12 December 2016

Six dollars and eighty cents #nlpoli

We should pay members of the House of Assembly a good salary because they do a hard job that demands much of them and their family.

It is a thankless job but it is an important job for our province and its people.  One of the hazards of the job is that they must take a lot of personal criticism from ignorant people. Sometimes the ignorant people are on Twitter, as in the past week or so, and sometimes, the ignorant folks are other politicians, like in 2014 when Dwight Ball condemned their pension system or in 2015 when he arbitrarily decided to cut public representation in the House of Assembly.

We should not make decisions based on ignorance even if, as in this case, the ignorance is widespread.

We should pay politicians a decent salary so we can encourage the most thoughtful and intelligent people come forward to do a tough thankless job on our behalf.  Pay isn't the only change we'll need to counteract the slide in the legislature but it is an important one.

The importance of pay and benefits to attracting good members of the House of Assembly is perhaps the largest reason why we shouldn't be too concerned that the House voted last week to ignore one small aspect of pensions, namely whether or not the changes to the plan should apply to 20 members elected in 2015.

The cost to every person in the province of giving 20 politicians one type of pension versus another: $6.80.

That's it.  $3.4 million in additional liability, if they all get re-elected and qualify for a pension.  Getting re-elected is a very big if, incidentally. But still we are talking about $3.4 million.  People are getting bent out of shape.  Russell Wangersky is inciting people to vote against the 20 members of the House over a mere $3.4 million.

Never mind the $15 billion for Muskrat Falls.  It's almost laughable to see Wangersky so indignant over so small a sum given that we continue to ignore the $3.4 billion government must borrow this year to balance the books.  That's just this year.  We'll add about $10 billion at least to the public debt within another five or six years.

And then there is Muskrat Falls' $15 billion.

You get the idea.

$6.80 cents on the one hand.

And on the other, the cost to every person in the province of the new public debt since 2003 and Muskrat Falls: $55,000.

Flks who are screaming over these 20 potential pensioners need to get their priorities in order.  If they want t slag the current crop of politicians for something,  take them on for being utter cowards.  None of them had the guts to step forward and explain what they were doing and why. That would be a good reason to be angry at them and maybe good enough to toss them out of office.

But the pension thing?  That's not even worth talking about.