Tuesday, July 29th15.3°C
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Economics Made Easy

Show me the money

I’ve been monitoring the provincial school teachers strike quite closely and am surprised by the fact that one of the questions on the forefront of my mind seems to be absent from others. My concern is that the B.C. taxpayer, regardless of whether they have children in the public school system or not, pays for kids to be in school for approximately 36 weeks per year. Due to initial rotating strike action and then full strike action, the B.C. taxpayer was shorted almost 2 ½ weeks of schooling that they paid for out of their taxes. Consider if you ordered a pizza or some lawn maintenance service and you paid for this up front but never received the pizza or law maintenance. Would you have legal grounds to pursue reimbursement? Of course you would! So when the government steals money from us and does not deliver what they promised, are we justified in demanding reimbursement? You’re damned right we are.

Just pause for a second and think about this. You were forced, under threat of imprisonment, to give money to the government that was then supposed to be delivered to the teachers and assistants to educate our children. The government took our money, but never delivered it to the teachers. So where is it? Well, it’s sitting in the provincial government coffers. If you consider the fact that every taxpayer in B.C. has contributed to this, the total sum is in the millions of dollars. Now this is not new practice for government, but they typically steal from us under the guise that the funds are spent on other things that are purposefully opaque so that we cannot trace these funds. However, this particular situation is extremely transparent. I have made approximately a dozen phone calls to the provincial government, the Ministry of Education and other branches of government to try to quantify and track down these funds. I have been passed from department to department and I have left several voice mails and live messages and have been promised that I would be called back. Well that’s over a month now and not one person or department has returned my call. Why am I not surprised?

Now in the private sector when you abscond with funds that are not yours it is called theft and you are prosecuted for this. In the public sector this is called business as usual and you carry on with your day. Furthermore, sources inform me that the best we can hope for is that our kids might be back in class by October. That will make this theft from the taxpayer even larger than its present value. We will have to wait until our kids are back in class before we can take action because only then will we know what the total sum is that we should be demanding to be returned to us.

Judging from the general mood of the overburdened taxpayers that I’ve been speaking with, they are not about to let this go. They want that money to be delivered to the teachers or back to the taxpayer. They don’t want these funds spent on lavish dinners and trips for our politicians. Enough of our money already goes to fund these activities.



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Patriotism = Blind Faith

So once again the patriotic holiday season is upon us in Canada and the U.S. with Canada Day and Independence Day on the horizon. For the past couple of years I’ve been finding myself questioning why everybody is getting so gosh darned excited on these two days. What’s up with this blind faith in patriotism? What is patriotism and more importantly, what are its virtues if any? Who or what is it that we are supposed to be patriotic to? Politicians want us to believe that patriotism should be directed to a flag and government and some artificial red lines drawn on a map by a bunch of politicians. Why should that garner patriotism? Are we supposed to be patriotic just because we were born here? Why? What would happen if one day another bunch of politicians just erased those imaginary lines? It will happen. It always does. Then what?

Further to the point, what is it that we are so proud of as Canadians? Is it the fact that almost 50% of our paycheque is stolen by the government? Are we fiercely proud that our politicians are no longer accountable to the people? It must be that we derive national pride from the fact that Stephen Harper and John Baird consider Canada the 51st state and are both hell bent on getting Canada involved in the next US war. And mark my words; the US has a long list of wars that it can’t wait to start.

Now I know that I will receive a lot of flack from the Budweiser drinking populous that will be three sheets to the wind by noon on Canada Day. I’m sure they will be saying things like; “How dare he question Canada Day?” “That currency guy most not love freedom!” The truth of the matter is that these people would be happily hammered by lunch if you gave them the day off and called in National Cheese Burger Day. I’m not too worried about the general opinion of this sector of the population. Furthermore, if these people think they are living in a free land then they ought to try not paying the property taxes on the home they think you own. Or try entering this free country without a passport. Why not? It’s your home country isn’t it? You’re a citizen of this country aren’t you? Why would you need documents to enter your home? Better yet, when you have passed through the metal detectors at the airport without setting off the alarm, try refusing further security checks when you are “randomly selected” for further security checks. See how free you are then. Any of the previously mentioned acts, which should be acceptable in a free country, will get you a very fast and painful education with respect to the freedoms you don’t have.

Now don’t get me wrong, the physical beauty of our so called country is breath taking. And the vast majority of the people who populate this land are a credit to the human species. That being said, there are many beautiful places throughout our planet. And there are amazing and wonderful people all over the world. However “Patriotism” is a human condition that provides an invaluable tool for politicians to manipulate us like cattle. They put an artificial fence around the land they have staked out and throw a flag in your face and instruct you to worship it. You must sing an allegiance to these symbols at every football, baseball, and hockey and basketball game. And remember when the time comes for war, and there is always time for war, you will know what side you are on by simply having a flag waved in your face.

So what would happen if we rid this planet of these ridiculous artificial borders? Well, it would essentially dry up a very lucrative revenue source for government. Government would lose the power and riches that come from tariffs and every other tax and duty they place on goods and people entering and leaving a country. Without borders you would actually be free to roam the planet as we were meant to do. Goods would flow unfettered around the world without barriers. This would strengthen the global economy to levels never seen before and then we would actually see free trade and true markets evolve. Unlike the highly manipulated markets of today.

I think John Lennon said it best.

“Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace…”

 

Do you feel a need to be patriotic? How about being patriotic to the planet earth? How about being patriotic to global liberty? How about being patriotic to a clean environment? I know that this is a bit of a difficult thing for some people to digest as we have been conditioned to believe that borders are a necessity. But this is really not that arduous of a concept. The world wouldn’t fall apart without countries. It would actually be better off. There would be an increased standard of living around the world. War would disappear overnight. And life on this planet would be a far richer experience.



