a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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The Economy

Hiding From Reality Behind Statistics

I’m feeling pretty good today; you might even say I’m feeling quite perky. The National Post’s Andrew Coyne has pointed out once again how well we are all doing in a recent commentary he wrote criticizing the Liberal’s recent tax strategy targeted to the middle class.

I don’t criticize him for taking a swipe at the Liberal plan. Like the Conservative plan, it’s selective about which Canadians receive benefits and which get chosen to help finance those benefits. It’s basically just two different approaches to arranging the same deck chairs on a ship. No matter which partisan arrangement you choose, it does nothing to improve the ship.

But while I have no issue with his criticism of Trudeau and the Liberals, I take great exception to the simplistic assertions he makes about the economic well-being of Canadians in general. Continue reading

Ontario’s Magical Mystery Tour Budget

You could be forgiven for thinking that happy days were here again if you listened to Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa table his budget in the legislature. He was positively exuberant, hissing out Yessss!! every so often after announcing yet another initiative. Occasionally, he even turned to his colleagues on the back benches to give a thumbs up.

You could also be forgiven after reading his budget if you thought it was his middle finger he was raising and not his thumb.

This is a budget that tries to be both austere and extravagant at the same time. A finance minister can internally hemorrhage trying to pull that off although that didn’t happen. Mr. Sousa could barely contain his excitement as he unveiled his financial plan for the province. Continue reading

A Federal Budget That Makes Fools Of Us All

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Abraham Lincoln

 

So which one are you. Are you fooled some of the time? Never? All of the time? I confess that I have been fooled some of the time. Certainly, our political leaders seem to think that most of us are so delusional that we can be fooled pretty much all of the time and, it would seem, there are more than a few of us who can.

It takes two to fool you. The manipulator and yourself. If you don’t allow yourself to be fooled – most of the time you won’t be although a few manipulators are so good at it that even the best of us can be fooled some of the time.

We see it all the time with people getting burned after having invested their money with people like Bernie Madoff. They ‘wanted’ to believe that he could earn them more on their investments than the market was generally delivering and that willingness to be fooled was driven by greed for a few more bucks.

If it’s too good to be true, it usually is but even though we all pretty much know that many of us will ignore that warning to grasp the illusion. Continue reading

Bribing for Votes

iStock_CanadaDollarSign1Canada is in election mode.

By way of explanation for my non-Canadian readers, this does not mean that we are about to have an election; that would be too easy. It means that we’re going to have a federal election in about a year and while you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a little soon to start campaigning – our major political parties would disagree with you.

There are some serious issues facing Canada and you might think those issues would dominate election platforms – but you’d be wrong. Instead, Christmas is coming early to some Canadians as our political masters launch their Bribes for Votes campaigns.

While it is true that Canada finally has a budget surplus after six years of deficit financing; it is also true that the deployment to Iraq to combat ISIS will take upwards of $3 billion from that surplus. The government is doubling its aid to Africa to fight Ebola and government revenues are dropping thanks to plunging oil prices. In fact, the drop in oil prices, which appears to be being driven by Saudi Arabia, could so narrow the gap between the cost of production and revenues in the oil sands that there is a very real possibility that some companies may halt production. That would further reduce government revenues and increase unemployment which in turn would increase the amount government pays in EI benefits.

Add to that the instability in the European economy where there is growing fear of another global recession, falling stock markets and talk of increased interest rates and it begins to appear that the economy may not be quite as stable as our leaders would have us believe.

A 1% interest rate increase alone would double the cost of servicing all government debt.

How likely is a rise in interest rates? I don’t know but the American economy is heating up and the Fed is signaling an increase in the not too distant future.

But why spoil the beauty of a twelve-month election campaign full of marshmallow dreams and tangerine skies with something as boring as reality? At least that seems to be the opinion of our political leaders including the fiscally prudent Conservative government. Continue reading

The Unbearable Lightness of Government

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
George Washington

kingOver the past week or so, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) has been holding hearings on the future of television. It is, of course, a misnomer because what they are actually holding are hearings on television’s past while luxuriating in having broadcasters come before them in supplication like noble beggars to the monarch’s court at Christmas.

Continue reading

Pedaling Furiously to get Nowhere

Globally over the past decade, we’ve experienced a wide range of serious issues. Some have undermined our economic stability others threatened our safety and security. Some were the result of natural disasters; others were man-made. But regardless of the nature of the issue, they all shared one thing in common. They seemed to have caught our global leaders totally by surprise and unprepared.

How is that possible considering the unbelievable amount of time and money these folks put into meeting and discussing and preparing for situations that may confront us?

Consider, for example, the number of international organizations that meet regularly on everything from the economy to the environment; from crime to national security.

un logoThe United Nations – NATO – NORAD – Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – The British Commonwealth (now just The Commonwealth – the Organization of American States – The European Union – INTERPOL – World Health Organization – World Bank – African Development Bank – African Union – Arctic Council – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – Arctic Monitoring and Assessment  Program – Commission for Labour Cooperation

Hold on for a moment; I’m getting writer’s cramp. . . Ok, I’m ready again. Let’s continue. Continue reading