Wednesday, June 30, 2010

HST & Democracy Reform Pt. 1

Having recently been screwed over YET again by the government (yeah yeah, fuck the government, Anarchy, etc.) makes me wonder whether we need a democracy reform.

I'm finally legally old enough to vote, and I'm not even sure if I'm going to exercise my right. Why? Because what choices are there?

It seems that no matter who gets elected, we get screwed over anyways. I do recognize and remember the politicians that have done wonders for Canada, and I really hate to paint politicians with the same brush...but it's getting ridiculous.

The real topic at hand is the HST. I posted a while back about this (click here). For the longest time, McGuinty's been denying that this would negatively affect families. For the longest time, he's been claiming that it's revenue-neutral. Now, he's finally admitted the truth. It WILL hit families. While the tax is arguably negligible, it still contradicts his original promise of not raising taxes.

I was unfortunate enough to tune in to a debate between McGuinty and (opposition of Convervatives), and it was like watching 2 people repeat each other. That wasn't a debate. McGuinty's "think of the children" arguments vs. (oppositions) "you lied" was volleyed over and over again.

If you still don't know what the HST is, it's the Harmonized Sales Tax. Basically, in order to save administration costs (primarily), they've decided to merge the GST and PST into one. Sounds great, in theory...until you realize how it's going to be implemented. (Cost) of reparation packages are being paid for the people who will lose their jobs (that means severance pay to all the employees getting the boot). But it doesn't end there.

My biggest gripe with this tax is that it taxes things that we were previously exempt: 
  • Internet access will increase from 5% GST to the full 13% HST
  • Airfare, bus & taxi travel origination from Ontario will be taxed HST
  • Hairstyling and hair cuts will be taxed HST in Ontario
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Legal services will be taxed HST (legal aid is HST exempt)
  • Natural gas will be subject to harmonized sales tax
  • Electricity in Ontario is subject to HST
  • Gym memberships will be subject to HST (sports and athletic memberships included)
  • Accountants will have to tax you HST in Ontario
  • Real estate commission is now taxed HST
  • Lawn care, landscaping and snow removal services  
  • Gasoline is subject to HST in Ontario
  • Heating fuels in Ontario will be taxed HST
  • Tobacco will be subject to HST in Ontario
  • Quit smoking aids (nicotine gum etc.)
  • Newspaper & magazines subscriptions
  • Fast food items exceeding $4.00 will be taxed HST
  • New houses over $400,000 will be subject to HST tax
  • Vitamins will be subject to HST along with natural health products
  • Used vehicles sold by private sale
For a lower-class family, it's ALMOST practically revenue-neutral. For a middle-class family, it IS arguably negligible (and I say this loosely, because that depends how you consider an extra $1000 a year in expenses would be), and for an upper-class family, it definitely IS noticeable. The bottom line, is that in all 3 socio-economic ISN'T exactly as revenue-neutral as McGuinty wants us to think.

The justification behind this (besides saving on admin costs) is that what businesses save will be passed on to the consumer (what's funny is that this seems completely conservative, to begin with). I'm not holding it against them, but why the hell would a business pass on savings to a consumer when it can just make more money? In theory, the HST's great. But in practice, not so much. 

To offset this "apparently" revenue-neutral (read NOT revenue-neutral), McGuinty's going to give ~$1000 in rebates to all families that qualify. The first year WILL be offsetted, more or less, so that it is negligible. But how about the year after that? And the year after that? I highly doubt that the cost of living is going to lower itself, any time soon. When your family opens that cheque from the government, and goes "gee golly, free money from the government! They're so kind!" Remember that it's the taxpayer dollars (essentially a fraction of your money) being given back to you. A bit of a hyperbole, but imagine giving someone a gift card, and them giving it to you in some nice packaging (with a bow, of course) and acting like they're trying to do YOU a favour.

What pisses me off the most is how Ontarians are just bending over, and how ill-informed everyone else is.  I'm not saying "fuck the government", because I do appreciate how it's better than most...but how about some more accountability on their part? God forbid they curb or spend efficiently. Spending the money wisely never seems to be a solution (there are MANY examples of this year alone where the government threw away money (hand sanitizer fiasco, annual budget breakdowns, mass audits, and bridge inspections are just a couple of examples that come to mind off the top of my head). The result of this brainless spending is a need for a bigger budget next year.

The problem IS also within administration. If you don't spend all of the budget, you get less next year. So intead fo re-directing those extra funds, they'll spend on some other crap that they really don't need to...just to maintain the budget. BUT the budget isn't maintained! Instead, they need more money, the following year. That's where you and I come in - the taxpayers that feed this mess.

Fill up tonight, 'cause as of're getting less gas for the same amount of money. Not only are the truckers going to feel this increase (for every dollar you spend on gas (add 7 cents, or less gas per dollar). And guess who's most likely going to shoulder the increase in gas expenses? Us, the consumers that these trucks deliver to.

It must be a real democracy when you're voting with your wallet.


- knowledge

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Likeness Breeds Familiarity

We haven't known each other long...and you wonder how I know you so well. It's because you easily recognize fragments of yourself in other people - likeness breeds familiarity. 

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