Government shuns education

So here we go again, our teachers in District 23 will be invoking strike action once again on Monday. Even with all of the money that is stolen from us by government through taxation, (see my last article) government refuses to channel a sufficient amount of those funds taken at gun point towards educating our children.

Fair enough, so what things does the government choose to fund with their ill-gotten gains? Well, there’s more than enough money to treat Charles, the Prince of I was born with a stick up my butt, and Camilla, the Duchess of chasing parked cars, to a royal tour of Eastern and Central Canada that was paid for by the Canadian tax payers. This latest tour cost us tax payers roughly $2 million for a four day tour. Not bad, $250,000 per day travel budget. I think that is pretty standard for most Canadian families. I’ve pointed this out before that the richest family in the world can’t pay its hotel and restaurant bill when it goes on vacation. Nope, they look to the Canadian tax payers to fund their elaborate frolic. I didn’t ask for these pompous elitists to tour this country! Did you? Don’t forget, Canada still pays a tithing to the royal family. Not to mention, the royal family still owns most of the land in this country. Ever wonder what the term “Crown Land” means? Yup, if you travel far enough down the rabbit hole you will discover this land is owned by the British royal family.

So what else does our government have money for? I didn’t know this until recently. Do you remember Ben Stewart the MLA who had his job taken from him so that Christy Clark could run another false election and become Premiere? Well, I thought Ben simply got a back bencher job in return for his loyalty to his supreme commander. It turns out Christy created a new position in China (grew government as her first official act as Premiere) for Ben Stewart at a salary of $150,000 per year. Do you know what sorts of expenses are associated with deploying a diplomat to a foreign country? There are residential costs, travel, entertainment for other dignitaries (and I use the term loosely) maintenance of the property and the list goes on and on.

Oh well, at least Christy will be sharing the pain of the teachers strike as we all scramble to provide child care for our kids on Monday. Oh wait a second…the strike won’t affect Christy. Her kid goes to private school which is not affected by the rotating strike.

It’s the same thing generation after generation. When it’s time to go to war, it’s not the politicians or their families that go to fight. When it comes to paying taxes, politicians are essentially exempt. When it comes to collecting pensions and benefits, politicians are first in line. When it comes to bearing the burdens of austerity, politicians and their families are immune.



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A day in the life of a Cdn taxpayer

I awoke this morning hoping that it was simply a nightmare. Unfortunately it was no nightmare…it’s real…it’s Tax Time! Realistically if you eat, sleep, breath or simply have a pulse in this country, it's Tax Time 365 days of the year. Ninety-seven years ago Prime Minister Robert Borden introduced a temporary tax in 1917 to assist with the war effort of World War One: This was called Income Tax. Did I mention that this was temporary?

This morning I rolled out of the bed that I paid 12% tax on and turned off my radio alarm that I paid an additional 12% tax on at time of purchase. I jumped into the shower, turned on the warm water of which I pay for the water as well as a tax on the gas to heat the water. I put on a suit, shirt, tie, socks and shoes all of which the government was more than happy to charge me an additional 12% tax. I then exited my house which at time of purchase I paid $25,000 in GST, $10,000 in B.C. Transition Tax and $8,000 in Property Transfer Tax. That’s right; $43,000 in tax was paid at time of purchase. This is in addition to all of the taxes that were paid on the labour and inputs that went into building the house. However, this is just the beginning of paying taxes as a homeowner. I have now earned the privilege of paying an additional $3,400 annually in property taxes. And as we have seen every year of late, this tax increases annually. I jumped into my truck which I paid an additional $6,000 in PST and GST at time of purchase. Lucky me! I then stopped to get some gas where I was treated to the pleasure of being double taxed. That’s right, I said double. I grabbed a coffee as I pulled into work and you guess it…I paid 5% tax on the coffee.

As I sat down at my desk a bitter-sweet feeling came over me. It’s pay day! Why is this bitter sweet you ask? Well, the government takes 40% of my paycheque every two weeks. It’s also the end of the month, thus I will be receiving a performance bonus. Wait for it….Yup, another 40% of that is stolen from me before I see a single red cent. After reviewing my pay stub I feel like calling 911 to remove the two daggers from my heart. Now to pour salt and vinegar into my fiscal wounds, I get a call from my accountant saying that I will have to pay a lump sum to the government as she has just completed my tax return.

You should be feeling nauseous about now. But don’t fret, it gets worse. The percentage of taxes on income, goods and services continues to increase with each generation. This article is not only timely as it is tax season; it also comes at a time when our teachers have invoked “work action.” There is not enough of our tax dollars directed to educating our children. As a result, kindergarten children and other grades have had their second recess taken away from them. And there’s more austerity to come for our children’s education if this issue is not resolved. Now there may be some people who have no problem with all of the taxes that they pay. Good for you: the government loves you. However it’s not just the tax payer being punished anymore, our children are now paying the price with their education. And of course all of this is occurring at a time when we just gave $220 million to the Ukraine, Christy Clarke lost an election and decided to have another one to the tune of $500,000 to the B.C. taxpayer, and of course we have all sorts of money to send Canadian destroyers and fighter jets over to the Baltic sea to provoke a war with Russia.

If you’re not pissed off, you should be. It’s time to march on our MLA’s office.

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Read more Economics Made Easy articles

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About the Author

Derrick Nicholson is a Currency Strategist.  He has been in the industry for the past 20 years.  He specializes in mitigating currency risk for companies doing business outside of Canada.

Questions and inquiries can be directed to Derrick at [email protected].

 







The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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