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Everything posted by cannuck

  1. The petty annoyances of having to run a business kept me away, but I did do a quick read through this growing thread. My takeaway so far is that some portion of the posters seem to still think there is something special in tax treatment for a business owner. Primarily the dividend tax rate. Well, last time I asked my accountant (I know literally NOTHING of taxation other than I have to pay it and do what I am told to stay legal - that is why I pay accountants) that same exemption is available to ALL taxpayers. The envy expressed over a business owner being able to avail oneself of such an advantage is NOT unique to business owners, small or large. So just put your money into a real business that pays a dividend - that's what we have done, that is what you can do. Then, there is the issue of playing tax dodge with corporate expenditures. Do you really think I have the time to waste on nickel and diming the taxman????? If so, you have no idea what it is like to be in a business that actually DOES something rather than fill in tax forms and otherwise shift ink blots. I/we could only avail ourselves of this "great" advantage by cheating and risking wasting a bunch more time with audits - worse yet having some jackass employee of another agency sticking their nose into my/our business. I will not even open an envelope from a government agency of any kind because it will not make me any money, make my products or services any better but most of all allow me to concentrate on what I do - which is run the business. BTW: I have a template for the ultimate definition of what "fairness" is for legislation, regulation and ultimately taxation. When I once asked Sir Roger Douglas how he managed to reconcile his very conservative policies required to save his country from collapse with the fact he was the Minister of a Labour government, he replied with four of the most intelligent and well chosen words I have ever heard: "we simply removed privilege". THAT, IMHO, is what a flat tax system would do - except of course for the whole issue of wealth re-distribution rather than wealth creation. It is also the test I apply to ANY law, regulation or policy. As we govern now, the whole massive mess is in the full time business of granting privilege - at a cost of billions per month to the taxpayer. The other big deal about an ultra simple tax system (I believe I could write all of the rules on a single sheet of legal size paper) is that it would eliminate the vast majority of the massive business (it is far more than a cottage industry) that plays tax accounting gains for business large and small. That massive amount of service is creating no wealth, and contributing to the structure of business that encourages nothing but wealth re-distribution as a means to accumulating wealth, rather than wealth creation. Take a tax accountant out of his office and put a tool in his hands and he converts to a productive part of the economy, not another part of the parasitic service industry.
  2. I wish it was just a simple as everyone seems to want it to be. It is not. Small business itself (assuming incorporated) pays tax at the small business tax rate...so far, so good. BUT: if the business owner takes any money out of that business (which is pretty much essential) he or she will pay income tax at the same rate as anyone else on that income. There are no doubt some small enterprises that rack up some deductible expenses in the name of the business that are really for personal benefit, but that is what CRA will find when they audit. I have been a "small business" for most of my life, and I can assure you that there is no free ride. Personal income is personal income, regardless of who pays you. As to the Calgary study: I am sure you can find a "study" from academia that will support just about anything you postulate. From my experience, the result of ANY study is merely the product of the bias with which it was conceived and written. The vast majority of EVERYTHING I have ever read concludes that small business is the largest creator of new employment. Other than some rare exceptions, to get to the big business stage, it usually begins with a small business. I guess Trudeau - who I doubt has ever signed the front side of a paycheque - borne with the silver spoon, etc - is so far away from knowing what it takes to start and run a business I can understand why he wishes to invoke the politics of envy in his desperate struggle to be noticed. That being said, where there ARE some very big loopholes is for business that creates little or no wealth to use the rules to pay next to no tax at all. The money "made" from speculative gains has always received preferential treatment in most Western tax systems. When you think about it, a speculative gain simply makes one investor a winner while another is a loser. Instead of beating up on the most productive part of the economy, what kind of idiot would give a pass to activity that creates no wealth at all? The answer is: almost every country gives a capital gain a free ride. Dividends, on the other hand, often get double taxation applied. Our little break for the first $50k sounds like a gift, but the income that EARNED the money to be distributed by dividend has already been taxed. Not all dividend income comes from productive work, but the problem is when you give a break to speculation and ALWAYS tax creation of wealth, you drive the investment side of economic activity away from Main Street and onto Bay Street. I used to have the mantra of "one tax, flat tax" and eliminate ANY exemptions as a goal. However, I have come to realize that this should apply only to wealth that has been created (add value to a resource or deliver service in support of same). But, watching Wall Street destroy the largest economy in the world after dismantling the protective legislation that kept its greed somewhat contained, I have come to believe EVERY speculative/capital gain should be taxed at 99% on day one, 95% on month one, and decreasing to nominal tax rate over a span of 5 years. Then, NEVER tax a dividend (as virtually all will be paid from actual operating profits - as investment will go towards real business instead of stock scams, real estate inflation, etc.) Everything else should get taxed at flat rate with some kind of basic exemption on the first $10k or whatever.
