Jack Layton is a Funny Guy! 
I love watching Jack Layton give speeches. Comfortable in the knowledge that he will never be held accountable, he can say absolutely anything he wants to in an effort to woo a few voters over to the NDP.

Today, I watched him talk about how he will forbid any credit card companies from charging over 5% over prime in interest.

That sounds great to the masses who won't think it through. It sounds especially great to those who have fallen on hard times and have been forced to take on credit card debt to keep themselves afloat. I'm sure it sounds even better to those financial wizards who carry balances on credit cards to fund discretionary purchases they can't wait for or can't actually afford.

But this isn't a rant on the financially irresponsible.

This is a laugh at Jack Layton making up stuff that can't possibly happen or that would hurt the people he's pretending to try to help.

Firstly, credit cards are not low interest borrowing products. They hold unsecured debt so that debt is expensive. It's expensive because there's a relatively high chance of default so they need to cover their losses. That's the theory anyway. This isn't a rant about credit card companies either, so we won't go into all the issues with the premise.

The fact is, without the high rate of interest, it would be a lot more risky to give everyone and anyone a credit card. If they had low rates, they wouldn't be so profitable, and so they wouldn't let just anyone have one.

So basically, the people who stand to benefit most from this change, which I assume don't qualify for a line of credit, wouldn't get to have them anymore.

Now this might save many of them from getting themselves into trouble they don't need to be in, but it will also hurt a lot of people who just need a bit of emergency money to legitimately carry them through some sort of temporary shortfall.

I guess Jack wants to push those folks to the payday loan people.

Way to go, Jack! Looking out for the little guy!

Now if I were in some sort of position of power, I'd make it part of my mandate to ensure that high schools have mandatory financial literacy classes required for graduation. But that's just me.

Here's hoping Jack promises to eliminate income tax. That would be fun to hear!

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How Could Miller Screw This Up?? 
Our wonderful mayor of Toronto, David Miller, had a slam dunk with the strike of locals 79 and 416. The entire populace seemed to be behind him in eliminating ridiculously generous benefits that nobody should be entitled to and taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for.

The city has been faring quite well with people managing their own garbage and everyone doing their parts to make do and leave the workers on strike until they gave in and accepted what were clearly reasonable offers by the city.

Even the strikers I've spoken with wanted to accept the deals being offered and get back to work. While anyone would like to be over-compensated for their work as much as possible, it seemed that only the union leaders felt that it was worth striking over and somehow deserved.

With all that in mind, you'd have expected the city to hold fast on their offers or perhaps even begin to reduce them over time. All indications were that if it came to a vote by the union members, they would overwhelmingly support it and all would be well.

And then the Mayor rolled over and gave in, for reasons I don't suppose we'll ever really know.

Regular readers here already know that Miller hasn't done anything good for the residents of Toronto and has only hurt and cost us more and more as each month goes by. This seemed like his shining opportunity to show some backbone and do something good for the city, and there didn't appear to be any way for him to screw it up. And now he has.

Good for you, David Miller. It would have been a shame if your time as mayor couldn't be defined as a complete calamity. Why mess that up with something successful near the end of your term?

There's still a slim chance that enough city councellors may have enough sense to turn down this agreement, but that generally isn't the sort of thing that happens around here. The mayor will get his way, the city will lose, and life will go on.

Too bad. This one seemed like a no-brainer. Of course, it would take a no-brainer mayor to miss that.


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MichaŽlle Jean is the coolest Governor General EVER! 
I had to read between the lines a little to get the details, but as I understand it, MichaŽlle Jean got hold of a fluffy white baby seal, tore it open with her bare hands, and then devoured its still-beating heart in front of throngs of adoring fans who chanted and cheered.

If that's not stickin' it to them PETA-lovin' European hippies who've blocked trade in Canadian seal goods, then I don't know what is!

Good for you, MichaŽlle! That crazy dude in Temple of Doom's got nothin' on you!!!


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Jack Layton has Sand in his Vagina 
Everything I'm reading about Jack Layton these days says that he will vote against the Conservative budget no matter what's in it.

Does he have the slightest interest in what's good for the country, or is he just out to try and grab a little bit of the power pie no matter what the cost?

It seems to me that if the Conservative government listens to the opinions of the opposition and comes up with a budget they can all agree on, then that would probably be the best they're capable of doing for the country and everyone should vote for it.

Isn't that how this ridiculous system is supposed to work?

If you have parties who have no hope of gaining power, but are going to vote against the government on anything and everything no matter what it is, how is anything ever supposed to get done?

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Say it like it is! 
I haven't posted for a little while here but it hasn't been for any lack of opinions on what's going on. I just haven't really been able to formulate words for all the ridiculousness going on in the world around us.

First there was the fiasco in parliament, with the Liberal party forming a coalition to boot out the Conservatives who had only been in office for a few weeks. Their leader was someone that nobody liked and who had already announced his pending departure due to record unpopularity.

Now they've replaced him with someone they've appointed and who has stood up to no real scrutiny whatsoever. But that's beside the point. They're like a bunch of squabbling children up there in Ottawa and there's really nothing I need to add to the commentary in the news.

Then there's the city of Toronto. Our money-grubbing mayor just introduce a new plastic bag tax that we have to pay at the grocery store if we want to carry our stuff out in plastic bags. All the discount places already charge 5 cents a bag. This new tax just forces everyone else to charge the same. The premise behind this was to divert all those bags from going to landfills and have us use reusable bags instead.

This sounds all well and good except for the fact that just days after implementing this, they announced that we can now recycle those exact plastic bags! We can bundle them up and put them in the stupid giant recyle bins the mayor spent a fortune on, and they'll be kept out of the landfills. So then... more tax... no benefit. Seems about par for the course for this mayor.

Now today, while reading about the failure of the auto industry bailout, I found this quote too good not to repeat.

From this article: http://biz.yahoo.com/zacks/081212/16364.html?.v=1

"If a union can only deliver the same pay as a non-union shop, why pay the union dues?"

This pretty much sums up the value of the unions to me. All those workers for companies like Honda and Toyota who are being treated fairly and will probably still be employed once all the dust settles are probably asking the exact same question.

I believe the implication is that the union's purpose is to bend the company over backward and get the employees more than their fair share at every opportunity. Otherwise, how do they justify their dues? If all is well and everyone is treated fairly, can't they just say it's because of them and leave well enough alone? Why do they always need more?

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