As I watched Diane Finlay’s (Human Resources Minister), announcement on EI reforms being pushed by the Harper regime, it became increasingly obvious that what they’re doing is pushing the corporate yoke on Canadians even further, and at the same pushing them into abject poverty and servitude.
It’s no exaggeration to say that with every announcement, every proposal, they demonstrate their complete subjugation to mega corporations and banks, and almost exclusively at the expense of you and me, the regular citizen.
The details revealed yesterday pretty much match the announcement made today, and it’s pretty terrifying what they’re putting into place. One of the major pieces of this is that Canadians will now be forced to take work that fits their skill set (paraphrased), and is within 70% to 80% of their average income.
So let’s say you were working an office job, or are in seasonal work, and find yourself laid off. You’ve been paying into the system (more money than you’ll ever be able to collect — heaven forbid YOU should benefit from your own labour!), and now need some assistance. The government will now require you to take a lower-paying job if it fits your skills (you can flip burgers, can’t you?), and is within 1 hour of your home (extra commuting doesn’t cost you any more, does it?).
Now you’ve got your lower-earning job, potentially farther away, and it doesn’t matter if you were living on the borderline of debt. So if you can’t make your monthly payments on your credit card or loan or whatever, you’re kinda fucked. Government says, “too bad”, it’s what you deserve for being laid off (if it’s in your control you get no benefits at all).
But it gets worse because your average income is now lower. While you may have been earning $60,000 last year, because of these changes you’re now earning $45,000 a year so your average income is now $52,500. Now if you’re laid off again (and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a dramatic increase in this — the government will see to it), you have to take a job that pays around $39,400.
Repeat this for a number of years and pretty soon the government will expect everyone to work for minimum wage. Typically it’ll take about 9 to 10 years to halve someone’s salary, especially if they’re dependent on seasonal work in provinces that have few other alternatives. And even in provinces that do, this is a great incentive to drop salaries — eventually, the government will force people to work for a pittance so why not?
Using that $60,000 per year example, that would take about 30 years. Here’s the math (note that each year we take the average pay):
Year 1 – $60,000 x 75% = $45,000
Year 2 – ($45,000 + $60,000) / 2 x 75% = $52,500
Year 3 – ($45,750 + $ 52,500 + $60,000) / 3 x 75% = $39,362
Year 4 – ($39,362 + $45,750 + $ 52,500 + $60,000) / 4 x 75% = $37,052
Year 5 – ($37,052 + $39,362 + $45,750 + $ 52,500 + $60,000) / 5 x 75% = $35,199
Year 6 – ($35,199 + $37,052 + $39,362 + $45,750 + $ 52,500 + $60,000) / 6 x 75% = $33,732
Year 7 – ($33,732 + $35,199 + $37,052 + $39,362 + $45,750 + $ 52,500 + $60,000) / 7 x 75% = $32,527
Year 30 – $22,836
So after 30 years of service to the corporate economy, you can expect to be getting close to minimum wage (if unchanged from today).
This assumes, of course, that the average income is calculated since the beginning of this system. If the term is limited, say 5 years, the income shrinks more quickly. And what about those “penalties for repeat users”? That hasn’t been fleshed out but you can bet it’ll make the slippery slope down to serfdom even faster.
In any event, no part of this will benefit workers or their families unless they happen to luck out with generous companies (how realistic is that?).
In the meantime, we can likely expect the Harper government to bend over backwards for banks (who are already robbing us blind), and huge corporations who will undoubtedly benefit greatly from slave labour.