All of the dialogue of late has been around what the government can do to address the $2-billion deficit and mounting debt. And rightfully so, as it’s government who controls the coffers, and their spending has risen almost 50% in the last ten years.
But at the same time there are also parallel economic issues making it tough for businesses and charities in our communities. And the government coffer is simply our money being spent on services for us. So that government debt of almost $8-billion is really all of ours, at $15,000 a head.
So that begs the question, is there anything a single person can do to help their community get through the next few years? That’s not a question I have an answer to, but I can think of a few easy places to start.
- Buy local: Buying local goods and services keeps more of your hard earned dollars in your community. Where you buy your morning coffee matters. Think about the big items too, from food to banking.
- Be a business: Make something. When you create a product or service you capture more share of wallet for your community, you buy more goods and maybe even employ people. Whether it’s a table at the farmer’s market, an online business, music lessons, or a small business, you’re helping yourself and the community.
- Be healthy: Almost 35% of the government budget goes to health. And while many aliments are not within our control, lots are. So a healthy diet, some exercise and a few less vices will help you live better and also be less of a strain on the health system.
- Give your time: The government will have no choice but to reduce services in some areas. So it’s up to individuals to pick up the slack. Volunteering with something you’re passionate about feels great, helps to meet people, and breaks down barriers. Whether it’s helping the less fortunate, schools, arts, sports, youth, seniors, or whatever you’re passionate about.
- Participate: There will be consultations held by the government and other interested organizations. You should attend and participate. That might mean just listening to become more informed, or if it’s something you’re passionate about you may wish to share your views. Democracy is about much more than voting every four years.
- Be open to changes: The status quo is not an option. And we’re all going to have to give up something we care about, or contribute more. This might mean paying more taxes, or losing certain services. If the government makes changes big enough to matter, we’re all going to be a little peeved off. We’re all going to have to share the load.
Will these steps solve the problem? Not a chance. But it might ease the pain for some, and make you an active participant in the process.