  3. I guess I have found where "the line" is, and managed to step over it, so I will re-post edited version: Yes, $46 WTI today is a b1tch, but people seem to forget that that price a mere 15 years ago was $12 +/- = $10 at the wellhead for sweet light and as low as $2 for heavy sour. The people who are hurting are the small independents who have very high cost of producing mature fields, and the huge mass of johnny-come-lately investors sucked into very high cost shale plays. To put the Canadian side into perspective: we are far more damaged by OBAMA blocking the pipeline for Ft. Mac oil to flow to Cushing than anything else. When oil was well over $100, typical wellhead prices for Rainbow blend were around $55. The big boys in the oil sands are not juniors, they are majors in it for the long haul. They can weather out as many years of whatever price. Break even on operating cost is a lot lower than you might think - and their capital is mostly patient. These are strategic investments, not Wall Street flash-in-the-pan crap. Still, it hurst us as an exporting nation at a time when we really can't afford it. The US real world is another story. Production peaked at around 11mm bbls/day just before the 73 crash. It had slipped down under 7mm until Haliburton learned to frac very long horizontals in shale, and now is back up over 10mm. Unfortunately, consumption over that same period went up just a little to nearly 20mm a day, so one way or another, the US has to import a LOT of oil. While they have NOT reached anything near self-sufficiency, they have reduced their imports a fair bit with shale boom. The reason to really screw up the market probably has a lot to do with the DEMOCRAT lack of favour with big oil, or maybe the opposite for their support of the newcomers sticking their money into shales. Bottom line here is that while some of the new production is very expensive, there is a lot of oil coming out of the ground at historic average costs - probably close to today's wellhead values. So, big oil can wait this one out too. Saudi is NOT the ultra-low cost producer they once were. While their rates of production are quite flexible, their lifting costs are much higher these days since most of their fields are mature and in secondary or tertiary recovery. They are also a country who's revenue is very largely dependent upon crude oil exports (less so refined product, as they really only started exporting on a large scale a few years ago). That's the background. Now for the scoop: The Du....DEMOCRATS can crap on oil by dumping prices and looking like heros to their voter base for bringing back lower fuel prices, achieve their laudable goal to de-fund both Russia and ISO and come out not too bad overall. Saudi is very much co-operating with the US as they are still the driving force behind OPEC. Not only do they burn other OPEC members badly (such as Nigeria and Venezuela), it will cost them valuable political capital within OPEC to do so. It also slashes their own revenues. Much more so than the US (a net importer) the Saudis are paying a very big price to help out the US (and the rest of the world IMHO) in this case. They deserve our respect and gratitude. And: for Harper to be selling military transport to them: more power to him (and us). Anything we export to an ally with value added is a big deal - and if it means keeping some of the details quiet - what's the harm. If it was YOUR job he earned by kissing up to KSA, I doubt you would be screaming foul for him agreeing to their terms (that cost us nothing to comply). Also: it truly amazes me that he pulled this off as his government has been a lot more of a slave to Tel Aviv than anywhere else.
  4. With that I can strongly agree. Population is the very thing that puts our sustainability in question. Worse yet, cities are little more than a$$hole factories these days.
