Happy May day

Well, May day was actually on Saturday, but for we working folk, May Day should be celebrated on Monday, to show the Bourgeoisie Aristocracy, that the working man will one day rise up and shake off the shackles that they are held in (or something like that, I have forgotten too much of my Karl Marx to do this justice).

Last week we in Canada observed a day of mourning for those workers killed on the job (Wednesday I believe) and the flags were actually at half-mast, which I hadn’t noticed before, but again, I view that as a worthwhile observance (given how dangerous many jobs can be, and how easy it is for a workplace accident to take a worker’s life).

On the good news side of things, the Government is making noises that the deficit for this year may not be as bad as they thought with:

  • More income from folks who are finding jobs (and thus paying taxes).
  • Less outputs, by folks not collecting EI (because they are working), but also by choking off spending in the Government as well.

This is where the Government gets a double whammy with unemployment, not only does their income decrease, but their spending increases pretty much in direct proportion which makes for a very bad balance sheet. The one lucky point they have is that lending rates are so darn low these days, they are not getting bashed over the head with interest payments from the National Debt (well not as badly as say in the 80’s when interest rates were around 20%).

Does this mean we are “recovering”? Maybe, again, we’ll not know for sure for another couple of years, when we can look back and say, “Yes that definitely was a recovery we were experiencing”.

In Ontario the HST has started appearing. even though it really only starts until July 1, however if you were going to buy a yearly Health Club subscription, you’d start paying it as of today (sort of). Interesting how the media is painting this as some kind of catastrophe, and attempting to whip up public sentiment, but I guess that is what their job is as well. Watch for the HST coming to your home very soon (if not right now), if you live in Ontario or BC.

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Coming Week Financially

This coming week could be quite interesting for many different reasons but here are just a few.

Labour Numbers

Stats Canada will be publishing a new Labour Survey this week and we shall see if the drain of jobs continues in Canada. From what I saw last week at a job fair I attended, I would suggest the unemployed numbers will be higher. Remember the February unemployment rate was 7.7%, but that may roll higher, in my opinion.

Earnings

Many firms are announcing their earnings this week, which could either crush the mini Bull market that started last week or it could help things keep going, with nice surprises (like RIM’s announcement last week). The upswing in the market may keep going, but how big it will be (or whether it is a sucker’s rally) remains to be seen.

 

Lent is almost over

How goes your Lenten financial project? Mine is doing ok, but remember that Easter is the New Beginning you might be looking for as well. In Christianity, Easter is really the “big thing” (not Christmas), and it is an excellent time to start something new as well, so keep that in mind this week as well. Setting goals and keeping your focus on them is how you will succeed in your Financial Journey.

Tax Deadlines

Remember either in Canada or the U.S. your income tax filing deadlines loom. This long weekend coming up might be an excellent time to finish that off, and tick off another box on your list of things to do (or you can go out and rake leaves, either one needs to get done).

Pity the Billionaires

Forbes announced their list of billionaires and the number of alleged Billionaires is down sharply from last year’s number from 1,125 to 793.  How many “billionaires” are now collecting Unemployment Premiums? What do you do with a Billion dollars? Would any of them like to adopt me or my kids? These are all good questions to ponder on a Monday.

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Video: The Great Depression

The NFB has a very Canadian perspective on the Great Depression and how things were in Canada at the time.

The talk of riots and how many people were unemployed is a very sobering story to hear, given the current situation the world is in. Seventy two hour work weeks? Profiteering? The Capitalist system must get it’s house in order?

Hmmm, maybe this sounds a little TOO familiar.

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Election Plank: Household Income

One of my favorite topics to discuss with anyone political is: why is it that the Canadian Tax system seems to be skewed against the single income family?

Most of the time the response I get back is a lot of “baffle gab” about supporting families through social programs, etc., however that is not what I am saying.

If you gave a couple (be they married or not) an ability to pool their income and income split (as they currently can with pension income after age 55), you might be surprised at what comes of this. If I was able to income split with my spouse (when I was employed at least) the amount of tax I would have paid would have been staggeringly less than I did as a single income earner, even with the paltry tax credit for the “Married tax credit”.

I have done numerous articles on this one (and have caused some interesting discussions in the comments as well), so I won’t rehash the numbers, but I think if the government gave families or couples the capability to income split or income balance (if that made sense) and had the concept of the Household Income, I tihnk they might see:

  • More single income families, since it would make more sense for a spouse to stay home instead of taking a lower paying job.
  • Higher employment numbers, since there would be many people who would stop looking for work, as they are more of a family asset as a tax shelter.

Haven’t had any politicos appear on my doorstep yet, but given I am home all day long, I feel sorry for the first one to show up on my doorstep.

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Who Lives On The Median Income?

Looking over at Stats Canada this week, you can see that they have published a report on the Income of Individuals for 2005. The article says:

The median total income of individuals amounted to $25,400 in 2005, up 1.9% from 2004 after adjusting for inflation. This is the largest annual increase in median total income of individuals since 2001. The median is the point where one half of incomes are higher and the other half are lower.

This is one of those, good news, and head scratching news. The good news is that the median total income has gone up by 1.9% so that is a good thing (it would be bad if it had gone down). The head scratcher part of it, is the question of just who is living on this income level?

The median employment income is a little higher at $26,300, but that again seems pretty darn low.

If you have a couple that together are making $52,600 that is a bit better, but again, that seems low.

Now let us bear in mind what the mathematical term Median actually means. Do not confuse Median for Mean or Arithmetic Average , which is:

Mathematical Mean

Pardon me? Add all your numbers up and then divide it by the total number of numbers you added. This article does not mention Mean or Average income, it talks about Median.

What is Median?

What is Median

Now THAT looks complicated doesn’t it? OK, what Median is, simply is the middle value in a list of numbers. This middle number may be nowhere near the average of all of the numbers, so this Median means half of all Canadians either make or earn less than $25,400.00 and half earn more than that.

What does this number mean, in my opinion is that the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” is widening at an alarming rate these days.

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