When I was a callow youth studying for a career in the newspaper business, I was told of a student grant so easy to obtain you’d be foolish not to. I duly filled in the simple application form and the money arrived soon after.
Being callow and youthful I didn’t spend a cent of it on anything educational. Instead I bought a camera I didn’t particularly need but really wanted. A year or so later I was contacted by a public employee who informed me it hadn’t been a grant after all but a loan, and demanded I repay it. The camera was later stolen from my bag at an airport, which served me right, I guess.
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I couldn’t help recalling this when reading that the ever-generous government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had sent $636 million from its enormous stock of borrowed money to some 300,000 teenagers aged 15-17, to make up for income from jobs presumably lost to COVID-19. It works out to about $2,000 each, which isn’t a fortune but raises the question of whether teen incomes should really be such a priority during a pandemic that civil servants need to be assigned to formulate a rescue. When I wasn’t wasting misbegotten cash from the government, my father used to overpay me for cutting the grass, which worked just as well and involved no input from Ottawa, but perhaps teenagers today are more disciplined, focused and responsible than I was and directed their $2,000 windfall straight into an upgrade of their high school math texts.