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Pattie Lovett-Reid: Don't assume everyone wants a government bailout
TORONTO -- Government aid? No thank you.
It can be a dangerous precedent to assume everyone wants or needs government assistance to get through this pandemic. I learned this first-hand from Dorothy Barker in Courtenay, B.C.
"I am a senior citizen living on a fixed income in Courtenay BC. I have a small RRIF. When the bank notified me that the federal government had reduced the required annual minimum withdrawal amount by 25% as part of the COVID Economic Response Plan and that my withdrawal would be reduced, I saw red. This is my response to the bank: Please re-adjust this back to the original minimum payment. I will not have Justin Trudeau dictating to me on how to spend my money. If I ran my household like the way he runs the government, I would have been in the poor house long ago."
Politics aside, I believe a very important point is being raised here. Many Canadians have spent their life being frugal, living below their means and managing their financial situation well. During periods of uncertainty they have adjusted their spending and have rarely looked for a bailout. I'm not talking about the wealthy, I'm talking about everyday Canadians who have established emergency funds, set financial goals for themselves and have lived within their means -- always.
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Based on the messages I get I see frustration mounting as the government deficit inches closer toward a whopping $260B with no end in sight until possibly a vaccine is found. The day of reckoning will come when the government books have to be balanced and the fear is everyone will pay.
No one is disputing financial help is being required by many. What is being disputed, is that financial help is not required by all.
There is a feeling of pride associated with managing your way through a difficult financial situation. However, clearly there are many who have been financially crushed due to the pandemic especially in the service sectors and self-employment. However, we also likely know someone who has continued to spend and rack up debt because they could when they had a job and took advantage of the low interest rate environment at the expense of their own balance sheet and now are looking for help. That tends to be where the frustration lies.
A number of direct messages I received via Instagram sums up what many have been thinking and asking:
"Who is going to pay for all the incentive money the government is throwing at people. Are my taxes going to go to 60%? Is the middle/upper class going to get punished?
There is no doubt COVID-19 has slammed our economy in a way never seen before. Not only has money come to a standstill, so have people. It is going to take literally decades to recover from this. So as the economies slowly re-open we can only hope the amount of government aid can begin to subside.
By the way, if I was Dorothy in B.C. and I didn't need the money right now -- I would take the reduction not because I want support from the government but because I would continue to let my money grow and pay taxes on it tomorrow.