Thoughts and Prayers and Action

To put it mildly, it has been far too interesting a year, medically speaking, than one would hope for. Erin's dealing with the after-effects of Long Covid, which has included POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). I myself had emergency surgery to deal with a detached retina back in July, and only just finished the procedures to help ensure the same thing doesn't happen to the other eye. And then there's my father's stroke.

For the most part, we've come out the other side, but not at 100%. Erin's Long Covid is especially aggravating, and I can't help but blame the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers for it. The stress of the political ramifications, along with the stress of raising two teenage kids with autism. Well... it's a lot of stress.

Still, there are things I'm thankful for: clotbuster drugs, for one. The fact that we were so lucky to catch my father's stroke early enough that those clotbusters managed to restore 99% of his functions by the morning after his stroke is a big thing to be thankful for. The fact that surgery fixed most of my eyesight and I wasn't left blind in my best eye is another. The fact that we've all gone through the Canadian medical system and taken on some hefty procedures and were charged less than $500 for it in total (and most of that $500 was for hospital parking until I found that you could by a discounted pass), is possibly the biggest thing to be thankful of, of all.

I've greatly appreciated the thoughts and prayers that have come my family's way as we deal with these medical issues. It's fantastic to know that we have love and support from so many different quarters. But I also appreciate that, for its faults and underfunding, our medical system still works enough that we can receive critical medical care, and not be bankrupted by that. It's full of people who believe strongly in patient care, they just need more resources. And here is something where I hope that thoughts and prayers turn into something more.

There are politicians out there who want to take this system away, privatize the care and place the burden of its costs on individuals rather than the wider tax base. The solution to our under-resourced hospitals and our overworked doctors, nurses and other health care workers is to provide those resources. If that means raising taxes, so be it. Raise the fucking taxes.

Yes, I swore. This is how strongly I feel about this.

Every provincial and federal government that I've lived under for the past forty years (with the exception of Bob Rae, who gave us decent government, given the times) has lowered our taxes. Yes, especially Liberals. And we're far from the only country this has happened to (see also the United States and the United Kingdom). This explains why a lot of our government services are so much shakier than they were in the 1970s. Why are our public transit systems dirty, infrequent and falling apart? Why are our teachers harried and overworked? Why are we cutting corners on inspections? Because successive governments have starved our services of resources and many of them use that reality to paint government services as ineffective wastes that should be done away with.

Turning this around means that acknowledging that this mentality is a big cause of the problems, and voting accordingly. And, if you feel that governments haven't cut taxes, it's likely because the government hasn't cut your taxes. The overwhelming majority of the tax cuts brought in by Liberals and Conservatives have favoured those far richer than we are, who need that relief far less.

It's wrong to hope to save a few bucks of year at tax time, and then have someone bankrupted through no fault of their own because they happened to have a stroke and needed over a month of hospital care. And it's self destructive, because that someone could easily be you or someone you love. Even if it isn't, it's somebody who doesn't deserve that fate, and we have an obligation as a society to prevent that fate as much as possible.

As difficult as politicians make things out to be, the solution is simple: our taxes are too low. Our hospitals, our public transit systems, our schools, our infrastructure are underpaid, undernourished and underresourced, and that's a harsh burden for everybody to bear. Give them what they need now. Raise the taxes to cover it.


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