The House That Jack Built

Another Saturday video post from the National Film Board Archives. 

The House That Jack Built is from 1967 and it lays out Suburban Life (at the time), which sounds remarkably like Suburban life now.

Jack’s laments sound much like many of the laments I hear these days, until, some magic beans? Careful for what you wish for Jack, because even though you didn’t have much at the start, what do you have in the end?

Thus endeth our parable about how maybe you have (financially and in life) all you NEED right now.

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Random Thoughts on Budgetary Week

This week we saw the birth of the renaissance budget from the Tories, the alleged death of the “coalition” between the Bloc, NDP and Liberals and some other interesting quips and stories from around the magical world of financial blogging.

N.C.F.B.A. Meeting

The NCFBA met this week for our semi-periodic beer and finance sit down. It coincided with budget day and Larry MacDonald showed up with an actual copy of the budget and stories about the “lock down” he had been in all day long. I had stories about yet another Public Service exam I wrote and there was a great deal of kibitzing about the budget in specific (many points where we were not clear on what was actually meant in the budget) and on financial issues in general.

  • Scenes from the budget lock up, are more stories from Mr. MacDonald about his day of imprisonment at the hands of the Finance Department, very amusing and I must say he looked quite “drawn” from his day that evening.
  • One of the more confusing budget sections was the one about Control of Mortgage Insurance, which Michael James is still not sure about, but he gives it a try.
  • The Canadian Capitalist took a more broad scope with his Budget Highlights post, but he had some interesting insights on some budget issues as well.
  • Preet over at Where Does My Money Go is reviewing his own book (well pointing to other reviews), but also Giving His Book Away too! Free stuff!
  • Ellen Roseman is asking What do You Think of the Budget? I am impressed that she was in the lockdown with Larry MacDonald.
  • Riscario does a book review of an interesting mysterious book about Tax Sheltering in Canada.
  • No Debt Plan gets “real” and states, “Cut the Crap and Check Your Monthly Budget Commitments“.
  • And the dream continues this week, with more amazing changes, which will all culminate with the Super Bowl on Sunday, with the Arizona Cardinals playing! Amazing times we live in.

Have a good weekend all!

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Financial Apocalypse Predictions

“I told you this would happen…”, seems to be the battle cry from most Financial “Hacks” out there (at least the talking heads that have been appearing on various news outlets for the past few months). “I predicted this would happen 2 years ago…”, or whatever platitude they spout is their self-agrandizing statements.

I Predicted It Too!

Yes, I will even state that things were going to go bad as early as 5 years ago, so I must add myself to the growing list of folks who “… knew this was going to happen…”. I have been saying all along that the whole financial system was going to go in the tank, and I can find postings that said that!

The truest statement from all this rhetoric is this, “Economists and Financial Pundits have predicted 14 out of the past 3 recessions… “, (Anonymous).

I Predicted Other Financial Catastrophes Too!

Anybody who knows me, knows I have been predicting my lay off from my previous employer since about 2001 (so for the past 7 years, until I actually did get laid off), and sure enough I was right.

But was I? There were approximately 17 rounds of layoffs between the period where I started stating in dire terms how I was about to get laid off (how close I was to getting laid off during those rounds, I have no idea) and finally I landed in the “wrong place at the wrong time” and my predication came true. A sensible person might point out that my actual predication “percentage” is approximately 1 in 17 or about 5% to round it to a nice number, however, I eventually was RIGHT!

These Financial Pundits seem to think if they have stated something and it happens, they are experts, but if I state something relatively possible over and over again, it will most likely happen. This does not mean if I keep predicting I will win the Lottery and retire it will happen (but if it does, you read it HERE first!), but if I state that it will Snow in May in Ottawa, eventually one year it will happen (and I will be an Environmental Pundit with extraordinary intuitive powers!).

Give it a Rest, and Who Cares?

I really don’t care who predicted this financial mess, and I can’t see why anyone would be proud if they did (unless they managed to manipulate the stock market to make a fortune, in which case they most likely will get stoned in the Marketplace). Prognostication in any field of endevor is always at best “an educated guess”, but many time ends up simply being a “wild ass guess” instead.

