Category Archives: financial crisis

Austerity: The High Cost of Tax Cuts

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Austerity.

For me, the word is synonymous with cowardice.  And stupidity.  And cruelty.

Austerity is an abhorrent philosophy, but a necessary evil in the age of tax cuts and giving everything away to the corporations that run this planet.

Austerity in Canada amounts to more foulness than I can possibly imagine.

I would accept elements of reduction as they address the vast waste that’s been created, but overall, Canada is a rich nation.

Austerity should not be in our lexicon.

However, since Stephen Harper’s coup of Ottawa politics in 2006, we’ve seen tens of billions in potential revenue slashed from federal finances both in terms of corporate tax cuts and the reduction of the GST (now HST).

These cuts continue a Liberal trend, where corporate taxes were cut from the range of 50% down to the 15% level (and beyond?) that the Conservatives have proposed.

Despite these cuts, we know that corporate tax cuts don’t work.

Guesstimates of the impact of corporate tax cuts are likely in the hundreds of billions of dollars.  They have failed to create jobs in Ontario and elsewhere, although many argue that the explosion in growth in resource-rich areas like Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta are related.  They’re not:  the boom they’re experiencing is simple cause and effect in relation to ever-increasing commodity prices.

And the GST (now HST).  Have you seen any benefit of ‘saving’ $0.02 when you buy your Tim’s or you go shopping for clothes and other services?  As financial matters get worse because of the structural fiscal deficit that’s been created by Jim Flaherty and the Conservatives, it’s likely that they’ll expand the coverage of the HST to include food items and other basic consumables (eg. hydro bills for basic services), expanding the regressive nature of what should be a potent economic tool for moderating excessive materialism.

So … here we are, hundreds of billions of dollars short, few new jobs to show as a result, and facing the prospect of more taxes (direct or indirect) and we enter the ‘age of austerity’.

Austerity is a philosophy.  It is an affront to human dignity and basic rights for children, in the workplace and in retirement.

All levels of government suffer as a result of these measures.  The provinces slash services and municipalities tow the line by eliminating basic wage increases.

Canadians should be going mad with rage because we’ve given so much away and we’re still VERY RICH.  We need to ask ourselves why are we picking on seniors and the sick and the poor in order to make up for billions on boondoggles like F-35s, mad spending sprees like the ‘Action Plan’ and prisons to house grandmothers caught downloading a song or two?

Because we’re now being lead by a group of hostile and cruel self-absorbed government of crooks, that’s why.

London Should Have More 50% Off Days

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So, we’ve had more than a month to ruminate on the situation in London, Ontario where international machinery company Caterpillar battles it out against a few hundred unionized labourers at Electro-Motive Diesel.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that’s going to happen because all of our leadership is on the side of selling out to the international ‘who’s who’ of screw local workers and these people will have to accept half of what they used to just to put food on the table.

With this in mind, I have a suggestion:  50% days, starting in London, taken nationally.

We create a bunch of pins, bumper stickers, shirts, etc that declare that we – citizens of this community – are fine with accepting 50% off our wages and salaries, but we’ll also demand 50% off other costs of living, including some of the following:

  • Gas
  • Food
  • Mortgage rates
  • Housing prices
  • Property taxes
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Cars
  • Donations to charities and political parties
  • etc

And … to top it all off, the City of London should embark on a ‘50% off profits’ campaign, where any company not based in London will also face a 100% increase in property taxes to reflect the reductions demanded by its citizens.

It’s the only way folks:  since the Kevin O’Leary MBA-types out there are telling us it has to be this way and we have to take it or leave it, we need to fulfill the second part of the equation.

If Davos Isn’t About Capitalism, What’s Stephen Harper All About?

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C’mon people:  even organizers of the planning sessions in Davos agree that ‘capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the world around us,’ and yet Stephen Harper stands on a stage and declares war against the evil pensioners.

I’m sorry, but this is shameful.  He can’t stand on Canadian soil and make such a declaration and he’s still pretending that he’s done something special with the Canadian economy.

What’s his track record?

  • Record deficits
  • Structural financial issues
  • Massive handouts to non-Canadian companies
  • Elaborate and expensive advertising campaigns, resulting in billions in taxpayer funds going to Canada’s media monopolies
  • Expensive defense programs that have no lid on them
  • Brutal attacks on democratic institutions in Canada

And now … the war on pensioners.

If you’re a Conservative, can you really be proud of this?  Do you enjoy the idea of pulling the plug on your parents?

Good luck Boomers.  Enjoy your Alpo after all the contributions you’ve made to Canada.

I hope you think twice before you choose Conservatives and pocket-book politics if we ever get a chance to go to the polls again.

Davos 2012: You’ve Been Warned

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It looks like Davos 2012 – a massive meeting of the world’s ‘official’ leaders – will test the waters with reforms of ‘outdated’ capitalism.

Is this an admission of the failure of the world’s economic intellectual ‘powerhouses’ to develop a real and functional economic system that doesn’t pit man against man, man against nature, and so on?

Pundit George Soros has already called it and you can now consider yourself warned:

  • As he sees it, the world faces one of the most dangerous periods of modern history—a period of “evil.”
  • In America he predicts riots on the streets that will lead to a brutal clampdown that will dramatically curtail civil liberties.
  • The global economic system could even collapse altogether.
  • We are facing an extremely difficult time, comparable in many ways to the 1930s, the Great Depression.

Socialism, then?

Fascism, more likely.

Timeline: How ‘Too Big to Fail’ Happened in the US

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This image is a fantastic representation of the rapid array of mergers and financial manipulation that took place in the 20+ years preceding the whole ‘too big to fail’ ‘financial crisis’ that occurred in 2008.

US bank merger history

People:  be wary of Conservative talk about how ‘they’ prevented a financial meltdown because they probably would have let it happen here if they were in charge (I know … the PCs were in charge in the early 90s, but they were progressive).


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