CANADIAN SINGLES FACE TERRIBLE FINANCIAL FUTURE UNDER CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL PERSONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEMS

 

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

For this discussion singles include millennials not yet married age 18 to 34, singles never married no children age 35 to 65, and early in life divorced persons with no children.  Early in life divorced persons are unable to accumulate the same wealth as married persons who have two incomes and benefits times two over many years.

First and foremost, governments, society and married people have no concept about how difficult it is for ‘singles’ to live decent respectful financial lives.  Canadian financial system has been setup to give benefits compounded on benefits to the wealthy and the married but leave ‘singles’ out of financial formulas and exclude them from the family definition.

SINGLES DO NOT BENEFIT FROM THEIR INCOMES IN THE SAME WAY AS THE MARRIED AND THE WEALTHY

Singles don’t get to income split, pension split, etc. so they are forced to pay more taxes.   It is impossible for singles to save for retirement on a present day $50,000 income plus they are forced to live on a very frugal bare bones living wage income.  A single person with a 2019 $50,000 Alberta gross income ($25/hr. and 2,000 worked hours) and $11,000 tax, CPP and EI deductions results in a net income of $39,000 ($19.50/hr.).  This bare bones living wage that does not allow for savings, vacations or entertainment.   It is impossible to maximize $9,000 RRSP and $6,000 TFSA contributions (35% of $39,000 with tax reductions for RRSP) even though many believe $50,000 is a good income for unattached individuals and single parents.  As seniors these singles will likely be living only on CPP and OAS benefits.   

Singles are only able to achieve full contributions to RRSP and TFSA with $80,000 income but only can do so while living on a bare bones living wage of $39,000, 18% RRSP of $14,400 and $6,000 TFSA contribution with RRSP tax savings of $4,400 or extra income of $366 per month.

This is completely unrealistic since both OECD and Canadian median income statistics show median incomes for unattached individuals is considerably lower than $80,000 and indeed even $50,000.  The OECD calculator (oecd) shows that the median income for Canadian one person households is between $32,621 and $43,495 and income for one person households begins at $86,990 for the top 10%.   Canadian median income by households in 2015 (vanierinstitute) shows the total median household income in Canada was approximately $70,300 before taxes ($61,300 after taxes), and $34,200 before taxes (just under $30,900 after taxes) for individuals.  The Canadian Market Basket Measure (MBM) or OECD equivalence scales (OECDEquivalenceScales) show that it costs more for singles to live than two person households – if singles have a value of 1.0, it is only 1.4 for two person households, not 2.0.

There are many other ways in which singles are forced by government, society and families to contribute to family financial formulas without being able to benefit themselves from these contributions.

SINGLES DO NOT RECEIVE SAME LEVEL OF BENEFITS AS MARRIED/WEALTHY

From the time a married or coupled with children family unit begins at marriage until death of one of the spouses, it is possible they will receive shower, wedding and baby gifts (there is no such thing as ‘singles showers’), maternity/paternity leaves, child benefits, TFSA benefits times two, RRSP benefits times two, RESP grants, reduced taxes, pension-splitting, no OAS clawback, Involuntary Separation payments and possible survivor pension benefits.  There also are probably a great number of years where they never pay full taxes while increasing wealth and many can retire early before the age of 65.  Singles are not able to achieve these same level of benefits and tax relief.

Married people fail to realize that they get two inheritances (it is quite funny watching married people struggle with this fact until you tell them one heritance comes from the wife’s side and the second from the husband’s side)  Singles get one inheritance.

EI CONTRIBUTIONS AND BENEFITS

Government, families and society fail to recognize or even realize that singles often contribute to EI without ever using these benefits in their employment lifetime.  Instead contributions (estimated $35,000 at $800 to $900 EI contributions over forty years – investment potential not included) are forfeited to be used by other persons particularly for maternity/paternity benefits.  Singles are forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits for not only one generation, but possibly two generations.  Question:  when do EI maternity/paternity benefit payouts outpace the contributions of two working parents, especially when they retire early at age 55 and not contribute their full share to EI?

CPP CONTRIBUTIONS AND BENEFITS

The CPP death benefit is maxed at $2,500, is not indexed and not increased for many years.  After forty years of employment with average $2,500 annual CPP contributions will total $100,000.  If a single person dies one day after the age of 65 the deceased single person’s estate will only receive $2,500 death benefit which doesn’t even cover funeral costs.  Total of $100,000 contribution is forfeited to be used by the survivors of married or coupled households.

And now Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau wants to increase surviving spousal CPP benefits by 25% while singles will not receive equivalent increase???  Conservative Party’s Motion 110 proposes investigation to ensure parents with early infant deaths do not suffer undue financial or emotional hardship due to government programming design, particularly from Employment Insurance Parental Benefits.  Both Conservatives and Liberals continue to implement financial death formulas that benefit only families and the married.

SINGLES AND EMPLOYERS PENALIZED FOR OVERCONTRIBUTIONS OF EI  AND CPP

When singles attempt to increase their financial worth by working multiple jobs, they will not be able to contribute to EI and CPP beyond the individual maximum limits.  Meanwhile, married persons with both spouses working can contribute to maximum limits time two.  This means singles will never be able to achieve the same EI and CPP benefits afforded to married households but Market Basket Measure shows it costs them more to live than two person households.

