Just thought I'd get that out of the way. Because I'm going to be writing about the Toronto Sun's attempt to set the record straight about the economics of Jack Layton's politics, and the first thing we should remember is that this is the same piece-of-shit newspaper that cheered on the election of the ignorant, incompetent, disastrous Rob Ford for mayor. Shit-head Ford said that there was almost a billion dollars worth of excess "gravy" at Toronto City Hall and that he could cut taxes without cutting services because the spending that would be cut was needless "gravy." And, Ford was completely, totally, gigantically wrong. That these cretins would even presume to then criticize anyone else is the height of presumption. The fact that they are (as we'll see) completely, massively wrong, makes this presumption all the more vomit-inducing.
The title of the piece is "Layton's vision for Toronto had a cost." Already intelligent, informed people are chuckling at the conceit. Oh, do go on Toronto Sun!
Make no mistake about Jack Layton.
He was a likable guy, but a political animal to the end.
Oh Christ! Here we go again ...
His farewell letter summed up his philosophy, both as federal NDP leader and, before that, as a leading municipal politician in Toronto.
At the core of Layton’s beliefs was his view only “progressive-minded Canadians” like himself value “equality, justice and opportunity,” and a compassionate society that “shares its benefits more fairly.”
This has always been the approach of the NDP to issues of governance: They’re on the side of the angels. Everyone else is heartless, greedy and short-sighted.
Yeah geez! Just because you agreed with Harris slashing welfare. Just because you believe that ALL refugees should be treated like liars and chiselers. Just because you ARE heartless, greedy and short-sighted, it's just not fair that you're looked at that way! Look. Toronto Sun, You ARE a bunch of stupid assholes. Deal with it. Stop fucking whining about it. The policies you endorse, the politicians you support, are all about trampling on the poor and rewarding the rich. Don't pretend otherwise.
But there’s a problem with compassion when it ignores the public’s ability to pay, because then it no longer serves the interests of the public it claims to serve.
All right, let's get this out of the way right now. By "the public's ability to pay" you're trying to refer to all taxpayers, and you're trying to tell the secretaries and the forklift operators making less than $30,000 a year that it's their tax dollars that Jack and other progressives are trying to squander on the welfare cheats and the illegal immigrants. But the fact of the matter is that the bulk of tax revenues used to come from the wealthy and the corporations. When people making the average income in Canada (between $25-30,000 annually) subtract the services they receive from government, they find that very little of their incomes go to the progressive policies that the Sun decries. At least, that used to be the case. Until successive Conservative and Liberal governments at both the federal and provincial levels began cutting corporate taxes, and income taxes, and taxes on wealth, and replacing them with consumption taxes, payroll taxes, user fees and debt and downloading. So, right now, John and Jane Q. Public are hurting, but they weren't hurting when Jack Layton was on Toronto City Council.
Of course, wealthy people enjoying lower taxes or avoiding taxes altogether is just one part of the story. In Canada (as in the United States) our whole economy has been restructured to penalize work and reward wealth. Right now, with those wealthy financial sector drones living in Rosedale and Forest Hill ought to be forced to pay more in taxes because for the past three decades, "free trade" deals, automation, down-sizing, speed-ups, etc., etc., has made it harder and harder for Canadians with average incomes to budget with an expectation of steady employment. The wealthy have been making money hand over fist and we, as a country, have nothing to show for it.
Toronto’s budget is in the mess it is today in large part because of the culture of spending cultivated by Layton and his fellow NDPers at City Hall a generation ago.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Toronto's budget is in the mess it is today not in large part, but ALMOST ENTIRELY because stupid fucking Rob Ford voluntarily decided to cut Toronto's revenue. There was a surplus left by Dennis Miller. That isn't a "mess" by any standard. Now, of course, The Sun could argue that the vehicle registration tax and the land transfer tax were unpopular and an excessive burden upon average income earners, but remember that the Miller government finally got the power to raise revenues to make up for the perpetual shortfalls caused by the Harris government's downloading of provincial responsibilities to the municipalities. (Which was, itself, caused by that genius deficit-slayer Paul Martin's reneging on federal contributions to joint federal-provincial programs.) Remember too that the debts and deficits that supposedly made these austerity policies necessary were caused by recessions engineered by the Bank of Canada (with monetarist central banks around the world) to fight inflation by "breaking workers" and thereby protect the savings of corporations and the wealthy.
That all seems to have taken us very far from Jack Layton on Toronto City Council but these things are connected. Layton was working within the context of the Mulroney-led assault on the public sector and the fact that the problems facing Toronto (and other cities by the way) got worse had NOTHING to do with socially conscious city councillors and EVERYTHING to do with the ruinous policies of neo-liberal scum-bags. How could Layton have made a dent in the homeless problem in 1990 when Chretien-Martin and Harris hadn't even gotten started on increasing the problem?
They saw municipal government as an instrument of social change and wealth redistribution. Passing symbolic motions on nuclear disarmament excited them far more than picking up the trash and plowing the roads in winter.
