Every day, Canadians make decisions that have a huge impact, either positive or negative, on their future lives.
Some decide smoking pot in a park is way more fun than going to Grade 9 math class. Later, they complain that minimum wage isn't enough to live on and that (Amazon founder and multibillionaire) Jeff Bezos is greedy and makes too much money.
Some decide to borrow money to buy a shiny new F150 pick-up truck and a boat rather than putting money into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Then, as seniors, they have insufficient funds to care for themselves and their families.
Some decide tattoos and piercings look awesome then complain when no one will hire them. So they go on Employment Insurance even though every company in the world has a "help wanted" sign out front.
Some decide to have sex without proper contraception and then have to face the consequences of an unwanted child and/or disease management.
Some decide to borrow money to go to university for a degree that will never lead to a decent job and then complain the government won't forgive their student loans.
Some elected officials decide to give raises and bonuses to government employees, in spite of lacklustre performance and poor service levels and who then threaten strike action for even more money and demand the "right" to work from home.
Some decide a new flat screen TV is the ticket to happiness and then complain when they can't find affordable housing.
Some decide to take a pill, a needle or a toke and then complain the government doesn't provide adequate health care or free housing for homeless addicts.
Some decide that just one more beer for the road won't hurt and then kill someone on the way home.
Those of us who paid attention in high school, who saved for retirement, who lived within our means (by saving for what we want and borrowing for what we need), who worked hard for our employers and for our families and who managed the use of alcohol and/or drugs in a responsible way are getting very tired of paying taxes to support those people who made, shall we say, different choices.
This may sound like I'm blaming the victim. Not at all. There are many people who are genuinely disabled or suffering unfortunate circumstances through no fault of their own. A truly caring society has a moral obligation to help them as much as possible.
But I don't consider the people making the decisions listed above to be victims. Maybe that's too judgemental on my part. Maybe I'm not as caring a person as I should be. Perhaps. But whatever happened to our grandmothers' lesson—“You made your bed, now sleep in it?”
I'm not saying I'm perfect. I, too, did some very dumb things at 17 years of age. But, I owned up to every one of those dumb decisions and dealt with the consequences responsibly. We shouldn't have to be judged throughout our entire lives for one lapse in judgement.
However, I'm not sure it's the government's job to constantly bail us out, either. Governments are typically not well-suited to such a role and they often waste a lot of time, energy and money trying to "fix the world".
They try to be all things for all people and often fail miserably, and inevitably get blamed for the effort. Instead, they should stick to their core roles - justice, security and property rights.
It just feels like there are too many hands in my pocket at a time when government debt, inflation, taxes and interest rates are weighing everyone down.
Lloyd Vinish, Kelowna