The irony of singles having to receive a rebate of EI and CPP contributions is that the rebate is paid to the employee, not the employer.  In other words, the employer will have also  made an overcontribution, but is not able to collect a rebate on the overcontribution.  Their overpayment will be forfeited and added to benefits pot.

(Caveat:  Uncertain how recent changes to CPP contributions will affect overpayment levels).

ENTREPRENEURS WHO HAVE A MARITAL STATUS OF ‘SINGLE’ WILL PROBABLY PAY MORE INCOME TAX SINCE THEY CAN’T “INCOME SPRINKLE”, etc.

Personal responsibility espoused by Conservatives equals gaslighting in its purest form.

Re small business earners, excerpt from a newspaper article states that “Small business owners, including incorporated professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and others, will likely face a higher tax bill in the years ahead as a result of (Liberal) Finance Minister announcement this week targeting several common, and until now, perfectly legal, tax strategies used in conjunction with private corporations.

The strategies under attack can be categorized into three main areas: income sprinkling, earning passive investment income in a corporation and converting a corporation’s ordinary income into tax-preferred capital gains.

Among these changes, it’s the first one — income sprinkling — which is perhaps deemed the most offensive of the three and the one that will likely have the broadest financial impact on small business owners and incorporated professionals”.

What this newspaper article fails to recognize is that information is only talking about families.  It fails to show how entrepreneurs who are single cannot use these benefits since they can only be personally responsible only to themselves since they have no children or spouses.  They, therefore, will likely pay more taxes and will possibly be more likely to have business failures as entrepreneurs.

“Income sprinkling” describes how some families use private corporations to sprinkle income among family members. In a typical example, dividends that would have been received by the primary owner/manager of the private corporation, say, mom or dad, would instead be paid to the spouse, partner or kids of the primary shareholder, who are often in lower tax brackets than the primary owner/manager and thus the family’s total tax bill would be reduced.  When it comes to income sprinkling of salary income, this rule is meant to prevent a parent who owns a corporation from paying his spouse or child an annual salary when he or she doesn’t actually perform any work or provide services to the business.   In the past transferring dividends to children under the age of 18 was eliminated (this blog writer’s opinion – this was the right and fair thing to do as children would benefit from double dipping while using multiple combined medical and educational services and receiving concomitant tax free Canada Child Benefits). 

Conservatives in the recent election promised to reverse some of these entrepreneurship rules changed by the Liberals, however, the election resulted in Liberals winning a minority government (example of Conservatives doing the wrong thing that would increase financial discrimination of single marital status entrepreneurs).

Since singles never married no children, millennials not yet married and early in life divorced persons without children in their financial circles can only be basically financially responsible to themselves, ‘Income sprinkling’, distribute dividends to family members, etc. is of no benefit to these entrepreneurs so they will pay more taxes.  Why would singles and millennials not yet married even try entrepreneurship when they know from the get go that they will not have the same advantage, Alberta or otherwise, to married and wealthy entrepreneurs with spouses and children?  Singles are forced to be more personally responsible since they do not receive equivalent benefits in financial formulas.   Tax fairness needs to be ensured regardless of marital status and how income is earned.

Income, taxes and benefits, etc. define who employees are and how loyal they are to their employers.  Without change to where there is fairness and equality for single employees in pay, pension, taxes, benefits, etc. the trend where young single employees have no sense of loyalty to their employers (revolving door of quitting and applying for job after job after job) will only continue and get worse. This also applies to senior single employees who have tried lobbying and using righteous anger regarding financial discrimination and singlism in the workplace and in society but get nowhere because their employers, politicians and society choose to blatantly not listen.

THE FINANCIAL HYPOCRISY, GREED, SELFISHNESS OF THE MARRIED AND THE WEALTHY AS SHOWN IN FINANCIAL ANALYSTS EVALUATIONS WHERE IMPACT ON NEVER MARRIED SINGLES IS COMPLETELY ABSENT AND INVISIBLE

Financial Post article “Couple with a big age gap forced to contemplate impact of an early death” (alberta-couple-with-big-age-gap-worry)

Article states wife (Lori) could lose $17,000 a year in income if her husband dies first since there is a ten year age difference.  They have financial assets of $1,741,500 including a $650,000 house.  At age 65 couple is estimated to have income of $6,000 per month ($72,000 annual net income after splits of eligible income, no tax on TFSA distributions and reduced income tax to average 15 per cent.  How does single person ever only pay 15%?

 If husband dies early, the financial planner estimates that Lori could lose $17,008 in gross annual income per year and potentially pay a higher tax on her remaining income.  The reduced income could result from 1) loss of husband’s OAS, 2) part of two of his work pensions, 3) most of his CPP benefits and 4) the inability to split income, but 5) still have $650,000 house.  All of these are not available to singles throughout their entire senior lives.

It is distressing to never married singles that this couple should be worried when it appears they are spending over $15,000 annually on travel and entertainment.  If they are so worried that Lori’s standard of living will be reduced, why can’t they take personal responsibility,  work till age 65, reduce some of their excessive spending and save that money to be used if husband dies early?  How about paying fair share of taxes and maintaining lower standard of living that singles never married have to live every day of their lives?

It is also distressing to never married singles that Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau and other politicians are obsessing about benefits for surviving spouses.  He is talking about increasing CPP benefits for surviving spouses by 25%.  Twenty five percent!  Will never married singles get same equivalent amount?  Who is paying for this increase?  Lori retired at age 55 so why should she receive an extra 25% when she hasn’t contributed to the full amount of CPP?

