Maybe we have the economic answer.

Not being an economist, I got into some heavy sledding this last week trying to find out more about modern monetary theory (MMT). The fascination was in seeing how this theory could move us into the future, once we defeat the coronavirus. It was certainly a delight to move forward from the awkward balancing act economist John Maynard Keynes left us with or the sour rigidity of a Milton Friedman.

And who can forget today, the disastrous laissez-faire economics of libertarian Alan Greenspan. It was said, after he left as head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, that he claimed he did not know that financial firms could not regulate themselves. Greenspan was just one more reason why they describe economics as the dismal science.

But my concern is where we are headed. Our problem is not just the pandemic. I think the cost of buying our way out of economic collapse because the disease is scaring the average citizen. Considering the number of unthinking conservatives in our society, there are going to be stupid demands for paying down debt much too soon.

But in a time of extremely low interest rates, we have a window of opportunity. We can work towards the ideal of full employment. We can invest money in the high-speed rail that Canada needs. We can accelerate the building of subways for our cities. We can develop a guaranteed annual income from the CERB program. Nobody needs to work for less than the government provides. It sets an easily established minimum wage.

A fellow commentator on the Left Coast was complaining to me recently that returning Canada to a true liberal democracy might just be a dream. I try not to be quite so pessimistic. I guess I dream harder.

All I know is that Justin Trudeau and other neoliberals such as finance minister Bill Morneau are not inclined to get us where we need to go. The new democrats are a yesterday party. We need change. Canada needs real progressives in office.

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