Wednesday, March 28, 2007

it was a conservative budget.

Maybe that's the problem.

I've spent what would probably be qualified as an unhealthy amount of time thinking about the budget, and I've decided that part of the problem is that people have forgotten what "conservative" is. "Fiscal conservatives" are upset that there wasn't more broad-based tax relief or cutting of programs, but forget that that's not necessarily what fiscal conservatism is all about.

Tasha Kheiriddin cleared it all up while she was debating Gerry Nicholls on Mike Duffy - she said to Gerry, "It's a conservative budget. It's not a libertarian budget..."

And that's the truth.

Conservatism (small-c) is based on valuing traditional beliefs and practices, and this includes, just as an example, encouraging families to have children (even children they can't afford!) by paying them off with the money of people who don't.

Sure, this wasn't the case with the whole budget - not all of the document was conservative, for one thing. And, to be fair, while I didn't like it (to put it mildly) it wasn't all bad, either. But like it or not, it is not a conservative value to oppose any targeting of funds to certain members of society.

At the end of the day, all that those "fiscal conservatives" were looking for was just a little bit of libertarianism in their budget, and this wasn't the government for it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

shock!: government agency is corrupt

Hey, look! It's yet another reason the government shouldn't be in the business of... er... business.

Time to privatize, open up the market and let competition sort this mess out.

(x-posted to the Institute for Liberal Studies)

Thursday, March 22, 2007


What the hell???

something that'd never occurred to me.

From Small Dead Animals - here is something that never occurred to me, though it seems obvious now that I've thought about it - as research makes ethanol fuels more plausible, they are going up in demand, and the grains that are used to produce ethanol are (naturally) becoming more expensive worldwide.

Could this be the beginning of the end of farm subsidies? Will ever-higher demand for grains allow African nations to make a significant entry to the grains market and begin to pull themselves out of poverty?

It will be very interesting to see how this develops.

(x-posted to The Institute for Liberal Studies)

No Spin Zone

If I hear the marathon/sprint line one more time my head is going to explode.

If the CPC wants my support for its actions, it needs to start worrying less about how to use the spin to make its actions sound acceptable and more about actually enacting some acceptable policy.

If you want to appeal to Liberals at the expense of (a portion of) your base, fine. But don't act so confused when there's backlash, don't dodge responsibility for what you've done by playing the blame game, and don't patronize principled opponents with meaningless five-second soundbites.

On the bright side, sanity reigns in Inkless Wells. I've really been enjoying his commentary on all this madness.

Yesterday Bill C-257, the evil, evil anti-scab legislation that I hate was defeated in Parliament.

As if the budget wasn't upsetting enough, though I woke up this morning to learn that my MP, who is a Tory, voted in favour of the bill. On the bright side, it looks like he was the only Tory to do so, but between this and the budget I am still grumpy.

But there's no point in dwelling on that today - there's good news. The important thing is that the motion didn't pass, and that's good for Canada.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Andrew Coyne for leader

Dead on and depressing.

... Is this what you voted for, you loyal Conservative followers? Is this what you suffered for, through all those long years of Liberal rule, dreaming of the Conservative revolution to come? "Hiring 50% more environmental enforcement officers?" Increasing "the share of meal expenses that long-haul truck drivers can deduct?" Tax credits for lacrosse? Exactly how does this differ from any Liberal budget -- other than outspending them, I mean?

And on the tax side? We had been conditioned to expect very little in the way of tax cuts by the Tories' trumpeting of their risible "tax-back guarantee," in which the interest savings from debt reduction -- a whole $20 per taxpayer -- were to be dedicated to tax reduction. But I had not realized quite how little it would be. Because even the "tax back guarantee," it turns out, involves no actual tax cutx of any kind. Rather, "the interest savings enhance the Government's ability to deliver on new personal income tax reductions" -- mark those words -- "including the introduction of the Working Income Tax Benefit, the $2,000 child credit, raising the spousal amount, and increasing the age limit for converting a registered retirement savings plan."

Now, what do the items on that list have in common? They are not tax cuts, in the usual sense of a reduction in tax rates. Rather, they are spending programs, delivered through the tax system. The "$2,000 child credit" is in fact a $310 baby bonus. The Working Income Tax Benefit is an earnings supplement. These may be fine programs, but they're programs: money the government gives you, depending on whether you fit the criterion. That's why they're called tax expenditures -- and why they're accounted as such on the government's books.

So even the $1-billion "tax back" -- out of total revenues of $237-billion -- turns out, on closer inspection, to be zero. What was it Stephen Harper was saying the other day, about the people who didn't have the time to organize a protest or the money to hire a lobbyist? Well, they're the ones that got left out of this budget: the common, ordinary, undifferentiated taxpayers. If you perform little tricks for the government, do the things it wants you to do -- ride the bus, live past 65, invest in a manufacturing company -- you get a cookie. But there isn't one real, honest-to-God, across-the-board tax cut in the entire document. The government that raised personal income tax rates in 2006 cannot scrounge up enough revenues to lower them in 2007.

Emphasis is all mine, baby. Applying it was both cathartic and therapeutic.

h/t Peter Jaworski

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's not just about the budget.

I mean, sure. A lot of it is about the budget, and, you know, the fact it didn't make any steps in the right direction that even required balancing to win support of the freaking Bloc.

But what's far more upsetting is the way that we have been told after every announcement that's reeked of socialism or pandering to special interests, we're asked to "just wait for the budget" and then we'll have something we can stand behind. Instead, the budget was the most disappointing piece of legislation put forward thus far by the Conservative government, and less than an hour after it was announced, the spin became "just wait for the next budget."

Look, I understand that we're in a minority parliament, but nothing? I mean, sure the fiscal imbalance needs solving, but the solution we implemented is just more old-fashioned socialist centralized redistribution of wealth.

I "waited for the budget," and all I got was bigger government and social engineering. How many principled tories aren't going to follow the carrot all the way through to next budget? How can we really believe it's a carrot we'll ever be allowed to reach?

Monday, March 19, 2007

what the expletive.

So after hearing about the socialist spend-a-thon we're apparently going on for the next year and then let the boyfriend yell in my ear for fifteen minutes about how much we suck, I decided to do what I normally do when we suck and call my favourite spinner so that he can at least tell me why it's not so bad and now we can win and get a majority and cut taxes and spending... but he really didn't have anything either, other than saying he was glad to get the "hey look I have kids, give me money" money. [Edit: he's come up with some good stuff to say now, just to be fair... but I disagree with all of it too strongly to be swayed.]

There were a few almost good things, like cutting subsidies to the oil sands, but why can't they be coupled with corporate tax cuts to go along with it? And where the fuck is my broad-based income tax cut?? Targeted tax credits are just handouts with a Conservative name.

And seriously, the candidate we've been talking to is a blue liberal, not an orange one. How are we supposed to recruit like this?

I'm not a conservative and I haven't called myself one for a long, long time. Tax cuts and spending reductions are all I want from the Conservative Party! What the hell, Jim?

Rant, rant, rant, rant, rant!

Bernier's bad bet

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press Maxime Bernier is taking a gamble. He believes that there is a large, disenfranchised voting bloc in Canada...