  5. It is not the "oil lobby" that is preventing you from investing in your own solution (I hope you don't expect me to do it for you). The problem is the greed and profligate waste of energy of our typical Western life style. If you think this is such a good idea, why haven't you done it? We have a cabin in the mountains that is WAY off grid, and if you want to do so, the technology as you mentioned IS there. We use a combination of solar and wind, store it in glass jar cell lead acid batteries and have all of the comforts of home - just with minimal energy waste in the process. BUT: don't for one minute think this is cheap. It would be a tiny fraction of the cost if we could just plug in - but if we weren't "inspired" by the costs, we wouldn't have devised the strategies and equipment to be sufficiently energy efficient.
  6. Having been kind of busy trying to earn a living the last few months, haven't checked in here. So, I actually read through this ENTIRE thread in one sitting. My takeaway? Other than a few posts starting around 263, there has been zero discussion of any issues that are fundamentally key to the future of this (or any other) country. I am one of those people who has been pretty deep into the partisan scene, and long ago realized that it is a dead end in a big way. Doesn't matter WHAT party you stuff into office, we have a system of rule-by-special-interest that defeats the interests of the people the day cabinet is sworn in. Representative government is the ONLY way (outside of a benevolent dictatorship) to reverse this problem. Instead of substance, our campaigners are fronting the usual bunch of relatively insignificant diversionary policy issues, all just to get into the chair and dance to the tune of their masters. The use of "tommy" is inappropriate, I agree. This moniker belongs exclusively to "Tommy the Commie" who has rightfully earned his place in history. Of course, the fact that after embracing the Regina Manifesto and seeing much of its rhetoric turn into reality in this country, he went into his "retirement" job as a director of Husky Oil, so we can clearly see how the new party should have been called "New Hypocrites". Worth noting in the 300+ area, the question of NDP and unions comes up, few ever remembering that the NDP IS a trade union (formally the amalgamation of the CCF and the CLC). Now, while speaking of Tommy the Commie, it is pretty important to remember that the person who moved this country further to the left than any other in history carried a Communist party card when he studied at the Sorbonne. Thusly, I am confused when someone today tries to tell me there is any difference between the Drivel Party and the New Hypocrites. Sliding over the the "right", the usual Nazi BS got thrown around. How curious it is to be applied to the National Socialist Party, that was a genuine Labour party to the core. It does, however, serve well to demonstrate how far wrong ANY philosophy can go if the people let it. So does that make a Harper Conservative some kind of good thing? Well, nobody in that caucus would know a genuine conservative if one bit him (or her) on the arse. So, conservatism (implying the righteous right) is some kind of solution? If you look South of the 40th from whence the archetypical "right" emanates, instead of some kind of genuine democratic process, we see instead a very deep version of aforementioned rule-by-special-interest. AND: the flavour of the century is to ensconce Casino Capitalism as the de facto religion of the economic West. Until the incredibly ignorant populace, led by incredibly ignorant academia can get their head around such things as truly representative government (devoid of partisan power, if not representation), and learn that an economy hasn't got a hope in hell of sustaining when the vast majority of activity is purely speculative and almost totally devoid of creation of any wealth, we are doomed to argue endlessly and pointlessly about the silly things that really make little difference in anything come every Federal election. Now you have guessed it: I really don't want to vote for ANY of the choices we have in any partisan way. I will simply try to determine which candidate in my riding seems most honest and able to represent my interests in Ottawa. THAT is what IMHO any and all politicians should be required and restricted to doing. You don't want to know what I think of oil sands, child care and a bunch of the other crap, because it sure as hell won't give anyone here the warm fuzzies.
