Let’s say for a moment that you live pay check to pay check. You can pay for what you need and a few of your wants. One day you wake up and think to yourself that you really care for the environment, so you’d like to be able to reduce your daily commute by moving closer to your downtown job so you can walk or bike to work.
Living downtown is more expensive than where you live now, so changes will need to be made to afford the move should you choose to follow through with this dream. You may have to cut back your budget for your wants such as dinners out or other social activities. You may decide to sell your car so you aren’t tied to insurance or gas purchases. You could also look at picking up an extra job to make more money, but this will eat up a portion of your free time. The bank could loan you money, but if you never make alterations to free up funds to pay back the loan this will result in larger long term issues such as bankruptcy.
The majority of adults understand the concepts outlined above. There are lots of things in our personal lives that we would like to be able to afford, but to make those wants a reality we have to make changes and sacrifices.
The government is no different. Each political party has a number of changes they would like to make for the Canadian people. Politicians will try to sell you on these changes, their dreams for our country.
I see many of my friends and coworkers buying into those dreams, “I like how [insert political party leader here] says that he will [insert political promise here], and that is why I am voting for that party.”
Making statements such as this is like saying, “I really like the idea of moving downtown so that I can walk to work everyday.” Sure, that sounds like a lovely idea, but how are you going to afford that?
It is our job as responsible voters to understand how each party leader is planning to pay for the dreams that they are putting forward. Perhaps they are looking at slashing budgets from other government programs; perhaps they are looking at imposing new taxes. No matter what the dream, there will be an associated cost.
These costs aren’t necessarily bad. You may be totally comfortable with the government cutting funding for a certain group of programs or creating new taxes, but for the love of all that is holy, please understand how they are planning on making their dreams come true.
Strive to understand all of the implications of the plans they are putting in place. Do not just stop at saying, “I won’t pay that tax or use that government program, so I don’t care if they make that change.” Our economy is a complex beast. Even the best economists cannot fully predict how a change to one area will affect the rest of the economic landscape, but do some research to see what other people, media outlets, and experts are predicting.
If a political party is making promises without putting a plan forward as to how they will achieve their dreams, you should be concerned. There have been numerous occasions where governments (from the left and right) are voted in and shortly thereafter admit that they cannot follow through on their promises due to them having overlooked some aspect of the bigger picture.
We all have different desires for our personal lives, just as we all have different opinions on what we would like our government to do for the country. Politicians can try to sell you hopes and dreams that may sound wonderful to you, but please do strive to understand their plan to achieve those dreams. There will be costs associated with the plans that any of the parties are putting forward; are you going to be comfortable with those costs?
Just some food for thought before you head to the polls tomorrow.