Monthly Archives: April 2012

Economic Illiteracy

It’s all a bit tiresome.

The wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers pay 32 percent of all income tax collected by the federal government in the US, and it is a similar amount in Canada.  And the bottom 50% of income earners pay nothing.  Nada.  Yet, in the grand scheme of things they are the ones reaping the most in terms of government assistance programs.  So wealth distribution is already underway at a staggering scale.

That being said, given our deficits and spending levels if you totally confiscated the wealth of the top 1%, how long would it run the government?  For a couple of months, that’s it.  And then at the end of the day you’d be left with nothing – unless you start casting your eyes at the new 1%, who were in the 99th percentile before the 100th percentile earners were vanquished.

Regardless, this is the new cause celebre it seems.  Take Stephen King for example in this ridiculous rant.  A good writer, but clearly not a deep thinker on economic issues, or even economically literate for that matter. 

How would taxing rich people eliminate income disparities?  By having government spend it on programs for the poor and middle class?  What the f*ck do you think the government has been doing for the past 50, 60 years?  How did we rack up huge deficits, by accident?  Who was General Motors and Chrysler bailed out for?  Whose mortgages were being protected by bailing out Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?  Or would he rather just load up a dump truck of rich people’s cash and drop it off in random urban intersections?  It would have about the same effect.

And then his claim that if he makes $200m off of a hit film, he doesn’t create more jobs is bullshit too – does his money go into his mattress at home?   If he invests in government bonds then he can sleep at night knowing he’s helped finance some of the ridiculous government schemes he seems to be a fan of.  He tries to through us off the investment rap, because he tells us to go look at any Wal-Mart and all the crap manufactured over there – no doubt.  Why are you confusing issues?  Don’t invest in companies that produce overseas – we have no problem with that, and as a matter of fact would support that kind of personal decision.  But that doesn’t negate the fact that investment is required for economic growth, and rich people have money to invest.

Look, we’re not in favour of ostentatious wealth either.  Something has gone wrong when CEO’s are getting compensation that are thousands of times more than the base level workers in their organizations.  And we should discuss what those reasons are, why are the super rich becoming even more rich, how did it come about that every second piece of crap we buy in this country is produced in China, a “Marxist” dictatorship with slave labour practices, why mobility between classes is stagnating and why entrepreneurial spirit is in decline.  These are all important questions. 

But King is just another example of super rich celebs who realize that underneath it all they are just highly paid court jesters or entertainers, and who now feel the need to justify their wealth on some sort of moral level.  He didn’t cure cancer, or develop a new technology – he wrote pulp fiction that people liked and were willing to pay money for.  That’s it.  And no one should have a problem with how he became rich – good for him– but we do wish that he’d shut up.   It’s all a bunch of self-serving bollocks.  The government should call his bluff (because that is what it is) and take his money.  All of it.  And then we’ll see if he’s such a fan of paying big taxes as part of his patriotic duty.

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Profiles in Loser-hood

The National Post wrote a piece on the Quebec student riots protests that for once made note of what some of the participants of this “strike” are actually studying at university.  And then later on in the Financial Post section, Diane Francis had one of her rare good pieces, this time daring to say that some degrees are “useless”.  We would agree and have said as much on several past occasions, here and here.  Also, here’s an entertaining take on university from someone who is also pushing the case that modern university is a waste of time.

So let’s consider this when recapping the profiles of a few of the parasites protestors;

  • Veronique Boulanger-Vaugeois is 30 and unemployed.  Her major?  Social work.  We’re shocked she’s unemployed.  A useless degree.  And not coincidentally – a field of work that we’d suggest likely 99% of social workers are ultimately employed by government;
  • Aurelie Pedron, a mother of two, completing her master’s degree in dance.  For Christ’s sake, talk about a useless degree.  Even if this woman gets a job in dance after she’s done with her degree she will a) more than likely make peanuts like 95% of those in the “arts” and thus be bitter about financial burden of having to raise two young kids and pay off student loans and b) will have a job that is more than likely be reliant on government grants for the arts…;
  • Antoine S-Christin, a student in environmental geography.  What the f*ck is that?  A useless degree, anything with the tag “environmental” in front of the field is bound to be bullshit.  And what’s with the stupid hyphenated single letter in the last name?
  • Rachelle Gagne, a 20 year old political science student.  What does a degree in political science qualify a person to do exactly?  Nothing in the private sector, that’s for sure.   More or less a useless degree;
  • Yannick Ross, pictured on the front of the paper with a nose ring thus self-identifying himself as a freak, is a performance artist.  We don’t even know if he’s actually a student, so hard to say if he’s got a useless degree, but let’s just go with Mr. Ross has a useless job, and a useless outlook on the world;
  • Fabrice Pinard, is doctoral student in psychology.  Totally useless – psychologists are part of the problem, not the solution;

What a cross-section of teat-sucking parasites, all of whom will never collectively create a dime of wealth in their lives that benefit anyone other than themselves.  It’s frankly disgusting that we’re subsidizing any of these self-indulgent, overgrown adolescents with their work-averse studies.