Michael Lewis, author of “The Undoing Project” book, describes how a Nobel Prize-winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.   Two Israeli psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work created the field of behavioral economics which revolutionized thinking of how the human mind works when forced to make judgements in uncertain situations.  An example is outcomes of surgery where there might be a 5% chance of death versus 95% chance of surviving the surgery.  When patients are presented with 95% chance of survival rather than 5% death rate, they are more likely to go through with the surgery.  The same judgement should apply to the hypocrisy of the wealthy.

For upper class and wealthy, please don’t ‘cry me a river’.  Wealthy need to look at what they have left after taxation instead of what is being taken from them in taxation.

EFFECTS OF LOW INCOME ON BRAIN AND MENTAL HEALTH ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG

Government, politicians and society need to educate themselves on the effects that low income has on the brain by reducing connective white matter and increasing worse structural integrity as outlined in first article listed below.  The second article outlines how Alberta university students are facing food insecurity and even homelessness.  One of the reasons in particular for increased university costs is the massive increase in textbook costs   – American data suggest textbook costs increased by more than 800 per cent between 1978 and 2013.

The information from the two articles has been submitted as an attachment.  

1) “UNPREDICTABLE EMPLOYMENT MAY BE BAD FOR BRAIN HEALTH” by Lisa Rapaport, October10, 2019 (unpredictable-income) and 2) “FINANCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTH PRESSURES MOUNT ON STUDENTS” by Joel Schlesinger (unable to attach link).

THE CANADIAN PERSONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS FRAGMENTED AND BROKEN

There is a complete fragmentation of the Canadian personal financial system where politicians through upmanship throw money at certain populations, include the wealthy but exclude certain populations such as singles, the only reason being to get votes.

Conservatives continue to talk ad nauseum about socialism of the left, but are ‘brain dead’ to the selective privileged socialism they practise every day for the wealthy.

The wealthy often aren’t employed for as many years as singles, yet they believe they should be able to get full CPP benefits and even extend these to surviving spouses (Trudeau to increase by 25% for surviving spouses) some of whom haven’t even been employed for 75% of the employment lifetime of singles.

The Canadian financial  system for personal finances is broken.  Continuation of overspending for the wealthy and the married will lad to bankruptcy of the personal financial system.

Solutions:  

Instead of having a Minister for the Middle Class, a non partisan committee with participation by all political parties is needed to annually review financial formulas and  personal benefits based on application of MBM/OECD.  (See oecd for handy calculator by country and the number of persons in households).  More ‘zooming out’ and balance between ‘right and left brain thinking’ (see below for explanation) needs to replace the present narrow focus of only financially privileging the wealthy and the married.

To counterbalance the net income, tax avoidance and tax free selective socialistic privileging for the married and the wealthy, it is crucial that lifetime federal and provincial income tax be immediately and exclusively completely eliminated for singles and single parents with incomes under $50,000 so they also can save for their retirements.  (This change would be the equivalent of about $7,000 and would not exceed the many privileges such as CCB benefits and tax loopholes for the wealthy and the married).

Instead of singles subsidizing the married, the married should have to purchase mandatory term life insurance just like vehicle and house insurance.

The ‘financial pimping’ of singles and millennials not yet married by the married and the wealthy has to stop.   Singles are tired of being financially pimped by their own wealthy parents, wealthy married siblings and wealthy married fellow employees.  When singles are forced further into poverty to the point of homelessness, what will you do then?

The financial imbalance between the rich and the poor, singles and married only leads to populist anger, male millennial suicides (Alberta) and despair.  There already has been created a genocide of indigenous peoples.  We don’t need a financial genocide of singles.

TWO THEORIES ON WHY FINANCIAL SYSTEMS ARE FAILING AND INDEED MAY RESULT IN THE DEMISE OF CIVILIZATION

Governments, politicians, and society continue to manipulate the financial system so that selective socialistic benefits are given unequally to the married and the wealthy.  Some believe continued progression of this inequality will lead to the degradation of civilization and, indeed, may even the demise of civilization.  Indeed, even higher educational institutions of learning have migrated to teaching that is focused more to the narrowness of ‘left brain thinking’ (enormous capacity for denial and capacity to ignore things and keep them shut out – students specialize in narrow fields.  Theories, and categories become important) and ‘zooming in’ (think smaller by focusing on vulnerability of poverty, not the wage of inequality) without ‘zooming out’ (getting people to care about problems first by ‘zooming in’ on a vivid person and then getting them to care by ‘zooming out’ from persons to systems”.  To fight inequality means to change systems as a group of people).

‘Personal responsibility’ smacks of individualism instead of betterment of society as a whole.

Further explanation of the two theories outline why this may be happening.

The first is by Iain McGilchist and “The Divided Brain from the Documentary Channel.  He states that imbalance towards left brain hemisphere thinking gives narrow, sharply focused attention to detail without understanding the larger context resulting in bureaucracy, excessive concentration on money and wealth, bad politics and warped economic systems.  Reduced role of right brain hemisphere thinking results in decreased ability to relate to things and understand them as a whole.  

The second theory by Anand Giriharadas, “Winners Take All” says the same thing but in a different way.  He refers to ‘zooming in’ and ‘zooming out’.  ‘Zooming in’ causes us to think smaller by focusing on vulnerability of poverty, not the wage of inequality.  ‘Zooming out’ causes us to care by ‘zooming out’ from persons to systems”.   To fight inequality means to change systems as a group of people.

