Scrap nanny state and return our cash

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The Article

So much fuss over so little in the Conservatives’ first federal budget.

Two points come to mind—the tampering with personal taxation and the slight modification in childcare spending.

In fact, the answer to both problems is entirely obvious and is found in one measure: Cut income tax by 30% immediately.

Scrap the baby bonus just as we have scrapped socialized daycare and allow parents, along with non-parents and anybody and everybody else, to choose to do what they want with their money. Because it is, yes, their money.

The daycare fetish is merely one example of our sorry dependency on the state. We hand over our money to people who happen to have jobs in the civil service or have managed to find a seat in Parliament, often through vulgar ambition rather than ability, and ask them to use that money to raise our children.

If a law were passed tomorrow asking us to do the same with our pets, there would be outrage.

But the daycare nonsense is really no different from the other tentacles of the grasping octopus that is government control. There are certain societal needs that require a mass tax base and communal support—defence and law and order being the most obvious. Perhaps publicly funded health care as well.

But for the most part, we ought to have our money given back to us and be allowed to spend it on whatever we like. We may make bad choices or good choices—but choice, so we are told by the left, is a basic human right.

There are the obvious areas of tax abuse, such as tendentious and political arts funding, competing public broadcasters and government corruption and inefficiency, all of which should go.

We need, however, to go deeper and deal not just with the ripples but with the lake itself.

Public education is a good example. It is anachronistic. In other words, it was introduced at a time when illiteracy and child labour were pressing issues. It was a teaching solution but has become a social tool. It has outlived its usefulness and should be scrapped, abolished, thrown into the waste bin of history.

Nobody could seriously argue that educational standards have improved in the past 20 years or are improving now.

Knowledge, curiosity and reading and writing skills are all in decline and these failures have about as much to do with classroom sizes as teachers’ strikes have to do with caring for kids.

Critics will argue that ending public funding of education would somehow benefit the wealthy. The thing is, the wealthy already benefit. They may pay more tax, but they earn far more money, they employ accountants who understand the technicalities of tax “avoidance,” they can afford private schools—and they live in places where the local public schools are infinitely superior to those in less affluent areas.

Give mum and dad back their cash and allow them to choose the school and the teachers they want, and pay for them directly.

Give money back to mom and dad—or that new Canadian saint, the single mom—and allow choice for daycare or nanny or remaining home with the children or anything else.

As was so often the case, Pierre Trudeau and his acolytes got it wrong. It’s not about getting the state out of the bedroom but getting the state out of the bank account.

Stop telling us that Paul Martin or Stephen Harper has a right to our money and knows better how to spend it than we do.

Freedom. What a novel idea.

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