Liberal Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has been caught in yet another whopper of a lie and – as in the past – the victims of his duplicity are those who can least afford it.
Immediately after the last provincial election, McGuinty imposed the worker health care premium, ranging from $300 to $900 a year per worker.
The Premier claimed at the time the premium was to finance improvements in health care.
But that was a bare-faced lie. It turns out the workers’ health-care premium was actually used to finance yet another tax cut for corporations and their wealthy owners.
Now McGuinty is asking the lowest-paid workers in the public sector – such as nursing-home workers typically earning far less than $25,000 a year — to take a four percent cut in real wages.
This time the Premier is claiming the wage cuts are needed to reduce the provincial deficit.
But as Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig so aptly pointed out this week, that wage cut for the neediest of workers will actually finance yet another tax cut for corporations and the billionaires and mega-millionaires who control those corporations.
In recent years the McGuinty government has received kudos from some of the corporate mass media for seemingly significant increases in the minium wage, disability pensions and welfare benefits.
But those were mostly smoke-and-mirrors increases.
First of all, those increases came after the minimum wage and disability pensions had been cruelly frozen for nine years by former Conservative premier Mike Harris, and after welfare benefits had been savagely cut by more than 20 percent and then frozen for nine years.
So all that the seemingly hefty hikes were was a partial catch-up.
The McGuinty Liberal government is much more interested, however, in meeting the illegitimate demands of the greedy than the legitimate requirements of the needy.
It is a simple fact that Ontario spends far more each year on welfare for corporations and their wealthy owners than on “Workfare” for the poor.
And it is a simple fact that the corporate mass media prefers not to report this shocking reality.
Rather than asking low-wage workers to tighten their belts and giving yet another tax cut to corporations and their wealthy controllers, the McGuinty government could do far more for the province’s ailing economy by immediately increasing the minimum wage to at least $11.00 an hour, increasing welfare benefits by 15 percent, increasing disability pensions by 25 percent and increasing workers’ compensation benefits to 95 percent of earnings and making the corporations and their wealthy controllers pick up the tab.
For years, tawdry NeoConservative and NeoLiberal provincial and federal governments have tried to feed the public the sordid line that tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy lead to increased private-sector investment.
That is yet another lie that is not borne out by any realistic data. Cutting taxes for those who can most afford to pay them does not magically unleash money that corporations and the wealthy must be hiding under their king-size TempurPedic mattresses.
The simple reality is that corporations and the wealthy do not stuff their money under their mattresses. Whether they invest the money directly or simplyleave it sitting in some bank, their money is being invested – either by them or by those who borrow others’ savings.
It’s time for Dalton McGuinty to stop the bare-faced lives and start governing Ontario in the best interests of the poor and the working class and not just the interests of the corporations and the rich.