Money Changes Everything



I said, yeah, I know... but when we said it
there was one thing we weren't
thinking of
and that's money.
Money changes everything.

How did Canada become so unequal? That was the question asked in Carol Goar's op-ed column in last Wednesday's Toronto Star (link):

Most Canadians think they live in one of the fairest, most equitable countries in the industrial world. They believe their social programs are generous by international standards.

That was true until the mid-1990s. It isn't now.

Canada spends less on social programs than most of the 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We ranked 26th in a survey published last fall.

Income inequality is rising in Canada faster than in any other member of the OECD, even the United States. We have come to exemplify the winner-take-all capitalism we once forswore.
I wouldn't want to be poor in a time and place like this. It's bad enough being a literacy worker. I and many of my colleagues continue to subsidize our programs from our own pockets. It's the kind of thing that makes me crazy stingy thrifty.

For example: I wanted to go to a conference on early literacy. Then, a friend pointed out the small print. The cost to attend - excluding accommodations, etc. - was roughly a week's salary. Now I want to stay home.

Meantime, we're looking at a reduced summer literacy program. A major funder has suspended charitable giving for the next 6 to 8 months due to depressed investment returns.

I'm hoping to have a fulltime job in literacy in the fall, but the provincial government's spend less, tax less strategy is putting clouds on that horizon too.

Which explains why I go all grumpy when people assign literacy work to the volunteer sector. I'm not a volunteer - at least, I didn't mean to be. I work in the social services sector, and I expect to get paid. Ideally, I'll get paid with money raised through the progressive taxation of wealth.

But the rich think progressive taxes are unfair, and they own the news and entertainment medias (as well as the lower and upper houses).

Over at Literacies last week, the valiant folks wrote (link):
Sorry for not posting as promised last week. I got a little bogged down. We were making our last attempt to try to describe Literacies in terms that might get OLES to look at funding the journal again. We wrote and wrote and talked and talked but we could not get there.
But we could not get there.

Yeah, well. You tell 'em, Cyndi. No apology owed, Literacies. Money changes everything.

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