The article closes with some quotes from Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who on CTV said the protests were about accessibility to education.  The CTV reporter rightly pointed out that higher education in Quebec is the most accessible in North America, to which he responds “but it will be less accessible”.

Let’s ask the question then – is that such a bad thing?  Does university need to be accessible?  Accessibility to higher education would be an issue worth fighting for if it could be proven that having access to university for the broadest swath of young people was critical to the economy, our prosperity and improving the job prospects and upward mobility of people.  But if anything these protests and the Occupy movement have shown that university education is not critical to anything – it saddles these people with debt pursuing useless degrees, it produces people with degrees that more less can only lead to government make-work jobs and it diverts financial and human resources from where we need them most – trades, sciences, engineering, nursing and technology.

So, looking at the cross-section of losers comprising the Quebec protests, remembering the crying during the Occupy heyday, and reading story after story about student debt, we can only reiterate what others are starting to say, and we’ve said before – university is useless.  $1600 over 7 years?  Raise tuition $16,000 instead and society will benefit.

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Two Sides of the Same Coin, Not Two Different Coins

So Warren Kinsella thinks that conservatives are making a stronger appeal to emotion, and thus their growing success in Canada, at least federally.

Then of course you get the analysis following the Wildrose Party losing in Alberta, and the consensus at the moment is that Albertans, especially younger and urban Albertans, shied away from Wildrose at the last minute because of their social conservative stand on a number of issues.  This analysis would fit with the left’s world view of things – that younger, urban voters may recognize the fiscally conservative viewpoint in politics, but because they’re rooted in modern times, they rationally ran from Wildrose at the last minute and their refusal to back away from a few social conservative stances. 

Both are an offshoot of the typical progressive conceit that we’ve discussed before (here, and here); that conservatives are irrational, stupid and deniers of expertise and science.  So, any electoral success has to be attributed to conservatives leveraging anger and emotion over “rational” and learned thoughts that the progressive left might have.

They’re all wrong. It’s the progressive side that relies on emotive arguments, nostalgia and attempts to appeal to people’s romantic notions of constructing the perfect society.

And incidentally, we would also flatly deny that conservatism is on the upswing or triumphing in any respect in the competition for ideas. As can be seen in the fallout from Alberta, social conservatism is regularly shat on as being neanderthal and regressive, and the vast majority of the population want to consider the debates on abortion, gay marriage, multi-culturalism and criminal punishment as passe and beneath dignifying.

But what is catching up to the world is reality – you cannot borrow from future generations indefinitely, especially when those successive generations are becoming smaller and smaller.   And thus, fiscal conservatism is on the rise, with more and more people understanding that we can’t pay for everything for everyone.

But if to be a fiscal conservative means ultimately advocating for affordable, smaller government, with strict limitations on its powers and mandates, then it means supporting also the necessary withdrawal of the nanny state from many facets of our lives because that is really the only path to a government of a size that we can pay for.

However, when you withdraw the state from people’s lives most still need support systems to deal with the various struggles of life and these have traditionally been family and churches and social communities. Hence why fiscal and social conservatism have to be flip sides of the same coin; you cannot withdraw government from people’s lives without at the same time supporting those traditional institutions that can fill the void.

Without family, church and community the void will be filled with an amoral anarchy. What is happening on the ground floor of countries like Russia and others where the government withdrew and left a vacuum filled by mobsters and vodka-soaked youth gangs roaming the streets?  Or take any formerly socialist or communist government that had supplanted religion in that part of the world with big government, and now has withdrawn – it’s chaos.

And thus, fiscal and social conservatism are two sides of the same coin; it’s cool and sexy to say you are fiscally conservative but socially liberal, however it doesn’t wash in the end – You cannot have a government advocating for every kind of social advancement and attempting to engineer people’s lives without a bureaucracy to support those kinds of endeavor.  And bureaucracies cost money.

So, social conservatives should take heart.  The first part of the wedge, recognizing that we are in a fiscal mess is starting to be driven in.  Next will come the realization that without government we will need all those traditional institutions and values that we’ve been marginalizing for the past fifty years.

