Jim Flaherty: I commend you. 
People are up in arms over the government's decision to tax income trusts and I understand their point of view.

People overinvested in them based on the governments promise not to tax them and now they've been hurt by the reversal of that promise.

I don't in any way condone breaking election promises but in this particular case, I think that the government realized there was a serious storm brewing and needed to quickly put a halt to it.

I think that a better solution would have been to put an immediate halt on the creation of income trusts and to grandfather those that already exist, but I'm not the finance minister and have no idea whether that sort of action would even be legal.

The fact is, though, that the conversion of major corporations into income trusts was going to seriously hurt the country and that those most disadvantaged by it would be the lower classes. Critics are arguing that it's the elderly and the everyday Joes who are hurting because the income trusts in their portfolios have lost a lot of value.

I wonder if anyone has put into perspective what percentage of Canadians don't hold any income trusts in their portfolios and, frankly, how many don't HAVE a portfolio because they can't afford to own investments when they're too busy trying to pay their rents and feed their families.

Income trusts are good only for those who hold their units. Beyond those people, the country and its citizens are being short-changed by them and the government has realized this. They exist in a tax loophole that should never have been allowed in the first place the problem had finally reached critical mass with the likes of BCE and the big banks considering the conversion.

Reading about people who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars isn't going to cause a family living at or below the poverty line to lose any sleep. These things weren't wiped out. They lost around a quarter of their value so for every hundred grand lost, the suffering masses likely have another 3 hundred grand sitting in the bank. While their quality of life may well suffer and their retirement may not be quite as comfortable, there is certainly no worry that they're going to end up on the street picking through trash cans for food.

This all ties back to my post a few days ago about greed. The people hurt most by this are those who are already doing well for themselves. The people hurt most by not making these changes are those who are not. It's those who will have to bear a greater share of the tax burden because investors are soaking up profits that are no longer being taxed by the government.

Now this all gets more complicated when you look at the income taxes paid on the distributions and what not, but at the end of the day, those can be sheltered by RSPs and other tax sheltering methods so the government in the end loses revenue.

That money has to come from somewhere and it's the working stiffs that will end up paying it out.

So all in all, Mr. Flaherty, I commend your actions. I commend you for having the courage to do what's right for the country rather than what's going to make the most money for the affluent.

I only hope that this doesn't hurt the government's chances for re-election. Hopefully they can follow this up with a tangeable tax break for ordinary Canadians so they can see the benefits of these changes.


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I Don't Like Halloween Anymore. 
I lost count last night of how many lazy little bastards showed up at my door last night without a costume, asking for candy.

Isn't the deal that they dress up in costumes, and then I give them candy? If there's no costume, what the hell are they doing at my door??

Then they act insulted when they get less candy than the dressed up kid next to them.

Stupid kids.

Next year I'm going to a party or something. If I could only give candy to the ones in costumes without thinking that the ones without are going to egg my house or something, then I would. As it stands, why should I spend a bunch of money just to give lazy kids free loot?



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Greed will destroy the world. 
I just read the entire text at http://www.g-r-e-e-d.com/GREED.htm. It's an excellent, well-written piece of work. Be forewarned though... it's quite lengthy if you're looking for a quick read. You'll have to get through it though if you intend to get any real understanding as to the motivation of this entry though.

Throughout the essay, I couldn't help but question my own motivations for the pursuits in my life. I look at the things that I am attempting to accomplish and see not greed as the primary motivator, but rather entertainment and the pursuit of happiness. I own a big TV not to be elevated above my neighbours but because I enjoy watching movies. I want a nice house so I can provide a comfortable environment for my wife and, hopefully some day, kids to come home to, not because I want to deny someone else a place to live.

Of course, as I continued to read I could easily see the ways in which society, and by "society" I suppose I mean the media and corporate voices within it, is promoting greed and excess as the ultimate successes. This wasn't news to me. A few minutes of TV will make that undeniably obvious.

Am I kidding myself then? Am I self-righteously justifying my greed? Should I be looking elsewhere for my happiness?

Where then, do we draw the line? As I work to make my mortgage payments while trying to make life more enjoyable, should I be denying myself the things I like while giving more to charities? Should I take personal responsibility for the plight of the poor while the rich continue to indulge?

Having used welfare to pay my bills while I finished school and taken loans to pay for a degree that I'm still paying for, I have first hand experience of the ability to rise above the position in society I inherited. Is it wrong for me to expect the same of others?

Of course, I recognize that I certainly didn't come from the very lowest rungs of society. They may not have the benefit of the moral guidance that allowed me to pursue things that would elevate me rather than simply struggling for survival. Is the solution then to redistribute wealth or is the solution to provide a proper education at a youngr age? Rather than focusing on the alphabet and adding numbers, should we be spending more time teaching morals and societal behaviour in the earliest grades? This should be the job of parents and families but I think we can all agree that there are far too many cases out there in which this doesn't happen. If you guide children to act in such a way in which they can take control of their own destinies, will they learn from that?

And finally… is there any accounting for the differing abilities among people? While we'd like to believe that all people are created equal, there is no denying that some people are more capable than others and that those who aren't end up suffering for it. What is the solution to that?

I guess in the end, I'm left with a better understanding of the problems with modern society and the role that greed is playing in it, but I'm not necessarily sure what I should be doing about it, if anything at all.

I feel a little bit helpless now. Maybe I should go out and buy his book. Of course, that would contribute to his wealth and thus, to the downfall of society. No. Instead I think I'll go home and rest up so I can go back to work tomorrow for the Man and continue to eke out my existance as best I can.


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Why not show the Leafs in HD?? 
What's wrong with TSN and Sportsnet? Were the folks at MLSE charging too much for them to do HD? How come CBC can do it?

Even the ghetto LeafsTV broadcasts have a magic HD channel that pops up just for game time!!

Lick my balls, TSN and Sportsnet. Put up or shut up. If you can't do it right, let someone else show the games! Preferably someone who's not gonna charge us money. Yeah... I'm lookin' at you, you LeafsTV bastards!


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This Just In! My Sperm is of the Highest Quality! 
Just came across this tidbit.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6079782.stm

It was found that the heaviest users, those who used their phones for more than four hours a day had the lowest average sperm counts, at 50 million per millilitre (ml) and the least healthy sperm.

Men who used their phones for between two and four hours a day averaged sperm counts of 69 million per ml and had moderately healthy sperm.

Those who said they did not use mobile phones at all had the highest average sperm counts, of 86 million per ml, and their sperm was of the highest quality seen.


There you have it. I don't use a cell phone. I therefore have super sperm. Logic is awesome.


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