Responding to Joe responding to Phil

Posted on March 30, 2012


This will be my very last comment on London politics I will ever make on this site and that is a promise that’ll be easy to keep.

London’s Mayor Joe Fontana responded in a blog post to another blog post by London based journo Phil McLeod. In his post, the mayor defends his sorry record of tax freezes and job losses but finally unveils his strategy of reversing the tide and bringing 10,000 jobs to London.

His strategy is ingenious in its simplicity. Here it is: “if I have to say it every day for the next 19 months in order for it to happen then I am prepared to do just that.”

Dorothy only had to say it three times and she was back in Kansas … SOMEBODY GET THE MAYOR A PAIR OF RUBY SLIPPERS STAT!!!!

What the mayor doesn’t tell us, and what may be privy only to some at the Harmony Buffet, is just what those thousands of new employees will be doing. Where will the demand to create all these shiny new London jobs originate?

Forget for a moment the silly nonsense spouted by conservative politicians and allied nutbars of all sorts and stripes. Instead, think back to your grade 10 economics class and the laws of supply and demand. If you stop spending, demand decreases, and employers layoff or cut wages or both. The increase in the labour pool allows even profitable businesses to layoff and cut compensation à la Caterpillar.

So, really, the Mayor’s tax freeze is far more likely doing harm to the economy than helping. How great is a tax freeze if you can’t pay them anyway? But now add Uncle Joe’s gift of minor austerity to budget cuts at the provincial level and Little Joe Flaherty’s gutting of the Canadian economy–by permanently removing 10s of billions of dollars from productive capacity and squirreling it away into non-productive assets like prisons and jets, or throwing it away at no-strings-attached tax give-aways to Caterpillar and other foreign corporations–and, well, that spiral you see is your economic future rushing down the drain.

But what if Joey suddenly had a change of heart? What if he awoke tomorrow morning and said to himself, “hey, why am I nickel and diming kids and screwing over the homeless when I could far more easily fund a pay hike with a tax increase?”

The job song remains the same: what will all those folks employed along the mythical 401 corridor be doing?

You see, Joe may have missed it while attending all those committee meetings, but the global economy has hit the skids. Canadians haven’t seen an increase in disposable income since Reagan announced it was morning in America and put a knife between the shoulders of a union that backed his presidency and bid them goodnight. So instead of buying our McMansions and SUVs that we filled with crap made in China from the surplus of our bank accounts, we instead did it with the equity in our homes or the grease on our plastic and the end result is we’re too broke and deep in debt to buy ourselves out of the slump even if that were possible.

So what’s the mayor of Canada’s biggest little town to do?

Invite the Occupiers back into Victoria Park, Mr. Mayor, and camp out with them. Because until we recognize that our interests lie with each other and within our communities and not with invisible investors who could care less if we live or die, we will remain trapped in a spiral until our cities are washed down the drain with all the other expendable peoples and communities that are surplus to the requirements of the so-called global economy.

Stop working for the 1%, Joe. It was the 99% that brung ya to this dance.

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