Government corruption is inevitable
Oct 2, 2013 / 5:00 am
The Canada Revenue Agency issued a refund cheque for $381,000 to a man in prison. Not only that, the man owed $1.5 million in back taxes. That man was Nicolo Rizzuto, a Montreal Mafia boss. To think that he might have received this cheque accidentally is patently ridiculous. Therefore, due to the reporting of the CBC, the Canada Revenue Agency is now justly under scrutiny for this egregious, and perhaps criminal, behavior.
At this point, most of us should read this news and say: Yep, that's about right.
The words "government" and "corruption" are so synonymous now that I would be happy to attach them to one another permanently in the Oxford English Dictionary. Our critical failure as a society has been to hold government accountable for this level of corruption, especially when it comes to the already criminal behavior of the Canada Revenue Agency. Has anyone ever dealt with the Tax Man and felt anything other than fleeced, similar to paying for mob protection? Now that I think about it, the cheque might have been payment for advice on how to shake people down for a little extra cabbage whenever possible.
But I digress, only because it is necessary. The simple fact is that an agency that deals in the forcible retrieval of earnings from Canadian citizens is one that might be easily corrupted. The cheque that Rizzuto received, a nearly ludicrous amount of money, is what set off the red flag for everyone. Yet, once we've seen the smoke, it will not be long before the fire emerges. How many more $10,000, $5,000, or $50 cheques have been issued to criminals and the like? Let's not forgot that all of the money the CRA collects is from our earnings. That $381,000 cheque? You paid for it, I paid for it. We all did. Heck, Rizzuto probably threw in a little bit, too. So we'll give him that.
This issue is where I am personally divided over how our current system functions. We give the government the responsibility of enforcement, finances, and the law. All of those powers coupled together also give them the ability to be corrupt, give unearned funds to others, and change the laws to avoid the ramifications of their actions. The only thing that saves us from any kind of tyranny is an entrenched bureaucracy, of which the CRA is paramount, which is far too inefficient to be effective. However, their ineffectiveness is what we pay for on a daily basis.
Take the case of Toronto and the mini-scandal of 30 chairs bought for City Hall. Why would that be an issue? Because the grand total bill for the chairs was a whopping $74,850. That is $2,500 per chair, which is a ridiculous amount. Taxpayers in Toronto, who are struggling enough as it is, foot the bill for those chairs. The person who made the decision to buy those chairs was not attached to the money in any way, therefore that person purchased the chairs because, well, they could.
Would you ever buy a $2,500 dollar chair? Would you ever buy 30 of them? Probably not.
That's where the issue really is, more than anything else. The government receives this money by force, regardless of its performance, because we cannot choose to pay taxes. We pay them, no questions asked, and the money constantly flows into the government and they spend it as they see fit. Whether it's the Federal government, the Provincial government, or the Municipal government, it's a big pile of money that isn't attached to any one person, face, or name. It's a big bowl of cash that's constantly being refilled by us, and we don't question "Why?" often enough.
The Canada Revenue Agency will continue to operate after this event is sorted out and a few people are blamed. Those people will be fired, we hope, and move on. But really, have we fixed the issue? I think we are treating the symptom, not the disease. The disease is a system wherein no one faces any consequences when they lose horrendously large amounts of money at the public's expense. Nearly half a million dollars of our money was given to a criminal, obviously due to corruption.
As economist Thomas Sowell states, "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." That's how our government works. It will work that way no matter whom we elect to office. It cannot be changed, due to the way our broken system operates.
$75,000 was spent on chairs. British Columbia, as a province, owes $129 million in debt alone. The entire country owes over $600 billion. Yet we still have Senators and politicians flagrantly spending taxpayer's money without any real consequences. Even in the case that the consequences were enforced, as was the case with Senator Pamela Wallin. She paid back exactly $138,969, which covered the cost of her falsely claimed expenses in relation to her duties as a Senator.
Now, let's think about this situation. She filed these claims for hotel rooms and basic expenses on top of her current government salary, which is extremely generous. Not only that, but she is also on various corporate advisory boards that has netted her nearly a million dollars in stock options and fees since her appointment as Senator, according to the TheStar.com. Currently, when she is on duty as a Senator, we are also paying for her coffee, her car, her gas, and her flight expenses. We are paying for those, despite the fact that she could reimburse nearly $140,000 without much hesitation.
Should we really be covering the basic expenses of someone who can afford to do that?
We should not be rewarding public service with untold riches. If we create a system where Ottawa becomes the wealthiest city in the nation, and politicians are all millionaires, we'll be no better than any other overly moneyed political system.
That's on us. That's on me, that's on you, that's on every single person from Canada. The public debt we continue to build on to pay politicians, enrich narrow interests, and impoverish the taxpayer is atrocious and never-ending. You know who doesn't have to pay for these debts? The politicians and bureaucrats that created it, due to the fact that they are not held accountable for it. That's why it will keep on happening until we ask one very simple question:
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