Jim Horkovich: Olympic lessons | SummitDaily.com

Jim Horkovich: Olympic lessons

Jim Horkovich

My wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Vancouver Olympic Games in person. The games were exciting and the residents of Vancouver as welcoming and gracious as their beautiful city. We look forward to the opportunity to return when it is less crowded. While there, we were able to not only attend a number of Olympic events, watch their excellent television coverage (that put the junk presented by NBC to shame) for events we were not able to attend in person, and to read and watch their national news for over a week. Contrary to the heavenly picture painted by W. Gerald Bird in his recent letter to the editor (March 4th), we found that the tip of the iceberg of failing socialism is rearing its ugly head in Canada.

Their nightly news and daily newspapers were filled with stories of looming budget crises and cuts in education and health care programs because, quite simply, their cradle-to-grave social system is going broke. While in Canada we found 15 percent sales taxes and gasoline priced at $4.25 per gallon (it was $1.12 per liter). Olympic events tickets for “foreigners” started at $150 per ticket and went to over $1,000 a ticket. We also found two-bedroom condominiums in downtown Vancouver selling for over a million dollars. Is this the model Bird recommends we emulate? Emulate as a path to what? Financial ruin?

Robert J. Samuelson in his most recent Newsweek column (March 1, 2010), focuses like a laser on the problem in “The Real Greek Tragedy.” Canada has achieved that nirvana of low birthrates and low immigration, coupled with almost no illegal immigration (after all, the US is the buffer between them and our poorer neighbors to the south). Low birthrates and a rapidly graying (read: retiring baby boomers) population automatically increase the demand for higher and higher government social spending even as the tax revenue base fails to grow at a sufficient pace. The fact is that all cradle-to-grave social programs are fundamentally based on what is essentially a false Ponzi scheme foundation; we will pay tomorrow’s benefits from a growing population and revenue source that can’t grow fast enough. “Almost every advanced country – the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Belgium, and others (the Scandinavian countries) faces some combination of huge budget deficits, high debts, aging populations and political paralysis. It’s an unstable mix. The unpleasant choices now confronting Greece await most of us,” even if we pretend otherwise. The mellow Canadians of W. Gerald Bird’s memory may not be as mellow as he remembers as their ability to fund their “God-given right” to socialized health care collapses given what we saw in the Canadian daily news while attending the best of all Winter Olympics!

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