Over the past couple of decades the gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening. CEO’s and presidents of major corporations are able to enjoy their millions and millions of dollars in pay and bonuses, while the lower class families and workers are struggling to pay their bills or to buy groceries for their families. We live in Canada, one the world’s wealthiest nations, but 18% of employed Canadians are making less than $17,000 a year; that is 1 in 5 employed Canadians earning below the poverty line. In Canada for a one single person household the poverty line is $18,000 a year.
This can be attributed to numerous factors such as social immobility, globalization, more advanced technology and taxation. We are seeing the lower and middle class families faithfully paying taxes while the rich are able to avoid paying their taxes without so much as a slap on the wrist. In order to close this widening gap we need to see a drastic shift in policy making and the changing of priorities from government leaders, such as creating more jobs and having re-training programs and lowering the taxes on the poor and raising taxes on the rich.
Part of the reason why the gap between the rich and the poor can be attributed to globalization and information technology, not only this but “government policies are not doing enough to bridge the difference”, the results are a growing chasm between the rich and the poor. Globalization has resulted in most the jobs held by the lower and lower middle class and the lower class people to be being outsourced to other countries where there are loose implementation of laws regarding no laws dictating the minimum wage creating cheap and labour is significantly cheaper.
This outsourcing of jobs led to a greater gap in 2008 when more companies moved high paid manufacturing jobs offshore. Also information technology has eliminated jobs such as filing or administration, forcing more workers into an early retirement. In order to narrow this growing gap the government needs to focus more on creating more jobs and investing more time in job re-training programs for people who were laid off performing a specialized trade like those in an assembly line production.
Especially to the factory workers who spent most of their lives doing one specific task, their there needs to be a government implemented training programs that allows them to be able to widen their future job opportunities. Statistics Canada showed that in August of this year over 35,000 new jobs were created and in September 52,100 jobs were created, but the unemployment percentage went up by one-tenths of a percent going up to 7. % of Canadians remain unemployed. A majority of the jobs created were in the private sector and for full-time employment, however at least two thirds of the created jobs were in the self employed category, jobs that are significantly lower paying and less productive. It is extremely unusual to see an influx of job opportunities and a rise in the unemployment rate in the same month, so why did something like this happen?
Most of the new workers being hired are replacing the aging workforce, mostly freshly graduated students. The major corporations are finding it cheaper to lay off their experienced workers then and to hire and train inexperienced graduates. Because of this short-sightedness many middle aged peoples are left jobless without a way to take care of their families, while the corporations get to save millions of dollars. This is only one factor that accounts for the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
In light of these statistics it is clear that the corporations are only interested in keeping their money cutting expenses, and the government “is restraining their spending, but [there] is room [… ] to grow”. Instead of restraining their spending the government instead needs to allocate their budget in a more efficient and productive manner, such as investing in creating more jobs and implementing re-training programs and facilities, which would not only help people become eligible for more jobs but also help the weak construction industry if this is implemented nationwide.
Another program that could be implemented could be ways that could help the poorer communities become more productive as a whole, like having an initiative to do more urban farming. Employing and teaching people to grow and sell produce to local food stores. This could be another way that the poor can have an income or to alleviate the monetary stress of buying groceries. Another way to lessen the gap is to increase taxes on the rich while lowering the taxes on the poor, for example if you make over $100,000 a year you should be taxed more than somebody who makes $20,000 a year.
As of now the Federal tax rates in Canada is that 15% is taxed on the first $42,707 of taxable income plus 22% on the next $42,707 and so on. This should be changed so that instead of being taxed on how much money goes into your account but on your salary. The rich also are notorious for having reputations as tax evaders, not only should tax agencies be stricter towards the rich who have money to spare, but they should also cut some slack towards the lower and lower middle class families.
In 2011 over seven thousand millionaires did not pay any federal tax income in the United States of America, not only this but over two thirds of major corporations in the States did not pay any federal taxes in the year 2011. The same is true for Canada; Prime Minister Harper is so focused on lowering the taxes on corporations that he is neglecting the fact that the corporations are already squeezing the life out of the average Canadian citizen.
On the other hand Brian Topp, former president of the NDP has proposed a series of tax hikes on corporations and the rich, Topp’s proposals could see over $18 billion in tax breaks if enacted under the Conservative government. In his proposal he states that the income inequality in Canada is as bad as it was in the 1920s. If Topp’s proposal is enacted the $18 billion in tax breaks comes from the” tax benefits that the conservative government is giving to corporations and wealthy individuals” the people who least need the government’s assistance.
In conclusion, because things factors like globalization and more advanced information technology are eliminating thousands of jobs across Canada that the gap between the rich and the poor in slowly growing into an impassable chasm. But if the government raised the priority given to programs like job retraining for those who were laid off and focused more on creating jobs in Canada, for Canadians instead of outsourcing jobs like manufacturing to places like China, Mexico or Chile, we could see a marginal decrease of in the inequality of the wealth between the rich and the poor.
Furthermore, if the government sets its eyes on making the corporations work for Canada, instead of Canada working for the corporations and raising the taxes on the wealthy and cutting the billions poured into benefitting the rich, then Canada can slowly become what we have been advertising to the world a country where everybody is equal.