Economy hitting sour notes

Economics is, for me, a symphony of numbers, and sometimes the sounds are as foul as nails on a chalkboard. In the last 10 days, the economy and the governments who try in vain to conduct those numbers have hit some painfully sour notes.

Note 1: In Canada, the rich are getting richer

So let me get this straight. Top 3.8% of households control 67% of Canada’s wealth

If ten people (aka population) living in a common space (aka country) had $100 (aka GDP) between them, 4 of them would share $67.00 while the remaining 6 would have to live with the mere leftover $33. How long would that last? Even Adam Smith himself would expect his “invisible hand” to even up that score somehow. But because we have a structural economic wealth distribution problem, this seems to be a trend that’s only getting worst. It’s like a monopoly game gone insane. Except it’s not monopoly. It’s real life.

Note 2: In Canada, the poorest children are falling behind

For this argument’s sake, imagine our country now has 100 people. It’s dinner time. The grown ups eat so much they waste food while 10% of the kids go hungry. Suddenly, I’ve lost my appetite. One in ten children in this country live in poverty. Poverty means hunger. Hunger means pain. For a country where health care and education is provided by the state, this is a despicable statistic. But it’s more than a statistic, it’s the sign of an economy that doesn’t work. It’s neither an efficient nor effective allocation of resources. Demand yes. Supply. Not so much.  It’s a failure.

Note 3: Obama plans to extend tax cuts to the rich – this one nearly blew my ear drums

I don’t know what to think. Except for this. The notion that killing the tax cuts would kill prosperity. If this is prosperity, I think it’s better off dead.

We desperately need to find a new tune because the sound of poverty and structural economic inequity is deafening. And being rich at the expense of the poor is the cruelest economic model known to man – and surely, none of the people who spend their life’s work studying economics, could possibly sing that refrain. Economics is the study of unlimited wants and limited resources and finding a harmonious equilibrium.

Somehow, I think we’re off key. Way off key.

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