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The City State: Part three of three

City State: Part three of three (Parts one & two may be viewed in the archives.
City State: Part three of three (Parts one & two may be viewed in the archives.)

Getting back to the present, what does the Province do that a City State and the Feds could not?

For example, Education – since the Assembly would decree that all citizens would and must receive a complete secondary education at no cost, then the City State would provide the facilities and staff to make that so. Now we pay taxes to CSL Martin and The Dalton Gang who in turn give some of that back to us after bleeding off administrative dollars at every shuffle of the feet. Fewer shuffling feet, more money left for the classrooms. The same would apply to Health services as another universal policy.

What About trade? Since the Assembly says that the nation shall not run a trade deficit (a 5 year floating average – I have all the answers) the City States could trade internationally so long as they did not run a deficit. City States like Toronto could buy trade credits from Northern Ontario – the softwood lumber trade neatly offsetting the need for veggies in Toronto!

Perhaps we could even consider replacing the social safety net with a guaranteed minimum wage. No more EI, CPP, Old Age, Disability or Welfare cheques – just a monthly cheque for everyone over 18 years who does not have a job. The City States would make sure that there are jobs for everyone, knowing that they were going to pay out the money in any event. I wonder if it would cost us anymore than it does for the administration and dollars for the present system?

The one thing we need in our governance model is more accountability. It is not enough to vote elected officials out of office, there needs to be something stronger – a real incentive for the elected and their top administrators to work for the common weal. Perhaps the Greeks did have it right when their ‘recall’ system sent polticians into exile for ten years. After seizing their assets, we would have to send the exiles to some uninviting place. Farther north, I guess.

These are just some fun ideas to toss around as we examine how to improve our system of governance and taxation. The present system of taxation is forcing municipalities – where we live and work – into regressive moves that are out of control of the taxpayer. We are too far removed from both Ottawa and Queen’s Park.

Like other nations before us, a tax revolt is looming unless we address the problem soon. It is unreasonable to work for more than half the year just to pay your Federal and Provincial taxes, and then get a municipal tax bill. We either have to address the levels of service that we have come to expect or find better ways to pay for those services. Reducing government maybe be an answer. And the City State may be a model for study.

Now, what page was I on? Oh yes,

“Then now, Thrasymachus, there is no longer any doubt that neither arts nor governments provide for their own interests; but, as we were before saying, they rule and provide for the interests of their subjects who are the weaker and not the stronger - to their good they attend and not to the good of the superior.”

Bill Walton

About the Author: Bill Walton

Retired from City of North Bay in 2000. Writer, poet, columnist
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