In June, 2008, I wrote about how democracy relies upon the good behaviour of its citizens for its continued existence (see Wax Seals & Democracy). When I wrote that piece, I had no idea that Ontario's democratically elected government would take its first step towards a communist-style planned economy, nor that the US Government would also take its first baby steps in pursuit of Castro-like communism. Readers may believe that I am exaggerating, or jumping to conclusions; but, let's look at the facts:
In both cases, the respective government has engaged in coercion; an activity that is supposed to be out of bounds in a democracy.
In Canada, we have so-called socialised medicine. In other words, the government provides legal residents with basic health care. While every province in Canada offers its legal residence such coverage, and while the federal government provides some of the funding for this coverage, health care is a provincial jurisdiction. The Ontario Government, like its provincial counterparts, is struggling with rising health case costs. This rise has two causes: an aging population, and government policy. As toadies to populism, Ontario politicians have decided to continue to offer unlimited amounts of health care; instead of capping coverage.
Limiting coverage will cause the majority of voters to be unhappy; so, rather than uphold Canada's free market economy, they have chosen to "give them cake". In a free market economic system, where the government agrees to provide some measure of health care, that "measure" of health care has limits. Nay-Sayers pounce on such limits and declare that this means society is putting a price on health/life; but, since none of us — individually or collectively— has unlimited funds at their disposal, there is nothing wrong with limiting health care spending.
What the Ontario Liberals should have done was to limit the amount of money the province would spend on each particular drug. This would have meant that if the drug companies chose to sell that drug for more than the province would pay, then the consumer would have had to make up the difference. Instead, the Liberal Party has passed a law that sets the market price for each drug.
Soviet Russia tried for 70 years to make a planned economy succeed. It was a dismal failure. In fact, it was such a failure that the Soviets had to make to also illegal to leave the country; otherwise everyone would have abandoned ship and moved to the West. Now, Ontario politicians think they can make such a system work.
Insanity can be defined as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". Clearly, the Ontario Liberals are insane.
Like many jurisdictions in North America, housing rental rate increases are capped; and, increases over the legislated cap are subject to individual review. While this mechanism is well intentioned, it is wrong; it is yet another brick in the wall of Soviet-styled communism. That said, in Ontario, landlords were historically able to obtain exceptional rate increases when their real costs went up. Enter the Ontario Liberals (read, "communists"). They have worked hard over the past several years to ensure that electricity costs (and rates) have increased. In addition, the Liberals enacted changes to the sales tax structure that will cause Ontario residents to pay more sales tax,
Like other residents, landlords pay sales tax. Historically, some landlords have included electricity costs in the rental rate; that is, the tenant can consume as much electricity as they desire, and the landlord pays for all the electricity consumed. Both such increases are real increases in a landlord's costs; however, the Ontario Liberals have passed a law that says that these real increases are not sufficient justification for increasing the rental rate of a property.
The only conclusion one can draw from this action is that the Liberals are so drunk with power that they actually believe that they are able to repeal the calculation of profit and loss.
The USA is attempting to deal with their own health care crisis: too many American residents have no health care coverage. President Obama was elected on a platform that included fixing this problem; however, the solution his government has enacted doesn't actually provide any additional health care. The US Democratic Party solution to the problem is to make it illegal to not purchase health insurance.
It is true that one reason health insurance rates are so high is that young, healthy adults generally do not purchase such insurance; however, punishing those young people by fining them if they don't purchase insurance doesn't actually solve the root problem. This coercion is not democratic.
A large factor in the US mistake was a desire on President Obama's part to implement a "big fix"; that is, solve the entire problem in a single Presidential Term (which really meant, solving it before mid-term elections). It would have been much better to take a baby-step or two and slowly solve the problem; but, that isn't the way to score brownie-points with the electorate.
On both sides of the forty-ninth parallel, citizens need to get engaged in the electoral process and put their current leaders out on their ear. There is no cause for Canadian and US leaders to behave in this undemocratic manner; but, it is the easy way out, and politicians specialise in "easy ways". There is an old saying that goes, "The path of least resistance makes crooked rivers and crooked men." Unfortunately, we are seeing that lived out in both countries.