Being on course this week (and attempting to resurrect my wife’s laptop computer at the same time) has made the entire writing a blog thing a bit of a chore, but a friend sent me a link to a very interesting post.
If you are to believe the numbers the little old Province of Ontario has the same deficit as the State of California (you know, the one run by the Terminator). I realize Canadians have an inferiority complex when it comes to our American friends, however this kind of envy is really not the kind we should be attempting to satiate.
The interesting numbers to look at are:
|State/Province||Population||Deficit||Per Capita Deficit|
|California||36,961,664||$20 Billion||$ 541|
Holy crap! Isn’t California also teetering on the brink of Bankruptcy, yet Ontario blithely blunders along not worried?
The rest of the post has some other more inflamatory commentary about Canadian Governments in general and the banking system in specific, that I am not endorsing (although it is an interesting read), but the whole deficit thing is a chilling thought.
Back Up Plans (Redux)
I have talked before about the importance of backup plans for your computers before in Sometimes the Problem Changes, but remember backups of your computers are great, however, if you have not tested the capability to restore data from these backups, you simply have a Write-Once Read-Never system in place.
I luckily backed up most of the data on a 16 GB flash drive, and also used Symantec’s on line backups, but rebuilding a system from scratch is a long tedious task (not made simpler by folks hovering around you asking, “How is it going?”).
Make sure your Restore works!
Update – California does have long-term bonds, but only about $83billion (for an economy the size of California, this is peanuts). Yet it is considering default. There’s clearly something I’m not understanding about their borrowing rules. Carrying that level of debt should not be a fiscal problem, so there must be some constitutional restriction on borrowing, but since they borrowed the money in the first place, it’s clearly more complicated than I thought.
Oh, and you can even run Windoze on BootCamp (or through Parallels or other similar software) on the same machine if there is software you absolutely have to have that doesn’t have a Mac version/equivalent/improvement. The best of both worlds.
Mac OS X, Time Machine and Time Capsule. Worth every penny. Backups happen automatically and system restore actually works.
Once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.
Comparing Ontario to California is a fallacious comparison on several fronts. First off, because of different divisions of Federal/Provincial powers the proper metric is to compare State/Provincial deficit PLUS share of Federal deficit. The US federal deficit is somewhere around triple the Canadian deficit on a per capita basis.
But the biggest issue is different borrowing powers. For some reason, most US states have constitutions that prohibit borrowing. California does issue bonds, but they are for short term cash flow only – like drawing your line of credit to cover you until your next paycheque. They are not allowed to accumulate debt, so they have to eliminate the deficit immediately, leading to painful cuts. On top of this, California has little fiscal room to maneuver. Because of the binding nature of ballot initiatives, they are tied to funding certain programs that are largely secondary to what the government needs to accomplish, and it is very difficult to raise taxes (requires a ballot initiative or 2/3 majority).
Ontario has none of these problems. It can borrow money to tide it through a down period, it can raise taxes if necessary, and the government has full discretion about which services to be cut in eliminating the deficit. The situation in Canada is much more flexible.