Enjoy the lovely light

My candle burns at both ends.

My candle burns at both ends.

It will not last the night.

But ah my foes, and oh my friends,

It gives a lovely light.

Edna St. Millay, U.S. poet, 1892-1950

Countries are in debt. People are in debt. The deep debt doo doo came about because governments and individuals have been living beyond their means.

Canada is believed to be OK (so far).  However, as individuals, Canadians have been burning their candles at both ends.  Easy credit and low interest rates are blamed for household debts hitting the six-figure mark this year. The ratio of debt to income is 150 per cent. For every $1,000 of income, we have $1,500 of outgo.

Statistics Canada says half of us lived on less than $25,400 in 2009, and that during the recession of 2008 and 2009, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

There’s no reason to believe that’s changed and the people in the middle are likely carrying the biggest debt load.

Let’s hope the economic problems amongst European countries aren’t catching, and that our neighbours to the south will get their act together and do something.

In the meantime, we better enjoy that lovely light while we can.

Still on the subject of money, the Harper government spent something like $72 million on aid for the African drought victims. Some of it came from Canadian donors with the government matching their donations.

A worthy project for sure, but it’s peanuts compared to the $90 billion the government has reportedly spent over and above the normal budget for the military (Afghan war) and home security since 9/11.

How about reversing this? Have the government match whatever citizens want to donate for military and home security, and spend the billions of dollars it now spends on war stuff to help the globe’s starving people.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.