I think it is fair to say that most of us would like to have more money to do with as we see fit, whether it would be to spend on ourselves and our families, contribute to a favourite charity whose work we feel strongly about, or just make a difference in some way, to someone.
I also think it is fair to say that if someone offered to pay us more for what we do, very few would say “Thank you, I’m paid well enough as it is for what I do.”
We have lived well for many generations. We worked hard, people prospered, and we wanted more. In the previous period of subprime interest rates, we jumped on the immediate gratification train and stopped worrying about how much things cost, as long as we could afford the payments, and the lenders were only too willing to oblige. But then it started to fall apart. Interest rates began to rise and suddenly those payments you could make easily increased dramatically. The solution: get more money.
In my life I have had the benefit/disadvantage of being a business owner, an employee, both part and full-time, and both management and labour. This gives me, I believe the opportunity to see life from both sides of the table. I understand how valuable good employees are, but I also understand that no business can pass on cost increases to customers forever. Something has to give. Unfortunately, the experiences I’ve had doesn’t provide me any answers to how we get out of this mess we have created, without suffering a major crash. Almost daily we find that everything costs more and prices continue to rise, so everyone wants more to just be able to afford the things they could afford in the past and you can’t blame them for that, but this causes prices to rise even more, and the cycle continues.
I’m not an economist by any means (which I’m sure you’ve figured out by now) and as I mentioned earlier, I don’t have any answers, but I think we are at the point that many, if not most people would like to have an honest, straight answer about what must happen to slow the rising cost of living. We are at the point now where many young people will never own their own home. Many are struggling just to find suitable rental accommodation, and that doesn’t exist, not at a price that most people can afford to pay.
An individual can only do so much. You can try to cut back, reduce waste and eliminate that which isn’t essential, but a personal austerity program alone won’t do it. It may slow the downward slide, but something more needs to change.
Fortunately, in this area we have a large population of people who are willing to share what they have, no matter how little that may be. Groups like House of Lazarus and Community Food Share do what they can and make every dollar go as far as it possibly can, but every week they are greeted with new clients, clients who never thought they would be in a position where they had to ask for help instead of giving it. And have you noticed how often it is the person with the least to give will make the effort to share what they have, while others simply turn away?
If there is a solution, I’m sure it won’t be an easy one, but we must find it because the alternative is a price too high for anyone to pay. We should have fixed this yesterday; we need to fix it now.
Terry Tinkess is a professional photographer, educator and journalist. He has been making a living with a camera and keyboard since 1999 and has been featured in such publications as The Ottawa Citizen, Cornwall Standard Freeholder, The Globe and Mail, The Miami Herald, Ottawa Construction News, The Ontario Construction Report, Ontario Home Builder Magazine, Reed Construction Data, Canadian Potato Business and most recently, The Record and Eastern Ontario AgriNews. Terry lives in Ingleside, Ontario with his wife Brenda, Mia the anxious Pittie and cats Wally and Chubbers.