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Political Prostitution Never Ends

Here’s the thing about Michael Ignatieff – he was probably in the wrong party all along.  His political leanings aren’t progressive since in the past he’s advocated some fairly neo-con positions with regards to the war in Iraq and other issues.  But he got intoxicated with the idea that the Natural Governing Party of Canada, the Liberals, wanted him as leader, and barring Stephane Dion, a fool, there had never been a Liberal leader that didn’t make it to be Prime Minister.

Now, he’s taking heat for stating a completely rational opinion, which is that Quebec will probably separate in our future. 

We don’t agree, specifically with this assessment for a number of reasons, mainly because Quebec is addicted to $8 billion a year in transfer money from the rest of the country, but Quebec aside, only a national narcissist would insist that our country will be exactly the same in fifty or a hundred years from now, as it is now.  We’d argue it more likely that the West separates from the rest of Canada before Quebec leaves. 

Take Ontario for example – how is it kosher for the indefinite future that Toronto dictates to the rest of the province that we have to live with Liberal government after Liberal government when huge swaths of the province are sick of the Liberals, and of Toronto-centric policies?  Why is it inconceivable that we not have a Southwest Ontario Secessionist Party in the future?  Or Northern Ontario?  Or a more formal movement to have Toronto separate, rather than just the musings of Giorgio Mammoliti?

But back to Ignatieff – he obviously was lying to us the entire time he was in politics.  The things he said on the campaign trail and in opposition were clearly not his thoughts.  We cannot have any respect for someone who clearly subverted his own thoughts so the Liberal handlers could mold him into something he wasn’t – a progressive stooge.  He was never the leader of the Liberal party; he was a puppet of the left-wing who hijacked the party during the Dion run at the top. 

Then the Star had an article claiming that “Ignatieff never understood Canada”.  Funny.  Isn’t that what the Conservatives said throughout the entire election… only then it was called an attack ad.

So, on the one hand we respect and applaud Iggy’s newfound openness and opinion.  But on the other hand we are dismayed at the apparent way he prostituted himself for the sake of political power.

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Eat the Rich? Watching Them Eat Each Other Would Be Way Cooler

So, if you confiscate all of the wealth of the 1% – the richest of the rich – doesn’t that just create a new 1%?  The ones that were in the 99th percentile just behind the 1%, won’t they then inherit the mantle of the new 1%?  And so you would think it would go, on and on until the guy slinging coffee at Starbucks is lording it over his friends about the loonie that got dropped in his tip jar.  Trump-wannabe.

Alas, Premier Dad has caved in to the useless notion that the rich aren’t paying their fair share, and has capitulated to the NDP in an effort to save his minority government.  There’s really no need for us to go into the detail as to why these higher rates on the “rich” don’t work, and in the end pay for very little.

But there really is an appetite to “eat the rich”, or kill them, so to speak.  Which got us to thinking – there’s a real wasted opportunity here.  Not only can the government get what it wants in terms of popular sentiment, it could distract the populace from its bad governance by creating its own version of the Hunger Games or the Running Man – the 1% Hoot for the Loot, or some other cool name.

Every year, we gather all the top 1% of income earners, and put them on some secluded island in the north, and we tell them that only one may escape alive – and that one gets to keep his wealth.  All the rest who die?  The government confiscates their wealth. 

We rig the island with all sorts of closed circuit TV and we drop boxes of food, weapons and clothing in random spots and then we watch every night as the 1 Percenters kill each other.  Great fun – we hate ‘em anyways, right?

And then we get to do it all the next year, because with all but one of the 1% killed the year previous – there will be a new 1%.

Awesome.  Just think of the social benefits, not the mention the additional revenues gained from the gambling revenue and the economic spin-offs like video games, t-shirts and other paraphernalia.  We’re emailing this idea to Obama and Harper.  A sure winner.

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Is Rob Ford Being Bullied?

We all know the Toronto Red Star has an active, ongoing smear campaign against Rob Ford.  And the left in the city can’t stand him to the point where they are trying to legally get him impeached for improperly using Toronto mayoral letterhead to solicit what turned out to be a mere $3,100 for donations to a high-school football program.  Horrors.

And now they gleefully catch the fat man coming out KFC when he’s missed the last two weigh-ins for his weight loss challenge (he gained weight at the last weigh in… Uh oh).

And then, of course it’s Pink Shirt week, and the gay activists, being the bullies that they are (ironic, isn’t it)  are using the opportunity to jump on Fat Rob and wonder if he’s going to commit to coming to this year’s Pride Parade in Toronto, when last year he skipped the parade to attend a “family outing”.

