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If You Build It, Will They Come?
Isn't It Amazing How Politicians Think People Will Flock to Their Temples?
I'm often amazed how politicians seem to think that if they spend enough tax payer dollars on a huge building, along with cute corporate welfare, that businesses and jobs will magically materialize out of thin air to the benefit of the populace. This is the sort of political religiousness reminiscent of the middle ages. Building a temple won't stimulate the economy, it never has and it never will.
Here is a little background on myself: I'm a Canadian from Halifax, Nova Scotia. (http://www.halifaxinfo.com/) Our provincial government seems to think it's a grand idea to build a multi million dollar parking garage (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/10/13/ns-convention-centre-province.html), I disagree.
So I came up with a little political satire to try and dissect the "logic" behind our politicians, enjoy:
It is a typical day at the MLA’s office, a hapless unpaid young intern is doing all the paper work, while the local MLA is away from the office, enjoying an endless stream of meetings and free food, as every business in the district tries to pony up the government for corporate welfare. Suddenly, an unexpected interruption befalls our young intern. The MLA has entered her office. Like a bear coming out of hibernation, it has been three days since our intern has even physically seen her boss. Figuring she has no more than ten minutes give or take, she attempts to initiate a foreign phenomenon in the world of MLA’s-hooked-on-Twitter-phonics, an actual conversation:
"So again, help me understand the logic behind the Convention Centre?" asks the intern.
Our MLA came prepared for this moment, in an expressive scene reminiscent of 1989's Field of Dreams, she exclaims "if we build it, they will come!"
"What the . . . ", says the intern, as she pauses for a moment, grabs her cell phone and texts-in, to the MLA, the banished word from the synagogue of political correctness, unless you’re British.
"It’s simple," says the MLA, "we build it, they will come!"
"Who are they?" asks the confused intern.
"Businesses!" shouts the MLA, "rich people, and more businesses!"
"So if I build say a stadium in the middle of a ghost town," says the intern, "businesses will come?"
"Of course not," says the MLA.
"And downtown Halifax isn’t a ghost town?" asks the intern.
"We’re a ghost town all right," says the MLA, "the difference is we’ve got the world in a trance watching ‘Come to Life’ infomercials by recruiting a legion of unemployed in-debt college students and homeless people we found off the streets, preaching how wonderful it is to be a Nova Scotian, in exchange for coupons at Pete's Frootique."
"I’m still confused how the businesses will spontaneously sprout like juju beans because we build a giant underground parking station," says the intern.
"Kids," says the MLA as she sighs and shakes her head, "they know nothing of economics these days. It’s a global economy, the government pays for big buildings, we charge no taxes, and the rich people from around the world move in to make jobs for us."
"Can you give me a free building to move in and make jobs without having to pay taxes?" asks the intern.
"No," says the MLA, "you’re not rich enough to be given free buildings. You’re still not getting how it works. The rich people move in. They make jobs, and it all wonderfully trickles downwards! Think of a person with their hands extended out, trying to catch as many coins as possible the government is willing to dish out with tax dollars, surely many coins will spill off their hands, and land on the ground for the poor people to pick up!"
"The last time I remember us doing this," says the intern, "all we got were call centres."
"That’s fine," says the MLA, "if we get more call centres, pharmaceutical companies will move in."
"Huh, why?" asks the intern.
"Because our stressed out masses are going to need their drugs," says the MLA, "biotech corporations will soon move in as well."
"Huh why? Why would biotech corporations soon move in?" asks the intern.
"Because we’re going to need to develop harder, better, faster, stronger, drugs" expresses the MLA in an undertone reminiscent of Daft Punk Around the World, "so those call centre cattle can work it, work it, work it! Did I mention the funeral home business will also be booming?!"
"Why would the funeral home business be booming?" asks the intern.
"It’s it obvious?" says the MLA, "we’re all gonna die young!"
"I’m starting to see how this works now," says the intern, "call centres lead to big-pharma, big-pharma leads to biotech, biotech leads to funeral homes, maybe funeral homes lead back to biotech as we figure out what to with all the bodies?"
"I know," says the MLA, "isn’t it ingenious? I call it creative destruction! All made possible because we planted the weed, ugh I mean, seed that is the Convention Centre! We’ll create jobs!"
"Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" shouts enthusiastically the young intern.
"Now you’re getting it," says the MLA, "chant the J-word excessively, and my dear protege, you’ll work your way up to Premier in no time. The Tories did it for decades. The NDP is just now catching on. You throw around the job word, and Nova Scotia goes into a blue-collared confetti explosion! If a dissenter brings up the quality or need for the jobs, the sheep-flock, with pitchforks wielded, will put away what they see as a welfare bum! They’ve got your back! Who cares about the costs? You’re the job creating maiden!"
"I get it! I get it! I get it!" says the young intern while doing jumping-jacks, "jobs! Jobs! JOBS!"
"Yes," enthusiastically says the MLA while dancing to the beat, "jobs, jobs, jobs!"
The young intern and the local MLA vacate the building holding hands strutting the city streets. A band of cartoon-ish looking street Haligonian fiddlers soon joins the spectacle, putting on a musical. In a scene reminiscent of 1964's Mary Poppins, both the intern and MLA dance and sing, "it’s Super-Capitalistic-Destructive-Psychosis! Even though the sound of it. Is something quite atrocious. If you shout it loud enough you’ll be pro job religiousous, and you’ll get the votes! For it’s Super-Capitalistic-Destructive-Psychosis!"
-Donovan D. Westhaver
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