  7. When oil companies were complaining about the cost of double hull tankers (around Y2K), oil was selling for $10 = far below the cost of production. It costs a few dollars just to SHIP the stuff, so that was the reason for their resistance. Also, very low percentage of oil spills (far less than 10%) at sea cam from tankers. BUT, of course, a catastrophic failure was a big deal, so double hull it is today. The beneficiaries of oil and gas development are not just oil companies, but the consumers who depend upon the never ending stream of very cheap petroleum for them to waste at an astonishing rate. Someone said renewables are not and will never be able to provide base load. Well, let me give you a hint: when the non-renewables run out, renewables will be all that is left to provide that base load. So it would be really stupid not to develop them while we are busy piddling away the finite reserves of petroleum. There are two arguments as to what is needed to become sustainable: one is the incredible level of waste in our ultra-hedonistic lifestyle, and the other is the stupidity of unchecked population growth. Instead we bitch and moan about the cost of getting more crap to waste as if there were no tomorrow. The same people whining about the risks that are associated with producing the resources they so happily waste will be some of the first to protest if those resources are not available for their pleasure.
  8. I am in agreement that this multicultural immigration thing has failed. We should make Canada into a melting pot with only one language. Question is which one? Cree, Inuktitut or Ojibway?? As to P. T....let me revise that to be politically correct....the subversive, dangerous Liberal leader who dictated 16 of the darkest years in Canadian history.... version of multi-culturalism: it is probably the ONLY thing in his reign of destruction with which I CAN agree. The advantage in business internationally as a Canadian vs. Yanks and Euro-weenies (ESPECIALLY Yanks) is that as a Canadian, I usually come into a situation with an attitude of trying to understand and co-exist with a host culture, vs. the US concept of considering them idiots because they don't want to be just like me.
  9. Well, this should go down in history: I agree with Suzuki, SOME of our immigration policy is definitely trying to skim the cream of other countries' crops of professionals. What I can not possibly agree with is the idea that we should be doing anything BUT that in seeking immigrants. We do allow in vast numbers of people who, let's face it, are really not much of a contribution to our economy (unless you count gang warfare and drug trading as part of our economic model). THAT should stop dead in its tracks. I prefer to think that bringing in the right level of professional skill sets means we have a far better chance of developing our resource economy with less impact on the environment that just maintaining the status quo. Fresh blood, new ideas and new connections are very much part of that possibility. Also more educated and highly employed people tend to have far fewer children than...er..."lower class" families (you know, the ones that JT thinks will vote for the Drivel party) reducing the load per family and per dollar of economic activity on the environment over the next few generations.
  10. A directorship is something that generally goes along as a right of a certain block of shares to appoint. The responsibility of the board is to represent shareholders, as they own the company. The notion that some...ANYoutside force should have the right and power to decide who, how, what, why or when a director of a private corporation is appointed or removed is ludicrous. The concept that seems to be lost on some here and definitely on the idiots on the Hill is that a private corporation is just that - PRIVATE. Even a publicly traded company is still someone's property. With the massive drift to the left - and specific lack of respect for private property - the concept of what I do, when, where, with whom and why with MY property is even lost on what laughably passes for government of the "right". It should be nobody else's damned business but the owner of the property in question. Now, if we were talking about shareholders' rights and particularly minority shareholders' rights, that is a very different story. The way that financial institutions have highjacked corporate governance is way out of control, and should indeed be the place where government regulates what people do with someone else's property and money.
  11. Leave the oil in the ground? We get most of our oil from Venezuela?? Geez, what planet did I land on? As the OP and his link suggests, we live in a resource-driven economy. Always have, always will. Oil is a finite resource, so when the rest of the world runs out of it, there won't be any technological market that we can service with our oil. We would be idiotic in the EXTREME not to cash in on the resource that we have while everyone else in the world is becoming addicted to its waste...er, I meant USE. We do not buy any significant amount of oil from Venezuela, and we produce far, far more oil than Canada could ever need. Thing is, if we weren't exporting all of this oil, potash, uranium, nickel, gold, diamonds, etc. we really wouldn't have any internal need for "our" oil. What is very important to appreciate is that our largest oil deposit - that Athabasca Sands, is extremely capital and labour intensive to extract. That means instead of paying one pumper to check in on the well ever day or so for a few minutes, we need dozens of people using millions of dollars worth of equipment (much built in Canada) to extract that same amount of oil. What that really amounts to is a fair bit of value not "added" but "extracted" from every petro dollar that we receive for heavy oil exports. Canada has a lot of oil and gas, but the real problem is we can't get it to market. To put it into perspective: the Athabasca Sands alone represent a body of hydrocarbons that is either larger than everything in the Persian Gulf (based on some proven recovery values from 15 years ago) to larger than the rest of the world's reserves COMBINED (the gross amount of oil that is in place). The reservoir that is driving the ND economy to absolutely crazy levels (the Bakken shales) are routhly 30% in ND, 20% in MT and 50% in SK. Goes on, and on. The US has turned around its national decline curve and brought their traditional 10MM bbl/dy habit almost 7MM today vs. well under 5MM just two years ago of domestic production. That is wiping out the market for crude oil imports from Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, MENA - but has hardly put a dent in the supply from the blue-eyed sheiks of AB. Only the politics of pipelines is screwing that up. Speaking of which: it is not just the Dummycrats in Yankee land that are making a mockery out of pipeline utilities development. We have to remember that our recent largess of granting vast tracts of land and resources to Aboriginals pretty much deadlocks ANY pipeline being built to the West Coast through a new route.