Both theories show how higher learning institutions have been affected by a narrowed focus on learning which then translates into a narrowed kind of thinking by politicians and society when these graduates get out into the real world.

Synopsis of Iain McGilchist and “The Divided Brain from the Documentary Channel

The two hemispheres of the brain have styles or takes on the world, they see things differently, have different values, prioritize differently.

The left hemisphere’s goal is to enable us to manipulate things (like a calculator) whereas the role of the right brain is to relate to things and understand them as a whole ( like a tree branches growing out of the ground and sprouting out and upwards).  Two ways of thinking about things are both needed but at the same time are compatible.

McGilchrist claims that the left hemisphere is gradually colonizing our experiences of the world with potentially disastrous implications.  The way of thinking which is too mechanistic has taken over our way of thinking.  We behave like we have right hemisphere damage.  Do we pay a price for being too left brain centered?   It has made us enormously powerful; it has enabled us to become wealthy, but it also means we have lost the means to understand the world.

Could the problems of the modern world be influenced by an imbalance of the human brain?  And what does that imply about our future?  For McGilchrist the problem is not only bad politics or a warped economic system.  The problem is inside our modern brain.

Experiments showed that each hemisphere had a different way of looking at the world.  The left talks and is analytical and the right pulls stuff together.  Each hemisphere engages in everything, so each hemisphere, right and left, is involved in reason and language and emotion but in crucially different ways.  

Why does the brain have two centres of consciousness, each capable of maintaining consciousness on its own but in a different way?  The left brain will recognize parts i.e. (picture of a human cut in pieces) of a body to recognize a human , but the right brain requires the correct position of  the human body to recognize it as a human.  Both hemispheres are doing an excellent job and both hemispheres can contribute and both hemispheres can decide human or non human but both do it with different cognitive strategies.

He observed that the left hemisphere gives narrow, sharply focused attention to detail without understanding the larger context.  It sees objects in relation to their usefulness.  It is in charge of the right hand which has the power to manipulate things such as tools and to technology. As it can’t make human connections it does not not understand relationships, humor and tone of voice.  Things and people are not unique and individual but groups that it can organize, sort and file in a system of rules and linear connections.  On its own it has no sense of the whole.  Even people are seen as body parts.  The world of the left hemisphere is lifeless.  It shatters the world into an assortment of bits without meaning.

The right hemisphere by contrast sees the broad view of the world.  It is the master of the brain.  It perceives an interconnected world.  It understands relationships, body language, facial expressions and implicit meaning.  The right hemisphere engages with life, understands movement, story and metaphor.  It perceives how humanity fits into the whole of creation.  

The divided brain give us two types of attention, two ways of engaging with the world.  It has made us the most powerful species on earth.

But the left hemisphere’s narrow kind of attention reminded McGilchrist of something else.  Our world!  I began thinking how everything in public life has become more regulated, more rule bound, more explicit.  For the last hundred years the way of thinking which is reduct to mechanistic has taken us over.  It has enabled us to manipulate the world, to use resources, to become wealthy, but it has also meant we have lost means to feel satisfaction and fulfillment through our place in the world. We have created outside ourselves a world which looks very much like the interior world of the left hemisphere, rigid lines of things that were rolled out mechanically and were non unique.  Bureaucracy is in its element.  It depends on qualities which the left hemisphere provides:  organizability, animity, standardization, uniformity, abstraction and so on.  Systems designed to maximize utility with loss of cohesion socially because the left hemisphere needs control.  There is a lack of trust and a lot of paranoia with the use of CCTVs and monitoring of all kinds .

The left hemisphere is the quick and dirty one because it has to make action.  It likes things to be black and white.  People think that, well, the left hemisphere surely is the basis for intelligence, it is the one that does all that analysis.  But that is not the case.  There is a lot of evidence that that the really critical one from the point of view of intelligence is the right hemisphere.   Another important difference, a very important difference, is that between fixity and flow.  Things in the left hemisphere are fixed whereas in the right hemisphere flow is what it sees and understands.  Now that is very profound.  That actually changes the whole nature of what life is.  Nothing is just isolated.  It is always part of a flow.  Things can only be understood in context when you take them out.  They change when you grab them and put them in the spotlight of attention and make them explicit.

“One of the primary features of the left hemisphere is that you find this enormous capacity for denial, this capacity to ignore things and keep them shut out. The left hemisphere that wants to slice and dice and execute quickly.  To make quick decisions the left hemisphere relies on abstractions, categories and models of the world.

Economics detached from a robust resourceful picture of human well-being is very dangerous and that is what we are living with in large parts of the globe.  We seem to take it as absolutely self evident that unlimited material growth is the best thing that we could hope for.  The biggest single task is thinking again through that question of growth and why it is so obvious and target why some kinds of growth are privileged over the notion of growth of real human well-being and understanding.

The school curriculum moves away from the right hemisphere resulting in an imbalance between right and left hemisphere learning.  In universities the learning becomes even more left hemisphere dominant.  The student specialize in narrow fields.  Theories, and categories become important. 

McGilchrist: (Consequences- riots, protests) What certainly would not happen is that things would be calm because the left hemisphere is emotional and one emotion that lateralizes particularly clearly is anger and it lateralizes to the left.  Discourse in public will become marked by anger and aggression.  But, according to the right hemisphere everything is connected to everything else.  It is about the relationships.