We're so steeped in garbage culture and analysis that you probably didn't recognize right away that "social change" "symbolic notions of nuclear disarmament" don't have anything to do with the financial mess Toronto is in. It's just standard Toronto Sun diatribe about anything and anything that comes to the swirling miasma that is the thinking of their editorial committee. But, as long as we're on the subject of city politicians engaging in political rhetoric, do you suppose it would be a better use of their time if the brothers Ford and councillor Mammiloti spent less time trading barbs with Margaret Atwood and video-taping lesbians in the battle against anti-Semitism?
As a result, Torontonians have faced higher taxes and user fees to finance often misguided social programs that rarely made a dent in the problems they were supposed to address.
This is rich. Homelessness (one of the problems Layton attacked while a city councillor) had exploded as a direct result of the policies of Chretien-Martin and Mike Harris. Layton couldn't have been expected to make a dent in problems caused by larger provincial, national, and international forces. But he WAS trying to respond to a crisis generated by amoral assholes cheered on by assholes such as the Toronto Sun. (Remember the little bit about why progressives don't think much for the right-wing's morals or humanity? There's evidence for our contempt right there. The SUN decrying Jack Layton's attempts to keep people made homeless by Toronto Sun-backed policies from freezing to death in the streets.)
Oh yeah, and the newspaper that backed Mike Harris to the hilt bitching about user-fees? Priceless.
There are practical and financial limits to what even a city as large and prosperous as Toronto can or should do.
Especially when it's ripped off by both higher levels of government. But you right-wing lying fucks are forever going on about the "limits of government." Unless it means spending one-fucking-billion dollars to beat and jail protesters or ten billion dollars to kill Afghans, or $35 billion to pay for fighter-jets to fight the Ruskies, or whatever other stupid-ass things you morons like.
The primary job of local government is to address local issues. To ensure pot holes are filled, public infrastructure kept in a state of good repair.
Instead, Layton and the left focused on “soft services,” a never-ending array of social programs purportedly serving the needy and disadvantaged, as they defined them.
"Never-ending"? Hyperbole surely! Actually, complete bullshit. But what does one expect from a shitty tabloid that puts the innumerate ravings of an idiot like Sue-Ann Levy on its goddamned cover?
By so doing, the city created an ever-expanding bureaucracy, including a homeless industry funded largely by property taxpayers.
No, you stupid fuck-faces, Chretien-Martin and Harris created the homeless industry. So piss-off. All you're doing is banging away at your keyboards, stringing together the usual right-wing matra about how we can't afford to feed and house people in one of the richest countries on earth. Fuck you.
But there is nothing compassionate about holding seniors on fixed incomes to ransom to pay for homeless programs that don’t fix homelessness.
Seniors on fixed incomes were the baby seals of the anti-inflation zealots. (Rather than index their pensions to inflation it's better to "break workers" and ratchet up the government debt by a couple hundred-billion, right?) Now they're the poor victims of the nefarious homeless lovers. How's about this Toronto Sun? Raise taxes on the wealthy and the corporations (who have more money than they know what to do with) and reduce homelessness to the level it was at in the 1970s, and leave pensioners alone. And stop blaming everything on the people trying to clean up YOUR goddamned messes!
There is nothing equitable about forcing taxpayers to finance a unionized city work force, with far higher pay, superior benefits and job security compared to similar jobs in the private sector.
Good one assholes! Scum-bags! Back politicians and policies that toady to corporate Canada to drag-down wages and incomes and then cry crocodile tears for the private-sector working class over the gap between their wages and public-sector workers. But did'ja ever figure out that the increased income insecurity and increasing levels of household debt have helped to sink the North American economy dip-shits? Do you think that destroying the last areas of decent paying jobs might have an adverse effect on the larger economy? Or are you just the mindless corporate shills that you appear to be? (Don't answer. I already know you are and I already know you'll try some pathetic lying to deny it.)
Many city programs that continued year after year were started up without adequate long-term funding, or plans to review their effectiveness.
As opposed to the policies of your hero, Rob Ford? Fuck you.
All that contributed over time to a city operating budget that has ballooned to almost $10 billion annually, from which $774 million must be cut next year alone, to balance the books.
You know, if it wasn't for the fact that your moronic hero, Rob "No cuts. Guaranteed." Ford had paid $45,000 to KPMG to talk to city staff and find out that there was NO GRAVY and now you and your stupid hero are talking about closing libraries, I'd take you seriously. Actually, that isn't true. I would never take you dumb-fucks seriously for anything, ever.
Well, I think it's been established that the Toronto Sun are a bunch of lazy-minded, lying, selfish, self-pitying assholes without even the tatters of credibility hiding their awful intellectual nakedness. You backed Mike Harris and Rob Ford. Two of the biggest disasters this city has ever seen. And you still back them. THEY created most of the problems Toronto is facing. Your half-assed attempt to blame Rob Ford's problems on the recently-deceased Jack Layton is not just sickening, it's putridly wrong.
In his farewell letter, Layton urged us to be “loving, hopeful and optimistic” and “we’ll change the world.”
Fine sentiments. But unless they’re accompanied by fiscal responsibility, that change won’t be for the better.