Recommended Reading – Thursday, May 10th

May 10, 2012 by

Politicians’ Pension Plans Aren’t The Only Problem (Fraser Institute)

“Pay and pensions are always no-win minefields for politicians but here’s the problem when anyone thinks about that issue in isolation: it misses the massive price tag that exists for the entire public sector, of which political compensation, transition allowances and retirement benefits are only one component.

Politicians are part of a much larger public sector and the debate should always focus on this: what governments should or should not do (and from which the size of the public sector then flows); what is affordable for taxpayers; and private and public sector comparisons.”  (Click here to read more)

The Green Plague (Frontier Centre)

“The production and use of biofuel produces more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels do when factoring in direct and indirect land-use change and nitrous oxide emissions from the production process.

The agriculture intensification necessary to maintain corn-ethanol feedstock will contaminate water systems with excess nutrients from fertilizer run-off. These nutrients, through a process called eutrophication, create hypoxic zones that are devoid of oxygen such as in the Gulf of Mexico and increasingly in Lake Winnipeg. These zones destroy marine ecosystems and harm local anglers.

Biofuel production is far more water inefficient than fossil fuel is. The irrigation required to grow feedstock on more-marginal land as production expands will put increasing strain on freshwater stocks—a commodity of increasing demand and scarcity.”  (Click  here to read more)

The People Are Entitled To Their Entitlements  (Publius)

“When the welfare state was being set up in the middle decades of the twentieth century its political backers came to an awkward conclusion: It wasn’t that popular. Certainly continental Europeans, accustomed to centuries of paternalism, had little problem with getting free stuff from the government. English speaking peoples are more individualistic. Their initial reaction to the welfare state was revulsion. Getting free stuff was immoral, you should work for what you receive. Anything else was charity, which was something only the desperately needy should ever accept or be given.

Shrewdly the welfare state’s pitchmen sold their ideas as a social contract. Whether it was Social Security in the United States, or CPP in Canada, these were earned benefits. As a citizen you paid into the state and in return the state provided certain benefits. This principle was later expanded to health care and post-secondary education. The math never really added up. People wound up paying either far more into the system than they ever got out, by virtue of a progressive tax system, or they consumed far more than they every paid in.

This new social contract also missed an essential element, it must be voluntary. You cannot consent to a contract at gun point. These were collectivized ponzi schemes which relied upon an ever expanding population and rapidly growing economy. Ironically the welfare state killed both, increasing taxes to a level that discouraged economic growth and larger families.

While the economic madness of the welfare state is now being exposed, it’s psychological damage may take decades to correct. We now have three generations of Canadians who believe that the government owes them something, whether by virtue of their birth or through coerced contribution. Old, young or somewhere it between, it is mindset that will breed statism of one kind or another for much of the foreseeable future.”  (Click here to read more)

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