McGilchrist notes three periods where there was a flourishing of civilization in the west – Athens in the sixth century, the beginning of the empire in Rome, and early Renaissance.  The civilization in these three cases showed a marvellous balance in the right hemisphere and left hemisphere ways of thinking, but in each case it ended up with a movement further and further towards the left hemisphere after which the civilization collapsed.

What McGilchrist’s work can do is point us in the direction toward a solution.  If we can get better at seeing things more holistically, more specifically, more in context, if we can get better at systematically resisting attempts to turn things into algorithms, to always measure, to always quantify, if we can get better and more robust at doing that, the world will begin to steer towards a better place.

We need a better balance between the right and left hemisphere.  We need to look at the world in a different way.

Einstein said the rational mind is the faithful servant, but the intuitive mind is a priceless gift.  We live in a world that honors the servant that has forgotten the gift.  We do need a paradigm shift, it is not about little things here and there.  It is about the whole way we can see what a human being is, what the world is and what our relationship to it is.

Synopsis of “Winners Take All” by Anand Giriharadas (italics are blog author’s comments)

MarketWorld (capitalism) believes social change should be pursued through free market and voluntary actions without public life, law and reform of systems that people share in common.

MarketWorld “thought leader” thinkers (capitalists) promote so called ‘world-changing’ ideas with little risk to themselves.  Their ideas cause us to “zoom in” and think smaller by focusing on vulnerability of poverty, not the wage of inequality.   They don’t like “social justice” and “inequality” words, but rather use “poverty” and “fairness” while speaking of “opportunity”.

“Public intellectual” thinkers (conscious capitalists) counterbalance this thinking and change the trajectory of MarketWorld “by getting people to care about problems first by ‘zooming in’ on a vivid person and then getting them to care by ‘zooming out’ from persons to systems”.   To fight inequality means to change systems as a group of people.

“Thought leaders” have permeated higher learning institutions by purposefully changing the language in which public spheres think and act.  Young people are taught to see social problems in a “zoom in” fashion by confining questioning to what socially minded businesses they can start up like “buy one, give one”, but not inequality.

To counteract and provide balance to MarketWorld “our political institutions–laws, constitutions, regulations, taxes, shared infrastructure:  these million little pieces provide a counterbalance to help hold democratic capitalistic civilizations together.”

Blog author’s thoughts on this theory:  The one-sided financial hegemony of MarketWorlders has created the present day ‘graft and greed’ college financial scandal, FAA allowing Boeing to “self-inspect” and SNC Lavalin corruption.

One word comes to mind–brainwashing, or at the very least gaslighting.  MarketWorlders have done a very good job of gaslighting the political, financial and higher learning powers that be.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

 

TRUDEAU’S ‘MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT’ BENEFITS MARRIED AND WEALTHY MOST

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

Comment from blog author:  We have commented in past blog posts about the controversy surrounding the definition of ‘what is the middle class?’  

(WHO IS THE MIDDLE CLASS? AND FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF SINGLES AND THE POOR)

This blog post shows that the Liberal Party has done nothing to resolve the financial struggles of the middle class.  If the Conservative Party had won the 2019 election their promises also would not have helped the middle class.  It is not difficult to understand why the anger of those in the bottom half contiues to increase when government and politicians continue to gaslight and lie about tax cuts that benefit the wealthy more than the poor and the married more than singles.  As outlined below critics of the proposal have said middle-to-high income earners will receive the highest sums of money from the measure and cutting taxes will put an increasing strain on federal finances already facing annual multi-billion dollar deficits.

The following post is divided into three parts:  1)  how Liberal ‘middle class tax cut’ will benefit married households more than single person households using OECD calculator.  2) excellent article by Andrew Coyne on “why the Liberal middle class tax cut is no tax cut at all” 3) details of the Liberal Middle Class Tax Cut (for additional information only).

1) OECD calculator shows how ‘middle class tax cut’ will benefit married more than single person households

OECD article states “Governments must act to help struggling middle class”

https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/governments-must-act-to-help-struggling-middle-class.htm

Across the OECD area, except for a few countries, middle incomes are barely higher today than they were ten years ago, increasing by just 0.3% per year, a third less than the average income of the richest 10%.

The link for this OECD article has an interesting application of OECD CALCULATOR (See where you belong by entering your details!  Which income class does your family income fit in?) where the reader can enter details of country, number of persons in household and net income amount after taxes and benefits.  (Caveat: Some might disagree with the OECD income ranges which are quite wide and high especially at the upper ranges of stated middle class incomes).

Explanations of the Calculator:

  • Lower-income class refers to households with income below 75% of the median national income
  • Middle-income class refers to households with income between 75% and 200% of the median national income
  • Upper-income class refers to households with income above 200% of the median national income

According to this OECD calculator in Canada 58% of the population is in the middle-income class, 32% are in the lower-income class and 10% are in the upper-income class. On average, across OECD countries, 61% are in the middle-income class, 30% are in the lower-income class and 9% are in the upper-income class.

Between mid-2000s and mid-2010s in Canada:

  • The share of the population in the middle-income class has decreased by -1.5 percentage points.
  • The upper-income class has increased by 0.7 percentage points.
  • The lower-income class has increased by 0.8 percentage points.