Now, if someone would step forward and say they predicted that the Arizona Cardinals were going to be in the Super Bowl this year, now that would be an amazing prediction!

Leave the predictions to the Gypsies and their Tarot Cards and Tea Leaves, simply plan for the Worst and Hope for the Best is the way to go financially (in terms of prognostication).

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A budget for all

That is what Minister Flaherty has created, a budget for every single person in Canada (or at least everyone in Canada will be touched in some fashion or another). This is an all encompassing and wide sweeping budget to kick start the economy (hopefully) and drive the government back into the glory days of the 70’s for racking up massive deficits ($33.7 B this year alone) (my opinion).

Budget Things that are Good For Me

Since I personalize things usually here is a list of things in the budget that are a good thing for me:

  • EI payments will be extended by 5 weeks, which is great, except I haven’t started collecting E.I. yet, but it is good to know that if I need it, I will be getting it for a longer period of time.
  • $8.3 billion for the Canada Skills and Transition Strategy, this is a good thing, since it helps unemployed folks like me get retrained and learn new certifications and skills (I am currently working on I.T.I.L. base certification and will move on to more technical training soon, as part of a provincial training program).
  • Basic personal tax exemption for this tax year goes from $9,600 to $10,320, not a bad thing making $720 more not taxed!
  • Tax brackets move up with (quoted from CBC) “…The upper limit for the 15 per cent bracket would go to $40,726, while the upper income limit for the 22 per cent bracket would rise to $81,452….”.
  • Some very vague statements about “Mortgage Insurance” that we couldn’t really decypher (whether it pertained to CMHC insurance or the insurance banks offer on their mortgages).
  • Tax relief for home improvement projects up to $1350 (if you spend $10000 or more) but only for this year and only for work done starting today.
  • Adding CDIC support for TFSA accounts. This one surprised me, since I thought that was already in place, but I am very happy to know my TFSA is insured like a bank account is.
  • “…Extending the Wage Earner Protection Program to cover severance and termination pay owed to eligible workers impacted by employers’ bankruptcy….”  which should help Nortel employees in specific, but not by much.
  • EI Rates are now frozen for a while, which is cool.

And a lot of other rhetoric and vagaries that confuses me.

I actually got to read the Budget document when Larry MacDonald showed it to me, which was kind of cool, but he kept it. 

Is this budget going to help? I don’t know. Are the Liberals going to vote it down? I don’t know, but don’t worry all that will give me much more to write about in the next few days, so stay tuned.

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Budget Day is Here

I will be locked in a building but not to study the budget, I will leave that to Larry MacDonald (he is actually going to be locked away with the press corps for that very reason). I am taking an exam tomorrow (my job search continues), but Larry gets to pour over the minutia of the budget along with a bunch of other “sweaty journalists”, which sounds like more fun than I am going to have. 

Budget Leaks Already?

Not from any of my sources, but the regular financial press is predicting the following:

  • A $64 Billion deficit running for the next two years, which will effectively obliterate the surpluses from the past 4 or 5 years, but I guess we need to do this (maybe).
  • $2 billion for social housing, which is good if it makes it into the right hands
  • $1.5 billion for job retraining which is important given we have an entire auto industry to retrain
  • Billions more in aid to farmers, which is good, considering we need food as well.
  • $7 billion on new infrastructure projects, which hopefully will use the correct concrete and not just do “slap dash” jobs to create as much infrastructure in a short time (we are kind of paying for those decisions in the 60’s now).
  • Talk of tax credits as well, but very vague statements about those so far, so stay tuned there.

NDP Already Hate the Budget

I always am concerned when I hear someone say they “hate” something they haven’t even heard, but that is what Jack “where did my coalition go” Layton has said, that the NDP will vote against the budget. That means that if the Liberals want to topple the government, they don’t have to do too much (only get the Bloc Quebecois to come on side and that will be it).

Is it a good thing to have another election in such troubled times, or have a coalition take over? My opinion says no, but I also have been wrong before too. 

“Thin” Throne Speech

Four pages does seem a little “thin” on content, but then again, we already have had one throne speech a while ago, so maybe there wasn’t much new to add to what was previously said?

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