Our thoughts are this; firstly, if he gets laughed at for coming out of a KFC with a bucket of chicken, he did this to himself by publicly saying he was going to lose weight, so deal with it.

Secondly, Ford brings gay heat on himself by not being honest and coming out and saying that the Pride parade is basically bullshit – it isn’t about gay rights or tolerance, it’s about celebrating the fringe elements of modern gay culture, from men wearing banana hammocks simulating orgies on floats, to half-naked, hairy fat men wearing sado-masochist gear, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and outrageous drag queens.  He should just say that it’s not the kind of event he wants to associate himself with.  And besides, what kind of reception is he going to get on the route?  He’ll be jeered the whole way. 

Why bother… sure he’s being bullied, but by the same token he’s not standing up for himself.  And isn’t that the good old fashioned cure for bullying – stand up, kick and scrap and don’t let yourself get pushed around, even if it means landing only one punch for every two you take.

Environmental Laughers

We wish we were more in tune with our environmentally conscious side so we could have done more Earth Week appropriate postings this week.

Alas, we are left with laughing at some of the preposterous crap that gets shoveled out by the Globe and Fail, complete with all the trite over-the-top statements that will get ooh’s and aahhh’s from group-think simpletons on the progressive left.

Well, just look at the authors – Devon Page is executive director of Ecojustice. Peter Robinson is CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation.

We also like also how in their piece they cite that in Argentina the citizen’s right to clean water meant some industries had to stop operating.  Awesome.  Clean water, but no money for food, because jobs are gone.  But wait… these are probably the same idiots who thing there’s such a thing as a “right to food”.

Oh, and what “massive” industrial pollution?  In CHINA?  In INDIA?  In RUSSIA?  Countries that the Progressive Left openly admire?   No, they’re talking about here in North America… these idiots are so lost in nostalgic thinking and live in the 70’s it’s not even funny.  The fact is these days there is no “massive industrial pollution” – you can’t even fart in this country without a permit from the Ministry of Environment.  We are making immense progress on cleaning our environment, cleaning our water, our air and preserving our natural areas.  Anyone who would deny that we live in a cleaner North America than 10, 20 or 50 years ago is practicing outright intellectual dishonesty.

Avert Your Eyes

Just gaze upon the horrific mural some poor misled student at Pilgrim High School in Rhode Island drew – a father, mother and child.  How offensive.  We expect this student will be sent off to some remote camp for sensitivity training and a complete mind-wipe of any of these (wrong) notions of what a family looks like.

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Cutting Government Waste

If we’re serious about reducing government waste – give the government less money to waste.  It’s so obvious.

A lot of people on the right think tax cuts are a cure-all for every ill we face; jump starting our economic sluggishness, encouraging investment and savings, curing diabetes and getting the Maple Leafs back into the playoffs. 

Sure low taxes would probably help with some of these things, and morally people should be allowed to keep what they earn and spend it as they wish, but there’s also been a number of studies and polls of business leaders and entrepreneurs to suggest that a low tax regime isn’t as critical as suggested by some on the right.

Nope – the single biggest and best reason to lower taxes is that it limits the financial abilities of government to engage in social and economic engineering schemes that it has no business getting into.  Or at least it should, if you factor out deficit financing.  But that’s another topic and discussion on the morality of borrowing from grandchildren to pay for today’s lifestyle.

Less government meddling in our lives and business is good for prosperity all around.   And there are no geniuses in government – there is incompetence at every level, same as there would be in any other walk of life.

Now, case in point, the federal Conservatives seemed to have wasted, or overspent and underreported rather, $10 billion of our taxpayer’s money on an order for jet fighter planes.  Not good, naturally, and the left in the country are crying about the either incompetence or ignorance of those in charge that would allow this to happen under their watch.

But alas, wasting taxpayer money is not something unique to the Conservatives is it… the Liberals in Ontario seem to have a habit of wasting taxpayer’s money (ORNGEeHealth?) and the federal Liberals have a wonderful glorious, history of pissing our money down the drain; $3.5 billion for the long-gun registry, $1 billion on the HRDC that went completely unaccounted for, and on and on.

Yet, every election cycle, how many politicians talk about cutting waste, “finding efficiencies” in Rob Ford parlance, and trimming the fat?  They all say it, because what it would mean is a magic money tree that grows in the backyard, and they won’t have to do the hard work of cutting services or raising taxes to pay for whatever promises they’d made.

