide as “affordable housing” to the less fortunate.
Is this really what Toronto has come to symbolize?
I’m sure there will be a dozen comments on this post by the time I sit down to read it, and they’ll be mixed, no doubt.
As I mused last week, there are three things you’re not supposed to openly discuss: religion, politics, and money, and every time we open the door to politics on this blog, we get a solid debate.
I don’t want be labelled as an elitist, because I’m not.
And I’m not a cruel, insensitive jerk, either.
But one thing I am not, is a bleeding-heart. I don’t believe in fantasy either. And while I do subscribe to certain elements of socialism, such as free health-care on a grand scale, there are some places where I have to draw the line.
Earlier this week, the City of Toronto announced plans to purchase 70 to 75 waterfront condos in a brand new luxury development, and offer them as affordable housing to low-income families.
The units have a value of $22.5 Million, although after reading a half-dozen articles, I can’t conclude that anybody knows how these units will be financed.
Some city councilors are heralding this as a great day.
The prevailing idea among lefties on the council: everybody should be able to live in a gorgeous waterfront condo, with a great view, even those who can’t afford it.
I’m all for social equality and equal opportunity, but this idea is an absolute farce.
Is it fair?
What is fair in 2013, anyways?
Everybody will have their own opinion.
I do believe in the idea of subsidized housing, but in 2013, I think things have gone too far. The concept of “temporary housing” has completely evaporated, as “temporary” has turned in to “permanent” for many people who recognize a free ride when they see one, and refuse to move onwards and upwards.
The City of Toronto is basically going to hold a lottery – because that’s what this is. There are tens of thousands of people who want to live in these “affordable” units, but only 70 to 75 of them will actually realize their dreams.
This is a lottery, plain and simple, and the rest of the low-income families who want affordable housing will have to live on the outskirts of the city. Sorry, no water-view for you! No sunsets in your future!
Believe it or not, my issue with this isn’t entirely political, financial, or economic.
I’m not upset with this idea because it has anything to do with real estate, as a Realtor either.
My major issue here is that the growing theme I’ve noticed in society over the last few years is going to gain even more momentum if this project gets off the ground. What’s that theme? Aspiring to mediocrity…
Earlier this week, the Calgary board of education moved to eliminate honor rolls, awards, and ceremonies, in what can only be described as one of the most socialist-minded decisions I’ve ever seen. National Post columnist, Kelly McParland, called it “a race to the bottom” in the best article I read all week. I have been chronicling the demise of the public school system over the last few years, as ideas like this get put into action, and all it means is that we’re raising a generation of children that are being taught that they don’t need to work hard.
Work is hard.
Life is hard.
And hard work is what usually gets you ahead in life.
But in today’s society, we continue to demonstrate – through removing honor rolls in schools, and providing waterfront condos to the poor, that you don’t necessarily have to work hard anymore!
I busted my ass in grade eight to earn 80% in every single course so I could get the “Lamp of Learning” award, and today, those awards don’t exist. Would I work as hard today? Do kids in school today work as hard without the recognition for succeeding?
Removing an honor roll in school because you’re afraid the poor students might feel worse is so goddam counterproductive! All it does is tell the top, middle, and bottom that mediocrity is the ultimate goal. Everybody is equal.
It’s the same idea with these 70 to 75 waterfront condos for the poor, er, less fortunate.
Do you think that the family living in one of these units will raise children who have a true grip on reality? Won’t those kids think that they’ve got it made – living in a unit where the rent is 1/3 of what the guy is paying next door?
This is the direction society is moving, and it scares me.
Nobody wants to work hard anymore, and it’s education boards, city councilors, and other regulatory bodies that are proliferating mediocrity!
Last week, I went out for Korean BBQ with my friends, in a sort-of semi-monthly event that we put together to try to keep in touch. Most of us are married, some have kids, and it’s events like this (huddling over a dirty deep fryer and eating meat cooked by butane flames…) that allow us to connect.
At one point during the night, a friend of mine remarked, “My roommate comes home every night at 5:01pm and plays X-Box until midnight.” My friend went on to say that his roommate is part of the leftist movement – a borderline “Occupy” type who believes that there are too many people making too much money in the world.
The comment conjured up a vision in my head of somebody who puts the bare minimum into their work, and undoubtedly expects greater returns.
And I have a major problem with this.
For the guys sitting at the table that night, most of us work 70-hour weeks.
I come home every night at 9pm, I watch TV with my wife for an hour (Criminal Minds, SVU – you know – the good stuff), and then she goes to bed, and I go to my computer for three hours. That is how I plan on getting ahead, and so far, it’s worked.
The other guys at the table can relate. A friend of mine works in government, which is supposed to be a cushy 9-5 job, but he’s working 8-8 instead, and Saturdays. That is how he’s doing well.
Another friend of mine is in banking, and suffice it to say – I was shocked he was allowed to attend an early dinner – at 8:30pm.
The story of the guy who goes home at 5:01pm and plays X-Box for seven hours is a microcosm of today’s society, and the poor work ethic that a majority of the population have. This guy could work from 5-10pm, two nights per week, and collect a couple hundred dollars to supplement his income. He could then buy some of the material goods that he complains other people have. Or, maybe he could pick up another shift at his job, work the odd Saturday, etc.
A client of mine has family in Italy, which is not exactly a thriving economy right now. She told me that everybody in this small region of the country wants a government job, with a government wage, a guaranteed government pension, and benefits. But she added that more than 50% of all the consumer goods they buy and sell are on the underground black market. In the end, everybody wants to receive a salary and benefits from the government, but they don’t want to pay taxes. So where does the government get the money from? And how do these people expect to get what they want?
THAT is the problem that plagues today’s society.
People don’t understand, don’t care, and won’t listen to the basic principles of economics. Somebody doesn’t want to pay any tax, but wants a government wage and health-care – and they will NOT listen when you say “That’s impossible.” They just don’t care.
Do you think that anybody camping out during the Occupy Toronto protest would have taken a 9-to-5 job at minimum wage? Not a chance. But do they want all the same things that the evil corporate-baron has? Absolutely.
An online newspaper poll showed that 90% of readers were against the idea of providing waterfront condos to low-income families, which is a staggering number considering 90% of people probably couldn’t agree that the sky is blue, and the world is flat.
While many of these people are upset at the idea, because they can’t afford the waterfront condo themselves, or because it’s a misuse of tax dollars, I look at the deeper issue: that people in society are no longer being urged to work hard.
Let’s face it: 70 to 75 waterfront condos isn’t going to address the needs of a fraction of the low-income families in Toronto that need help. If these condos are really going to cost $22.5 Million, I’d much rather see that money spent on something more productive.
How much training and education can $22.5 Million provide?
This entire argument can be summed up with an ancient proverb, which we’ve all heard a million times:
“Give a boy a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a boy to fish, and you’ll feed him for life.”
Giving luxury waterfront condos to the poor is NOT going to address the massive income disparity that exists in Toronto, or in society in general.
But as we’ve seen in recent years, and as the trend continues, it’s possible that those who don’t know how to fish, have absolutely zero interest in learning…