Random Thoughts – Leaky Pipes Edition

Given the two running themes this week have been the leaky plumbing in my house and Advent this should make for a very interesting set of Random Thoughts for the week.

Coalition

First let me say, this is what makes Canada an amazing country. We are in the middle of a Financial Melt Down of Apocalyptic nature, yet our politicians have felt it was not “all about them” so this Carnival of the Inept is brewed up. The script reads straight out of a Marx Brothers movie (Groucho Harper, Chico Dion, Zeppo Layden and Harpo May), actually that is giving Marx Brothers movies a bad rap.

Plumbing for the Week

For those of you who believe this whole thematic premise was a clever writing trick, I give you the hole in my ceiling!

 

Leaky Pipes

Leaky Pipes

 

No they are not leaking now, but just to show I am a blogger of integrity and I don’t just make this stuff up. I note Michael James attempted to steal my thematic concept with his post Enbridge TAPS Program Mishap, very cheap, go strong to the hoop, or don’t go at all!

Advent Financial Calendar Box Day 6

Today we open the box on our Advent Financial Calendar and find a Credit Card bill with a very large total and interest charges on it.

That’s a really crappy thing to find in an Advent Calendar, but if you plan on overspending at Christmas (no one does, but it happens) and think you can simply let it slide because you have a “low-interest” credit card, think again. Once you start a rotating debt strategy resolving it is never easy.

Advent and Christmas are for celebrating life and enjoying family and friends, not for putting yourself into debt or worse. Money may not buy happiness but Debt sure doesn’t either.

Around the Financial Blogosphere This Week

This week there were some very interesting posts, here are but a few:

Clean Air Cash Grab

I note that Daulton McGuinty assumes I have lots of money, so he is going to make me have my two cars checked again for the “Clean Air Cash Grab Emissions test”, before I can renew my registration. I have ranted about this before, but I thought this program was being phased out? Maybe it’s a special just for me? Grumble…

Have a good weekend all!

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Economic Update: Take that Fat Cats!

Jim Flaherty came through with an interesting and I would say very optimistic Economic Update (mini-budget, whatever), yesterday that took aim at something that all voters love to see under financial siege, Government Agencies and MP’s.

No Debt Financing?

With some very creative and optimistic accounting the Finance Minister is promising to try to have either balanced budgets or very small surpluses up to 2013, which is very contrary to what most economists are saying is possible in the current economic instability (i.e. Financial Apocalypse).

Flaherty did couch his optimism with the following cold statement:

“Any additional actions to support the economy will have an impact on the bottom-line numbers in our next budget. These actions, or a further deterioration in global economic conditions, could result in a deficit.”

So he isn’t saying there isn’t going to be deficits, just that there will be measures taken to avoid a deficit if possible.

Take that Ottawa Fat Cats

 

Not Really an Ottawa Fat Cat

Not Really an Ottawa Fat Cat

No that is not a real Ottawa fat cat, it’s my cat from when I lived in Kitchener, but he is a good Metaphor for the “Fat Cats” in Ottawa.

Some of the measures against the “Ottawa Fat Cats” taken will be:

  • Elimination of the $1.75 per vote allowance to support political parties that receive more than 2 per cent of the vote, staring April 2009. I really like this one, because all of the politicians are howling about it, so it must be a good thing.
  • Wage controls holding increases to public servants, including MPs and senators, to 2.3 per cent for last year and 1.5 per cent for each of the next three years. I really like this one, because the MP’s are mad about this as well, and the public service doesn’t like it either.
  • Slash cost overruns on government travel, hospitality, conferences, exchanges and political services, this sounds like something they should have been doing already? What exactly were they doing before this, wait, I don’t want to know the answer to that one, so please don’t answer.
  • Provincial equalization payments are gauged to the average GDP growth over a three-year period. Can’t wait to hear Dalton McGuinty tirade about this one.
  • No mention of any extra taxes, but since this is not a budget, then I guess nothing has to be mentioned about that (yet).

Some pro-active steps being taken are:

  • Giving $350 million in equity into the Export Development Canada and another $350 million in equity into the Business Development Bank of Canada. Interesting, guess I should send my resume in there since they might be hiring soon.
  • A scary one for soon to be pensioners is allowing federally regulated pension plans to spend 10 years instead of five to make solvency payments if necessary. This is a slippery slope I think and it could end up like some of the private pensions that are woefully underfunded these days.
  • Only allowing seniors to withdraw $7,500 instead of $10,000 from their Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs), which is supposed to slow the cashing in of stocks and mutual funds I guess.

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Bring back the rope!

No, no, no I am not some right wing wacko about to espouse the return of hanging of criminals in Canada (except for maybe those who take advantage of seniors, they should be horse whipped as well), no our friends at the NDP have come up with an OLD/NEW idea for saving energy. Bring back the clothes line!

I actually like this idea, saving some electricity by allowing folks to use clothes lines. Right now in a lot of communities there are by-laws or constructor rules that state you cannot use a clothes line in the community (in a lot of areas of Ottawa especially). Allowing folks to hang up their clothes to dry them, could save some energy use, and will allow folks that want to, to hang their clothes out to dry! My mother does this still, and what is wrong with it? Clothes dryers are a new thing comparatively, why not allow mother nature to dry our clothing, and better still, why not expunge ludicrous laws that ban this tradition.

Wow, these guys better stop having great ideas or I am going to be forced to think about maybe voting for them (maybe)!

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File Taxes Electronically Get a Break!

Says the NDP?!??!? Wow, I had to go back and read over this, but yes, Jack Layton is saying that anybody who E-filed this year should get a $10 rebate and next year, they should get FREE tax software to help modernize the whole tax system.

By encouraging Canadians to file their taxes electronically we can shrink the ecological footprint of the annual tax package by reducing printing, transportation and physical storage requirements,” Layton said. “Helping Canadians move away from paper tax forms is where government leadership is needed.”

OK, I get the gist of the argument, that cutting down the great paper storm that Tax season creates would be a good thing, but the NDP said this? Interesting indeed. I’ll give them a point on my scorecard for that one. Wonder when the Liberals will hop on board of this one?

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Election Wrap: It’s Like Buckley’s

I think this hour has 22 Minutes had the best “send up” of the Tories, which showed people acting like they had just taken Buckley’s Mixture, but they were in fact in a voting booth, choosing a Tory Candidate. That is just classic!

What does this mean? Means another minority government, mostly emasculated will pass a few little tidbits from their platform, and get turfed in 2 years or so (unless Paul Martin pulls a Pierre Trudeau, and cuts the legs out from under Harper in a Machiavellian fashion). The government will continue to function by sheer momentum, agencies will put together their yearly plans, and life will go on.

Am I upset, happy or indifferent about this turn of events? Apathetic really, don’t care right now, I’ll wait to see what this really means in the next few months.

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