Example of single person household with $50,000 Alberta gross income or $39,000 after deductions

In the past we have shown that it is impossible for a single person household with a $50,000 gross income to save anything for retirement.  As stated a single person with a 2019 $50,000 Alberta gross income ($25/hr. and 2,000 worked hours) and $11,000 tax, CPP and EI deductions results in a net income of $39,000 ($19.50/hr.).    This is a bare bones living wage that does not allow for savings, vacations or entertainment. It is impossible to maximize $9,000 RRSP and $6,000 TFSA contributions (35% of $39,000 with tax reductions for RRSP) even though many believe $50,000 is a good income for unattached individuals and single parents.

When $39,000 net income is entered into the OECD calculator, it shows that the lower 32% of single person households have net incomes below $32,621, middle 58% have net income from $32,621 ($16 per hr.) to $86,990 ($43 per hr.) and upper 10% have income over $86,990.  The median income is $43,495.  The calculator further states:   In Canada, a 1-person household would need between $32,621 and $86,990 per year to be in the middle-income class.

Example of two person household with  Alberta gross income of $82,000 or $61,000 after deductions

(For this calculations we have used $61,000 median income for a two person household).

When $61,000 is entered into the OECD calculator, it shows that the lower 32% of a two person household have net incomes below $46,133, middle 58% have net income from $46,133 ($11 per hr. for two incomes dividided equally between two persons) to $123,022 ($31 per hr. for two incomes divided equally between two persons) and upper 10% have income over $123,022.  The median income is $61,511.  The calculator further states:   In Canada, a 2-person household would need between $46,133 and $123,022 per year to be in the middle-income class

ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS

The Liberal plan states that for top income earners the increase in the basic personal amount would be gradually reduced for individuals with net incomes above $150,473 (or approx. $235,00 gross income) in 2020. Meanwhile, those with incomes over net $214,368 would continue to receive the existing basic personal amount, which is tied to inflation.

Liberal Gaslight #1:  The Liberal middle class tax cut goes beyond the middle class.  Review of online information including OECD and CRA shows that the middle class parameters do no come close to $150,473, yet those with net incomes under $150,473 will receive the full tax cut.

Liberal Gaslight #2: How many times can it be said that it costs more for single person households to live than two person households?(According to the OECD the median income for single person household is $43,495 and for two person households $61,511).  It costs more for singles to live than couples without children.  Using OECD equivalence scales or Canadian Market Basket Measure if a single person household has a value of 1.0, lone parent, one child or two adult household has a value of 1.4, one adult, two children 1.7 and two adult, two children 2.0.   The single person household will receive the tax cut benefits only for one basic personal amount, but two person households will receive double the basic personal amount benefits even with less income generated per person in the household.

When benefits are given equally to Canadians on an individual basis, the financial spread between single person households and two person households will become wider and wider with single person households being pushed further into poverty.  Single person households are damned tired of being pushed into financial poverty by their own governments, politicians and their own families who either do not understand or care about the financial ramifications for their single children.

2)“Liberals’ ‘middle class tax cut’ is not a tax cut at all” (EXCELLENT ARTICLE!)

Andrew Coyne, December 10, 2019, Source The Globe and Mail, https://spon.ca/liberals-middle-class-tax-cut-is-not-a-tax-cut-at-all/2019/12/11/

The new Minister of Middle Class Prosperity was unable, in her first week on the job, to define the middle class with much precision or syntax. It’s “where people feel that they can afford their way of life,” Mona Fortier told CBC Radio. “They have a quality of life, and they can have, you know, send their kids to play hockey or even have different activities.”

In fairness, if the minister cannot define the file for which she pretends to have responsibility, neither can the government in which she notionally serves. Four years and two elections after they first started droning on about it, the best guess as to what the Liberals mean by “middle class” is “most people,” or more particularly, “most voters.”

Consider the latest “middle class tax cut,” promised in the platform and announced this week – a tax cut that is not a tax cut, and that applies to people who are not remotely middle class. For that matter, the basic personal exemption, which would be increased from $12,298 today to $15,000 in 2023, is not an exemption, really. It’s a credit – money you get from the government, not money you earn that the government leaves alone.

Have a look at your tax form. It’s not even called an exemption: It’s called the basic personal amount. Nor do you get to deduct it from your income, like an exemption. If you could, your tax owing would be reduced by the amount of the deduction times the top rate of tax you would otherwise have to pay on that income. Instead, policy makers saw fit to turn it into a credit, redeemable only at the 15 per cent bottom rate of tax. Basically everyone, rich or poor, gets a flat $1,884 ($12,298 times 15 per cent).

In other words, it’s a spending program, by another name. And since it applies to nearly everyone, an expensive one. Just to enrich it will cost the government another $6-billion a year, when fully implemented. It might have cost more, had the Liberals not added a wrinkle: The increase in the credit is phased out, starting at $150,473 in income; at $214,368, it disappears altogether, allowing the Liberals to say they have excluded the “richest” – the fabled 1 per cent – from its benefits.

And so they have. They’ve just included everyone short of that: the near-rich, the pretty rich, the rich, even the filthy rich, relatively speaking. Those eligible may not think of themselves that way: Virtually everyone, according to the polls, defines themselves as “middle class,” and why not when there’s money in it? But to actually be middle class, you’d have to be earning somewhere around $35,000 – the median income, according to Statistics Canada. Even if you defined middle class as, improbably, the “middle” 80 per cent of the income distribution, you’d still be earning less than $96,000.

A policy that pays out to people making as much as $214,368 may be many things, but it is not a middle-class tax cut. If the richest are excluded, moreover, so are the poorest. The credit is “non-refundable,” meaning it applies against taxes owing. If you pay no taxes, you get no credit. And if you are below the existing BPA, you gain no benefit from raising it further.

