Here was the original plan.
Wait a couple days, insert a few typos and some of my very own grammatical idiosyncrasies and then claim Ed Keenan’s Doug Ford doesn’t understand much about the private sector post from yesterday as mine. I mean, I’m no Margaret Wente. It could take everybody years to discover that kind of sleight of hand.
But my conscience (or whatever that thing is that causes me to have second thoughts, stupid second thoughts) got the better of me. So I decided to just harp on the article instead. Get all up in your faces and demand you read it, and read it now. It’s that important.
Go ahead. I’ll wait. Make myself a cup of tea. Fire off a few emails. Maybe play some Bejewelled, depending on how slow a reader some of you are. What are you waiting for? Chop, chop. Get cracking.
Am I right? Huh? Huh?
Keenan quotes Councillor Doug Ford from last Sunday’s radio show, talking about the $700 million of ‘unfunded liability’ for the new streetcars the city ordered a few years back:
I don’t think the average person… they wouldn’t do it. Do you go out and purchase a house, purchase a business, purchase a big capital piece of equipment for your business, and not have the money?
Correct, Councillor Ford. The ‘average person’ might not be able to purchase $700 million worth of streetcars on credit. But a house? A business? A ‘big capital piece of equipment’? As a matter of fact they do. Every day. It’s kind of what makes the business world go around.
Kennan goes on to eviscerate Councillor Ford’s ludicrous stance in much finer detail than I could, so I’ll leave you to that. (Except, I do need to point out that, according to the article, the mayor’s Cadillac Escalade birthday present is actually leased – “…absolutely the highest cost of borrowing in the market place. Hands down, no exceptions.” — through his family business. So, if it is written off as a Deco Label business expense, technically speaking, we the taxpayers are paying for it. In that case, Happy Birthday, Mayor Ford.)
The thing I want to know about all this is what the fuck is Councillor Ford’s m.o.? What’s the frequency, Kenneth? I ask.
As a business man, even one handed that title by his father, Councillor Ford can’t actually see the world as he purports to in his role as a politician. He’s not wealthy enough to simply buy everything he wants, cash on the barrel head. Deco Labels doesn’t operate that way, does it? Obviously not, what with the leasing of the mayor’s SUV. It doesn’t make any economic sense if he did. And that’s what he’s all about, isn’t it? Making economic sense.
He can’t be that dumb, can he?
If he’s not, if Councillor Ford and his colleagues following him in lockstep – the mayor, the deputy mayor, the budget chief, the speaker, councillors Vincent Crisanti, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Giorgio Mammoliti et al – are fully aware of best business practices, let’s call them, and do know all about manageable debt and capital expenditures, blah, blah, blah, how come they’re not applying that thinking to the finances of the city? How come they’re pretending Toronto’s financial situation is worse than it is? How (and why) does Mayor Ford make the bold-faced claim that the city’s ‘financial foundation is crumbling’ as he did last year in a speech at the Empire Club?
Is it because despite all their bluster, all the harrumphing and rhubarbing we hear from them about Toronto needing to be run like a business, the last thing they want to do is run the city like a business, and a successful one at that? Go back to Keenan’s article and note the rough comparison between Toronto’s debt to income numbers and Rogers. $4.4 to $11 billion versus $10.79 to $12.47 billion. That’s pretty healthy. Or how about the low, low percentage of the city’s annual operating budget goes to servicing Toronto’s debt versus, say, the percent you pay in terms of your annual income to mortgage payments.
Toronto is, and has been despite the ugly economic environment out there and the vagaries of assistance coming to us from senior levels of government, running like a very efficient, strong business. That’s what the likes of Councillor Ford either doesn’t understand or, more likely, wants you not to know. Their whole schtick, he and his brother mayor and all the far right, fiscal hawk councillors, is based on the dubious premise that the city’s finances are being driven into the ground by tax-and-spend politicians who have no respect for taxpayers.
Why would they want you to think such nonsense?
To admit otherwise, to come clean that Toronto’s books should be the envy of many businesses, would be admitting the unthinkable idea that government actually works. That the taxes we pay as residents of this city aren’t inherently evil and bad. It would be an admission that their political philosophy and view is nothing more than empty ideology. It is destructive. It is selfish.
Councillor Doug Ford simply hates the idea of government. He doesn’t believe it should be run as a business because, well, it’s not a business. Businesses should be run like businesses. Government? Taken out to the woodshed and cut down to size.
Unfortunately for the councillor, that’s not really a politically sellable idea. So he bluffs and blusters about Six Sigma principles, finding efficiencies, yaddie, yaddie, yaddie hoping that enough people will come to the same dim conclusion of government as he holds. It’s been working for him so far.
We just have to keep calling him on all his bullshit talk and force him out into the open. Make him run not as some sound, sane businessman but as the unhinged, radical, anti-government ideologue he actually is. Right now, he’s getting away with hiding in the tall grass.
— prudently submitted by Cityslikr