  12. Did not have time to read all pages, but from skimming, I don't think anyone hit the key to what would be needed to make representation truly by population (and OF the people) - elimination of political parties. Voters in North America, and I expect around the world have been able to see through how rule-by-special-interest is enabled by partisanship and the resulting institutions of political parties. You need to spend some time around politics in India to see openly what really goes on behind closed doors in our more "enlightened" society. In my perfect world, the basic rule of government would be to do what I was told by Sir Roger Douglas when I asked him how he could do such "Conservative" things as he had to do to save his country's economy with the fact he was Minister in a Labour government - "we simply removed privilege". That is the very opposite of what the whole purpose of political parties is - to provide a platform for dispensing special privilege.
  13. new to the site, late to the thread, so no way to respond to 13 pages except to say that posts 108-112 come close to reality. To suggest Chinese enjoy more freedoms than Westerners is ludicrous in the extreme. My best friend and business partner when in employ of a giant Chinese state-owned multi-national could not travel freely for business without express permission of government ON APPLICATION even after he rose to be the vice-chair of international business. Ten years later, things are better, but don't even begin to try to tell me there are any reasonable level of personal freedoms or human rights comparable to what we experience. What you ARE free to do is pollute the countryside, poison people around the world and lie about any document, your income, etc. Unless you become a pain in the arse to someone in the Party or some level of government, you really are pretty much alone to do as you please. China HAS all kinds of laws protecting environment, consumers, etc. but they are seldom ever enforced unless to serve agendae of party or bureaucrats. The reason you pay more for imported goods than domestic equivalent is that Chinese KNOW that what something appears to be is not what it might be in fact. The subject of language was briefly broached: due to the restrictions on travel for decades, very few people in China speak or understand many of the dialects outside of their home. You can learn the words, but unless you know the regional dialect and on top of that are sufficiently familiar with the culture to understand context, you have very little idea of what you are saying and what is being said. HUGE blocks of people do speak Mandarin and/or Cantonese, but... People in China are totally distrusting in government - for good reason. It is the same Communist party today from which Chairman Mao managed to starve as many as 100,000,000 people by nationalizing all farm land. Made the Holucost look like a small car crash. China's turnaround came with the wisdom of the Four Pillars of Modern Reform - courtesy of Deng's European exposure and education. HOWEVER: to think this is a capitalist society and system is extremely wrong. This is institutionalized exploitation of the strengths and weaknesses of Capitalism as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their own people and situation in a centrally planned campaign that would make Marx blush. Even the adaptation of technology is not happenstance (or internally developed), it occurs due to massive monitoring of worldwide cyber communications and data storage in a State sponsored wave of cyber-terrorism and cyber-theft beyond your wildest imagination. Now, all of that being said: if you ask a citizen if they are better off now than 10 and 20 years ago, they would ask if you are crazy, of course they are. If you ask them if they expect to be better off in another 10 or 20 years, they will reply "of course". So, while they don't have Western standards of living and freedom, what you see happening is simply the very quickly evolving "catch up" to the rest of the world that is inevitable. China (and even to the understanding of Chinese leaders) can no longer stand still, nor will her people. And that's a good thing. Should we sanction them for their extremely one-sided trade practices? No, not IMHO. HOWEVER: we really MUST protect our consumers from to total lack of truth and integrity of Chinese manufactured and exported products. THAT is fair ball by our rules.