What we are left with is a $6-billion handout to just about everybody except those who need it most. And all of it is borrowed. With the deficit already in excess of $20-billion and headed higher, the government is proposing to borrow another $6-billion annually, and give much of it to people in the top half of the social register.

It’s one thing to borrow for investment – for things that pay returns into the future, enough at least to cover the extra interest costs incurred. But this isn’t for investment: it’s for consumption. You don’t have to do anything productive to benefit from the Liberal “tax cut.” You get it just for being you.

Suppose instead the money had been used to cut marginal tax rates: the rate that applies to the next dollar earned. That really would be an investment – a permanent and much-needed improvement in incentives to work and invest, at a time when labour and especially capital are in short supply, relative to the demands of an aging population.

Of course, to get much bang for your buck, you’d have to cut the top rates, since it’s those in the upper brackets who have most of the wherewithal to invest. And it’s the top rates that have reached confiscatory levels: north of 50 per cent, federal and provincial combined, in much of Canada.

Unthinkable: Tax cuts for the rich! Maybe. But it sure beats handouts to the rich, doesn’t it?

3)Details of Trudeau’s middle tax cut

From:  https://ipolitics.ca/2019/12/09/liberals-move-to-enact-promised-tax-cut-for-middle-class/

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the Liberal government will raise the basic personal income tax deduction to $15,000 for those earning under $147,000 — meaning would taxes would only be paid on income over that amount. Currently, the 2019 federal basic personal deduction is $12,069. The increase would be phased in, reaching $15,000 by 2023.  It is estimated this will save an individual just under $300 a year, while families would save $585.

For top income earners the increase in the basic personal amount would be gradually reduced for individuals with net incomes above $150,473 in 2020. Meanwhile, those with incomes over $214,368 would continue to receive the existing basic personal amount, which is tied to inflation.

Trudeau said the tax cut would lift 40,000 people out of poverty and encompass about 700,000 more Canadians.  It would cost $2.9 billion to start, increasing to $5.6 billion by 2023-2024.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the changes would mean 20 million Canadians will see a lower tax burden and 1.1 million more Canadians will pay no federal income tax at all and the average Canadian family would save close to $600 every year by the time it fully comes into effect.

Finance Canada projects the tax cut will leave federal coffers short $25 billion between now and 2024-25. By the time the changes are completed in 2023, the measure will cost more than $6 billion annually.

The independent parliamentary budget officer predicted the tax measures would cost nearly $24 billion in that timeframe. The analysis had assumed other Liberal proposals, such as an increase in the Canada Child Benefit, come into effect. It also did not consider changes to spouse or common law and dependent amounts.

Critics of the proposal have said middle-to-high income earners receive the highest sums of money from the measure and cutting taxes put an increasing strain on federal finances already facing annual multi-billion dollar deficits.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

EFFECTS OF LOW INCOME ON BRAIN AND MENTAL HEALTH

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

Comment from blog author:  this blog post includes two articles regarding the effects that low income can have on young individuals and low income persons.  While it is entirely appropriate to provide government assistance to parents with children, more attention needs to be paid to singles and millennials particularly after they leave home and before marriage.

Shocking statistics show that in one of the richest provinces (Alberta) there were in January 2014, 33,000 Alberta Income Support program (excluding AISH) recipients of all ages.  Alberta Income Support program in January, 2017, had 54,374 recipients and in January, 2018, 57,003 recipients.  Makeup of claimants in 2017 and 2018 include individuals 69%, lone-parent families 24%, couples with children 5%, and couples alone 3%.  Totals do not say how many are turned away and do not include those who on verge of poverty.

 

UNPREDICTABLE EMPLOYMENT MAY BE BAD FOR BRAIN HEALTH by Lisa Rapaport, October10, 2019 (unpredictable-income)

(Reuters Health) – Young adults who don’t earn the same amount of money from year to year, or who weather substantial pay cuts, do worse on brain health assessments in midlife compared to those with steady income, a recent study suggests.

Researchers collected income data over two decades for 3,287 adults, starting in 1990 when they were 23 to 35 years old. They assessed income volatility based on how much earnings rose or fell from one year to the next, and also tallied how many times participants’ income dropped by at least 25%.

People who experienced greater income volatility and more pay cuts had worse scores for processing speed and executive functioning in cognitive tests in 2010. Brain scans that year also showed reduced connective white matter and worse structural integrity for people who experienced more income volatility and pay cuts.

“Overall, income volatility and unfavorable socioeconomic conditions may increase exposure to several risk factors of poor brain health,” said Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, a researcher at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City.

“Individuals who experience important income fluctuations may be more at risk for cardiovascular risk factors, depression or perceived stress, which are in turn associated with poor cognitive health,” Zeki Al Hazzouri said by email. “In addition, they may have lower access to high-quality healthcare, which may result in worse management of these risk factors, and potentiate their impact on brain health.”

Changes in cognitive test scores and brain scans didn’t appear to differ when researchers only looked at participants with the most education.

Almost half of the participants, 1,780 people, didn’t have any income drops of 25% or more during the study period. People in this group had average annual income of US$39,681.

Another 1,108 people experienced one major income decline during the study period, and this group had average annual income of US$32,253. And 399 individuals with average annual income of US$33,326 experienced two or more substantial income reductions.

