Monday, February 23, 2009

Martha and Henry pass on - what to do with our inheritance?

Imagine, if you will, that your grandparents were collectors of extremely rare and valuable... oh let's say vases. When they passed on, they left to you a basement full of these vases - more vases than you could possibly imagine.

One day, a vase distributor comes to your door and offers you $10 each for some of your vases. You sell him two and he goes down to the market and sells them for $20 each.

The next day he comes back and says he will buy 10 vases for $10 each. Realising that the extra income means you only have to work part time that day, you sell him the 10 vases. He goes down to the market, where they really like the vases and sells them for $40 each.

Day three - the distributor wants 100 vases (he'll pay $10 each). This means you can take the whole week off. He heads down to the market, where the biggest vase collector has come to buy, and sells them for $100 each.

Before the next day rolls around, your kids suggest that maybe you should charge more for the vases. But since you don't have to work anymore, have a ton of vases left and are reliant on the distributor, you decide not to mess with a good thing and keep the price at $10. The distributor comes by, you sell him another hundred vases and he sells them at market for $150.

Unfortunately on the fifth day, the big collector lost his job and isn't buying anymore vases. The distributor shows up and only wants to buy two vases. It's not enough for you to live off, so either you starve or go deep into debt. Forget about getting a job, there's none left!

Call it simple but the analogy fits for Alberta. In the past 17 years the Conservatives have slashed taxes on corporations and the wealthy, removing all of our sustainable and self-reliant income sources. They've sold off enormous amounts of our non-renewable resource for a pittance while oil companies have walked off with record profits. Worse of all, government has hardly saved a dime.

We need to think about our oil as an accumulated reserve, and every time we cash in one of those barrels we are trading future prosperity for immediate gain. We have a responsibility to future generations of Alberta to not squander this opportunity and to make the most of the money we generate from selling off our oil!

Funny... the conservatives used to talk about sustainability.

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