(Photo courtesy of Rick Stiebel)

Rickter Scale: The two cents worth solution

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

If the crushing weight of your credit card has you pondering the plaster overhead, you’re losing sleep over something that doesn’t faze our provincial government one lost wink.

Why worry if you’re one more missed mortgage or car payment away from joining the ranks of homeless pedestrians when our fearless leaders don’t appear to give a rodent’s rump about our exploding national debt?

The average working-class hero in this country is roughly $22,000 in the red, with that total climbing to $71,300 if they’re lucky enough to be buried alive under a long-term mortgage. The silver lining in that financial storm cloud is that amount of debt is chump change compared to the $69,295,475,797.58 the B.C. government is on the hook for, according to taxpayer.com.

Meanwhile back at the federal ranch, as of July 18, our great Canadian deficit sits at a staggering $691,496,760,992.41. If you think that’s scary, maybe you should skip to the next paragraph before reading that total climbs at the rate of $54,246,575.43 a day. Or roughly what it costs to purchase 100 Rolls Royce Phantoms every 24 hours.\

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If that has you feeling a little queasy about exactly where the hell we’re headed, fear not because I’m pleased to present for your pecuniary perusal a proposal that will address the bottomless pit of money we owe.

We’ll call it the two per cent solution, a life raft designed to erase a little of the sea of red ink we’re floundering away in with no shoreline in sight. To kick the plan into action, I will grudgingly donate two per cent of my meagre wages, as long as I’m guaranteed it will go toward downing our debt. And, as long as our fearless elected leaders in Victoria agree to follow suit. Asking our MLAs to scrape by on a few pesos less than the $111,024.19 a year they currently command would be tough love. It is doable, however, simply by trimming a little fat from expense packages the working poor can only fantasize about. Converting most politicians may be easier than you think because they know can always re-inflate their salaries with the stroke of a pen. Voters could exert enough pressure on the old ballot box, however, to compel our Ledgers to kick in some coin to placate folks who punch their pillows between toss and turns worrying about how much our grandchildren will have to pony up just to keep their heads above the waterline. Who knows, maybe some corporations with a conscience will buy into my payback plan as well.

Launching the two per cent solution would be marginally foolproof because we already pay for the Ministry of Finance to handle the math. We won’t have to deal with the expense of a two-year study, the burden of lunches for new committees, or hire more bureaucrats with newly minted job descriptions to get the plan up and running.

For a mere $150,000 a year – a reasonable salary for me, your new B.C. Minister of Debt Reduction – we could get started tomorrow.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


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