The high cost of housing is just one obstacle for Islanders trying to make ends meet. (VI Free Daily file)

The high cost of housing is just one obstacle for Islanders trying to make ends meet. (VI Free Daily file)

Editorial: Too many struggling to make ends meet

Once upon a time, living-paycheque-to-paycheque was a self-deprecating descriptor used by those who contributed to the economy – both earning and spending – yet never seemed to get ahead. Now, in 2018, those are seen as the ‘good old days’ for far too many.

We pay more for food, gas and lodging – each with the government taking far more than their traditional share, all the while convincing us that each tax, every levy, will improve quality of life for us and for future generations. This ballooning cost-of-living problem requires leadership – true leadership – from all levels of government, yet this topic of debate is heard mainly on the streets, while elected officials and bureaucrats seem to be emotionally invested only in their own remuneration.

Can anyone really imagine we’d one day be talking about affordable housing in Victoria as being $1,500-a-month rent for a one-bedroom apartment? Or that more than $500,000 would be needed to purchase even a modest starter home, as opposed to a unit in a multi-family development?

We’ve hit the point when even by the time a $15-an-hour minimum wage comes into effect in 2021, the cost of property will make home ownership out of the question for those intent on paying their own way. (And for those suggesting entry-level jobs aren’t meant to support families… given that a few global companies and technology have eliminated industries and decimated the number of employers, we beg them to rethink this somewhat less-than-in-touch argument.)

The politicians have been ineffective on this issue for too long, with civic governments concentrating on high-end developers, with provincial governments adding charges under the pretext that they’re pushing us towards safer behaviour that minimizes our carbon footprint, and with federal governments more focused on partisan philosophy than serving their voters.

We need leadership at all levels that stops telling us fairytales and starts focusing on issues that increase our income and reduce our outgo. Any less will doom future generations to living happily never after.