Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

His columns are archived here

Posted 09.30.03


Sharing the wealth -- governments operating for their own ends

The redistribution of wealth means taking wealth from people who have it and giving it to people who don't. It presupposes the government knows better than those who have it.

And it presupposes that the government will actually give it to those who need it before they squander it on irrational dreams or boneheaded incompetence. Redistributing the wealth throughout Montreal Island is one of the main justifications I have heard from the proponents of the forced merger. It is a potent argument. Because there are probably large numbers of voters in the new mega-city who might be persuaded that this would be in their interest -- f they can be persuaded that the greedy 'rich' in the ex-towns are finally and justly being forced to share their ill-gotten gains with their poorer brothers and sisters downtown. Those of us who actually live in the ex-towns know that it is not like that at all.

We work and raise our families while three levels of government gouge our income. We desperately save for our old age as our pension funds disappear into a hole called the stock market. Rich? I don't think so. But the persuasiveness of the redistribution of wealth is not based on fact. It is a time-honoured cliché now accepted by most Canadians. No discussion necessary.

In the United States, the redistribution of wealth was never fully accepted. This is because the have-nots there believe in 'social mobility.' They believe that they have enough opportunity to become tomorrow's 'rich.' That is the American dream. And, because they actually keep more of what they earn, it is possible. Canadians, however, have less faith in 'social mobility.' We know that we do not have the same economic opportunity. To become rich in Canada is much more difficult. We would rather allow government to take wealth from those who have it and give it to those who don't.

We are content to allow government to run our lives and pass laws to protect us from every eventuality. This is the Canadian dream. That is why American celebrities are exciting free-spirited actors and athletes whereas Canadian celebrities are responsible politicians and trusted newsreaders. Americans make action films. Canadians make documentaries. But that traps us in a vicious circle. If we continue taking wealth off those who make it and give it to those who don't and continue handing over all our economic decisions to the government, we will simply guarantee that no one can ever get rich in Canada. And that again will further guarantee that we support the forced redistribution of wealth. This conundrum must delight our legions of civil servants. It assures their power. And it goes a long way to explaining why they are forcing this mega-city into being against our will.

The mega-city not only makes the municipal government stronger in the short run by guaranteeing them the vote of the citizens who believe they will benefit from the redistribution of wealth. But it also makes it stronger in the long run by taking the control of that wealth away from those citizens who made it. Our governments operate for their own ends: to become stronger and to gain more control; to take away as much free choice as possible; and to eventually legislate and regulate everything. It is this primordial seemingly unstoppable force that our brave anti-mega-city activists are really up against.