So, they each campaign on the idea that they are better administrators of our money, better managers than the other guys, when in fact there is no proof or evidence that this would be the case.   They all come from similar backgrounds (lawyers mostly, career politicians many).  They all have policy platforms different from each other by degrees, not magnitudes.  They all will enjoy the same advice of civil servants who are constants from one government to the next.  And they all have track records of flushing our money down the drain when they’re in power.

So?  Are we doomed to just seeing these waste scandals pop up every couple months?  Is it just inevitable?

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Just give government less money.  They’ll still waste it, but they’ll waste less.

Small “c” conservatives (should) hold as a core belief that it is unhealthy to concentrate power and money in the hands of a few, regardless of the good intentions when that power was granted, because inevitably it leads to corruption, abuses of that power, infringements on individual rights and freedoms and disaster. 

Conservatives (should) believe in small government that has strict limitations on its powers. 

We keep saying (should) in brackets, because our current federal Conservatives haven’t to this point in time demonstrated that they believe in these things, so sadly we must say that they are not true conservatives.  CINO – Conservative In Name Only.

When will we hear from a conservative politician in this country who has the balls to say government doesn’t have all the solutions, government needs to get smaller, we need to cut taxes and then we need to restrict government’s ability to levy new taxes or increase existing ones in the future.  Then, we might have less wasting of our tax money.

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Unplug the Judges? They’re Already Disconnected.

We’re back. 

There have been a few benefits to not having a blog entry for two weeks, one being that some subjects that we may have originally wanted to comment on have undergone additional marinating under the steady drip of more similar and related stories since, thus turning what may have been simply a one-off commentary into a thematic type of entry.

So at first we wanted to write about  the absurd Graham James verdict, where a very public, well-known and confessed pedophile is essentially slapped on the wrists, instead of the opportunity being taken to use this celebrity case to demonstrate that pedophilia and the abuse of a position of power will not be tolerated.  But as Christie Blatchford writes, the sentence is actually nothing out of the ordinary.  Ah, our wonderful courts and the judgments rendered.

But then we were provided the gift of the story where the highest court of the land says that aboriginal culture and its history of deprivation and repression warrants consideration when sentencing violent aboriginal criminals.  Yes, indeed; we all knew from Caledonia that there were two unofficial sets of laws and enforcement, one for natives and another for the rest of us.  Now it is official.  Bring out the fireworks, queue the celebration.

And of course, shortly thereafter  we observe the natural consequences of a racist, demeaning and discriminatory guidance from “progressive” judges – a bus driver is beaten in Vancouver by a drunken parole-violating, previously-convicted-for-assault native person, the bus driver has lost his job, lost his cognitive function and now, with the non-sentence the judge gave the thug, he has lost his dignity.

Oh, but the merry-go-round in outer space continues… wondering what a really fulfilling career for your daughter might be when she grows up?   Why not a hooker sex worker?  Well, the stories keep-a-comin’, and now in Canada, prostitution… it’s legal, all good.  For that 3% of hookers who don’t have a pimp or a drug habit or deportation threats hanging over their head that is.  Funny how in Holland, where prostitution has been legalized for a long time now, a recent poll of “sex workers” resulted in 97% saying they would get out of the business if they could.  Did we just legalize a form of slavery?  In a way we did…

How about, just for the sake of fond memories, we remind people of the judge who after overseeing the trial of Elaine Campione, a mother who killed her own two children, decided to rip into the husband for being the root cause of the tragedy by abusing his wife.  He did this despite the fact that there was not one shred of evidence that this was the case.  None.  But why should “facts” cloud a judge’s judgment on the matter.  It’s what he felt.  He’s seen enough Hollywood movies, TV and Dr. Phil shows to know, without actually being told so, that she must have been abused to cause her to do something so twisted.

And that about sums up what has happened to our legal system in Canada.  Why our federal government seems to believe that minimum sentences, no matter how inane or inappropriate are the way to go.  It’s because no one believes in our justice system anymore to produce proper and appropriate sentencing for our criminals.  The judges can’t be trusted.  They exist in another reality with paisley-coloured skies and marshmallow trees.

Rehabilitation of the criminal is bullshit, quite frankly.  Punishment is what is called for in most cases – have we forgotten this as a society?  A huge swath of our society needs to have a healthy fear of the law.  With rulings like these, judges like we have in this country, why be afraid of the law?  Do what you want.  We’re sure somewhere in your past, your forefathers were somehow repressed or discriminated against, or perhaps you were wronged and abused, or maybe you’re involved in a “profession” that just needs to have people open their eyes to the new libertine ways of the world.   And if that’s the case, get before a judge and you’ll be sure to get off in Canada.

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