Fourth Installment. Eggleton and Meades

So the day wore on. I had been eating these industrial muffins and juice for three days because I have been too tired and broke to prepare a lunch. Besides, I had to get my $40 back from these people.

I was hoping they would do sandwiches and chopped vegetable stuff, but that all ran out on the first day. They still had piles of these muffins left over on the third day, and were pleading with people to consume them. They debated taking them outside and handing them to passers by.

"Here folks, have a free gut plugger from Basic Income Canada."

It is now the day after, and I have managed to move a couple of motions today, (no seconders) but it will be several days before my guts are back to normal.

The least useful presentation on the third day was "income security across the life cycle". There were several presenters. Several of them wanted to talk this "poverty strategy" and "targets" language. No doubt they think they are right on track.

It never occurs to them that the corporate governments in Ottawa and most provinces do have a target and strategy and they are probably on track with it. They want more poverty, not less. And they would like the anti-poverty people to stay focused on the wrong targets.

The presenters reviewed the various federal income transfers, showing that most were not really useful. We already knew that incomes have not been rising as fast as expenses. The child benefit has been the most helpful; it really has kept many mothers and children out of poverty.

But other groups are going down. Some people cannot even afford to apply for assistance. They would have to strip away all their assets first. The working Income Tax Benefit is especially unuseful.

Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement provided a de facto guaranteed income for seniors. But Harper is now attacking OAS. It is only going to effect people who are now 54 years and younger. Whew! Just missed it. But its effects on the budget will not kick in until 2023, so how is it a budget cutting measure?

All this would have been better presented at the beginning, so that the people unfamiliar with these concepts could get up to speed before the other presenters.

Dan Meades

Dan wanted to tell us about "Speaking Truth to Power." I could speak some truth about the conceited, sanctimonious attitude inherent in that phrase. Speaking truth to power may make the speakers feel good. It does not get anywhere.

Meadus is from Ontario originally and went out to Alberta for unclear reasons. I am from Alberta and went to Ontario for very clear reasons; so I could get medical care I needed to stay alive. It was also quite dangerous to be an anti-poverty activist in Alberta; they did not just refuse to listen to you, they went after you. Maybe things are changing there now.

He has lots of good lines and good throw-off factlets.

People need to promote their value set aggressively.

It is lazy thinking to suggest that someone else is lazy.

Alberta has the lowest minimum wage and the worst social indicators. The economy is broken and they do not even realize it.

He talked about someone in Alberta who whined that if he had to pay more he would go broke. So Meadus claims to have replied, "You can only make a living by making my neighbor poor? Get out of my city!" He did not say what reaction that got, but I knew some people there who would be whistling up his red neck shit kicker friends to follow you home.

He says, "always political, never partisan." He says that the NDP in Alberta ran on a lower business tax, while the Conservatives ran on poverty reduction. That is not really different from NDP in Ontario. The question is, why do people assume that the NDP is the party for poverty eradication?

He says "if you can't get the local government to fix things, do it without them." That's nice, but very inspecific. Fix what?

He has lots of cheap philosophy, but not much practical how-to. He is about making oneself feel good, not getting anything done in the face of elite control over the police and the courts.

He does have one very good point; the way to get people involved in Anti-Poverty activities is to pay them. Volunteerism is crap, especially in these times. People need to live while they are doing work for social movements.

"You get paid to be here. Why not me?"

Senator Eggleton

Eggie had the worst job of all the presenters. I don't think that is how you keep a potentially strong supporter on line. He was going to sum up all the previous presenters.

However, the mind can only absorb what the ass can endure. We had to sit through four presentations with only 15 minute breaks between them. The other days we at least did not have to go more than two before we went for dinner or went home.

So, people started getting up and leaving, or like me, walking around the back part of the rumble cavern to get blood circulating again. I had to hang around until the end because I wanted to attend the BIEN Canada meeting afterward and they would not give out information about it until the last minute.

Eggie likes the Negative Income Tax. But he also wants to do another mincome experiment, which I think is a very good idea. It would have to be funded by one of the provinces.

Eggie said that a GAI would take a great financial burden off the provinces, which could then turn it to supporting the disabled to work. That is, if they did not turn it into another tax break for the rich.

Eggie thinks the system is broken and needs fixed. No, I think it is working just fine for someone or it would not continue. It is working very well at building up an underclass.

The final word was; Basic Income news has been formed by merging the BIEN and US big newsletters. Find it at BINEWS.ORG

And what they need is WRITERS!