2014-05-27

End CBC, VIA Rail and Print Subsidies

Canadians are fat and lazy. And yet we use sales tax dollars collected
from poor people's gym memberships, bicycles, sneakers and basketballs
(and income tax on their meagre salaries) to pay for things like
television, paper books and paper magazines.

Everybody benefits from socialised healthcare and education. We are
surrounded by poor people and it is quite useful that they not infect
us with tuberculous or put rat poison in our food instead of salt
(when you can't read, that becomes and honest mistake). We don't have
those things because we are generous. We have them because we are
selfish. Indeed, you could argue that being a progressive social
democrat is an act of selfishness. And I'm OK with that.

What I'm not OK with is bad public policy. Subsidised single family
dwellings via government guaranteed mortgages, for example. Subsidised
books are an other. The biggest cost in a book is the container
(printing and distributing it), and yet we subsidise them despite the
obviously cheaper alternative: ebooks.

We inexplicably subsidise rail transportation despite having plenty of
room for busses on our roads and airports that are nowhere near
capacity.

We subsidise Canadian magazines but not Canadian websites. How does
that make sense? And why are we subsidising the written word in the
first place? And TV? TV! Really! Is there anything of social value
gleaned from a nationally focused medium that painfully ignores local
issues and culture that are better served by local radio, theatre,
live bands and newspapers/websites?

Sure, the upper-middle class pay a lot of taxes. But by placating them
with things like the CBC, subsidised Maclean's and Via Rail, we are
helping them ignore the real mystery of federal spending: 28 billion
dollars a year on the military despite Canada having no enemies.

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