  14. Do I think MJ should be legal? Consumption: yes, Cultivation and distribution: exactly as per alcohol, but I don't believe government has any business being IN business, be it distributing booze, other drugs or sick care.
  15. Uh...religion IS a mental health issue.
  16. Absolutely, here or anywhere else in the world. Europeans drive intelligent vehicles because fuel is double what it is in Canada. When the last price collapse of crude oil put gasoline down to a buck, Yanks went hog wild buying SUVs and pickups (also some driven by tax break for big pig commercial vehicles that forced most corporate buyers who would have sent someone down the road in a small car to put them in a Suburban or one ton truck.) This is the main problem for sustainability when oil prices and fuel prices fall. We start (or make that CONTINUE) doing really stupid things. Low oil prices make alternatives either non-viable, or dependent upon tax concessions or subsidies.
  17. gasoline is a consumer product, and is very volatile in pricing. NOTHING in the tanks or distribution system is going to be replaced in minutes, so the price is moving based upon some pre-emptive moves by the distribution chain. For gasoline, it is all about market share - without getting so aggressive so as to pi$$ off your competitor and start a price war. That decision is seldom, if EVER made at the station level, because for either an independent or franchise, the margins are so slim that they just don't have the kind of room to play. Can't give you the RUG prices (don't know, don't care), but for diesel, you can buy it by the shipload for about $0.72 Cdn a litre, a few cents more for ULSD, so let's say $0.75. BUT: that litre is in a tank in Rotterdam (or eslewhere). Crude oil (WTI) is about $0.50 Cdn a litre. So, getting it to the refinery, refining it, and getting it into a major distribution hub happens for about $0.25/litre. I can tell you that there is virtually NO profit from merchant refining in North American market - only really works if you are processing your own feedstock. From what I have seen, Canadian refiners will sell for about the same price as Platt's in Rotterdam, so let's assume it is in tanks in Edmonton at that price. The total fuel taxes in SK (where I live) are around $0.38/litre, so we are now at $1.13, and the wholesaler has to buy it, transport it to market and then the retailer has to make his money all on about $0.07 (against current $1.20 price). This is why I am telling you that there just isn't a lot to play with at the end of the downstream chain when it comes to supply/demand. Upstream, the price of crude oil is in the hands of the banks, not oil companies. Even though most of the oil produced is NOT traded on commodities exchanges, the prices are imposed upon the industry by financial institutions, not some industry controlled marketing pool. This is due to OUR deference to Casino Capitalism as the economy of the world today, rather than the actual business of doing business on Main Street (where even Big Oil once played). Imagine how a small, independent US oil producer who has to pick up the crumbs under the table of the majors and has a genuine cost of production of around $70 a bbl (normal for mature fields in secondary recovery) when "his" VP strokes a deal with Saudi that will slash the value of a barrel to $80 or less (which means well under $70 at the wellhead)???? BTW: at the height of demand for crude in general, the lack of transportation in the West meant that all of the new production was discounted about 50% at the wellhead. That published WCS price is NOT what the producers all got. I guess what I am trying to say is that the oil business is very, very complex. Pricing is dependent upon all kinds of factors that have very little to do with market economics. For example: 15 years ago, WTI was $10US, and RUG in US sold for $1. at 10:1 ratio. Today, when crude oil was $100, Yankee doodle dandies were wallowing down the Beltway in their SUVs at over $4 a gallon, a 25:1 ratio. Imagine Joe consumer if he was grossing 40% his paycheque today vs. 1999? Sorry to barge in here with nothing but some cold hard facts, but when someone brought this thread to my attention, thought it might be interesting to join a Canadian political site (haven't found many and US ones are just about the Uniparty inhouse bickering)
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