A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

28 February 2008

Just Stopping In Because it's Been a While

Things are pleasantly busy in Metroland. Nothing out of the ordinary. However, I was recently described as "a delight to see" onstage and so I have been unable to get through the door to acess my keyboard until my head reached a more manageable size.

From the news:
Stephen Harper and the New! Green! Fiscally Responsible! Government of Canada (Did we mention Green?) presented the budget. Yawn.

Finance minister Jim Flaherty read the budget in (wait for it) re-soled shoes, which is supposed to be symbolic of his government's comittment to thrift. Tradition holds that budgets are traditionally delivered in new shoes as a symbol of change.

My first thought is that re-soling was probably more expensive that any two pairs of shoes I've bought for the past couple of years. My second is that the symbol as used by the Conservatives would appear to mean "no change."

And there wasn't much. Social programs got nothing extra from the $10-billion surplus. Income taxes weren't cut. No nationwide carbon tax plan (Hahhahahaha! I know, but I wanted to mention it anyway).

There was an investment in carbon-sequestration technologies. Since carbon sequestration is still in the realm of science fiction, I'd have preferred something a little more concrete in terms of encouraging people to reduce their "carbon footprint" (of the which more in the next entry or so).

The big difference is that in 2009 we're getting a tax-free savings account. No word on what the poor are supposed to fill it with.

Oh, and "tax-free" only applies to the interest, not to the income you use for contributions. However, it isn't taxed when you take it out, either. Which is presumably why it's limited to $5,000.

All in all, tepid, timid, designed to avoid an election. I'm pretty much okay with that.

Meanwhile, Flaherty's crapping on the Ontario government for refusing to lower its business taxes. Well, lowering business taxes won't keep a company here if they determine they can still make bigger profits by relocating to, say, the US. And yes, it's happened. High Canadian dollars make relocating your industry south a bargain. And by its very nature, much of the Canadian manufacturing industry is located so close to the border that where the company is located is really a question of whether you walk into the south or north entrance of the plant.


At 12:26 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's $5000/year, Metro. I'm actually really excited about this. I hate paying tax on interest and feel that Canadians should be able to save money in a bank account without penalty (which tax on interest is).

Why should I get a tax break for putting money into the account? It's not like an RRSP, which is essentially a loan to the government (and which costs dearly to withdraw early).

Honestly, Metro, sometimes I think you complain just for the sheer fun of it.

Yer pal, Barb

At 1:36 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:05 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

When it comes to taxes, I prefer to see income tax cuts. And I'd have preferred a cut on RRSP cash-out taxes, which I take it you'd agree with, to this account.

I do feel savings should be encouraged, though. Savings are historically low right now, and consumer debt historically high. This is a step, but I'm willing to bet the banks make more money from it than the taxpayers do.

Come to think of it, since I began paying taxes I've only twice made sufficient interest income to pay tax on it. Most accounts pay so little, and are so rigged against the customer, that interest adds up to nyet.

You need $444 per month to save $5k a year. I know many people who can't afford that, simply due to housing costs.

As far as complaining, well yeah, sometimes I do in fact complain for the fun of it. It's my blog, you see :-}

But in this instance I wasn't actually complaining. While I feel, as I said, that this is a tepid, timid little budget, I tend to prefer King Log to King Stork, and with the current crop in power that goes double.

In fact, I said so:
"I'm pretty much okay with that."

Perhaps the medium got in the way of the message?

Hope things are going well with you, too. When are you coming out this way?

At 2:35 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drove through last summer, but didn't stop. Hubby hates the area, sorry.

I might be flying up next, though, so we'll chat before then.

As for RRSP cash-in taxes, no, I don't think they should be lower. You get most of that money back if you're low income at the time. If you're not, why are you cashing them in?

At 11:13 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

Not 100% certain, but I believe you have to cash out your RRSPs at 71.

I feel that RRSPs should be given all the incentive they can hold, especially for those of us following the present generation.

As it is, they're predicting two retired Canadians for every one working, and rising. There is likely to be tremendous strain on the medical and pension systems, lasting about thirty years. And it's you and me, working Joes ... or working Barbs and Metroes anyway, who have to dig deep and pay for it.

Therefore I feel that any savings we manage to scrape together should be sacrosanct, or nearly.

Just lately I've been wondering what would happen if we replaced all taxes entirely with say, a straight-up thirty percent consumption tax on everything but foods and fuel.

If you come by, I'll be sure to locate a decent bottle of plonk. It'll cost about $12, or $18 if the government adopts my entirely sensible proposal.


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