Having multiple income drops appeared worse for brain health than having a single large drop during the study period.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether earnings volatility directly impacts brain health.

However, economic struggles have been associated with unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and inactivity that could in turn contribute to worse brain health, poor cognitive function and dementia, the study team writes in Neurology.

“It’s well established that lower socioeconomic status is linked with poorer health,” said Dr. Joel Salinas, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

“Factors like income volatility are especially significant when a recession looms,” Salinas said by email. “Times of individual and societal instability can have tremendous and enduring consequences – far beyond the economic, extending into the long term potential for entire communities to thrive.  SOURCE: https://bit.ly/35pNssA and https://bit.ly/2IERiV4 Neurology, online October 2, 2019.

FINANCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTH PRESSURES MOUNT ON STUDENTS by Joel Schlesinger (copied from written format, unable to find link)

It is supposed to be a time of learning, leading to a brighter future: a good career that contributes to society’s betterment while enriching their own lives.

Yet many Alberta post-secondary students are struggling to keep up with the costs of education and living.

And it’s affecting their mental health.

That’s the key message from student leaders at three of the largest post-secondary institutions in the province who were asked what are the biggest challenges facing students today.

And all indicated rising costs and mental health top the list.

“Not every student faces the same challenges, but there are very common threads that tie together their experience,” says Jessica Revington, president of the University of Calgary Students’ Union.

“Overall, I would say the costs of education and a lack of support are two big buckets many challenges fall into.”

Indeed, the difficulty paying for rising tuition, managing debt-loads and the growing cost of living are wearing on students, who are increasingly seeking support.

“Right now  there are challenges in connecting students to these supports,” Revington says.  “So while we may be talking about stress, we’re not providing supports for students to help them manage it in healthy ways.”

These challenges are echoed by the University of Alberta Students’ Union president Akanksha Bhatnagar.

“Research has shown a lot of the alarming rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness,” she says.

Another concern is sexual violence on campus, she adds.  “It’s hard to paint a completely picture of sexual violence, but we know that incidence of on-campus sexual violence is a top concern for students.”

The same holds true with other troubling issues including suicide, food bank use and even homelessness.

“At  the University of Alberta, student homelessness and food insecurity disproportionately impacts certain demographics on campuses such as LGBTQ2S+ and international students,” she says.

“Our campus food bank has seen a huge increase in clients, and we all believe our students shouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from, or having a safe place to go home to at night.”

It’s not just university students who are under stress.  Those attending polytechnic and colleges in the province are also experiencing mental health challenges.

“Post-secondary education is a huge change in the lives for lots of students,” says Ryan Morstad, president of the SAIT Students’ Association.  “You may go to school in a new city; you have less structure with your classes; you’re meeting new friends, and you have to manage yourself and your budget.”

All  those can be in and of themselves stressful.  Then add in the fact that incidence of onset of mental illness is highest among 18- to 25-year olds,and it’s  easy to see why students might struggle without adequate support, he says.

Of course, managing costs of education are fuel to this fire.

“It’s just a whole bunch of things that are hitting you at the same time,” Morstad adds.

That just doesn’t include tuition.  It’s textbook costs, too – a top concern for SAIT students.  Indeed, American data suggest textbook costs increased by more than 800 per cent between 1978 and 2013.

“We find that students – if they buy all the textbooks for their courses – spend about $1,000 per semester”

What’s more, a recent study called the Hungry for Knowledge written by Meal Exchange, a national charity addressing food insecurity, found 50 per cent of surveyed students reported going without buying healthy food to pay for textbooks among other expenses.

“This is not something people like to talk about,”: Bhatnagar says, adding that the struggle students face isn’t an isolated problem.  “Students are having the same issues no matter what university or college they attend.”

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

 

 

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY BY WHOM, FOR WHOM?

 

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

(This blog post is in response to several opinion letters in local newspapers touting personal responsibility.  The question is personal responsibility by whom, and for whom when financial formulas consistently benefit the married and the wealthy over other segments of the population.)

Some Libertarians and right wing Conservatives continually opine about personal responsibility.

What is personal responsibility?  It is the willingness to both accept the importance of standards that society establishes for individual behavior and to make strenuous personal efforts to live by those standards. But personal responsibility also means that when individuals fail to meet expected standards, they do not look around for some factor outside themselves to blame. The problem with those who tout personal responsibility is that they are no different than everyone else.  They also place the blame for failures on everyone but themselves (the-sequence-of-personal-responsibility).

Quote from an opinion letter by a staunch Conservative in a local newspaper on personal responsibility: ‘A true Conservative is a citizen who believes in personal responsibility, self reliance and moral Christian behaviour in every aspect of his or her life, taxation rates as low as possible (necessary only for national support of healthcare, education, policing and military), market driven wage and salary growth, and total elimination of crown corporations’.   ‘Alberta is the only entrepreneurial province left in Canada, thus Albertans are more hardworking, aggressively self reliant and productive and feel personally responsible for their own welfare and future strength and success of their families’.

Quote by the same author states that the PPC is the only party that is remotely close to his interpretation of conservatism:  ‘There are no truly Conservative parties left in Canada.  The People’s Party of Canada party is the only true Conservative party.’

The PPC is a newly formed Canadian political party that has been referred to as conservative, libertarian, populist and classical  liberal, and is positioned on the right wing.   However, in the recent election the people spoke. PPC received zero seats.

Fact check:  Non Christians also can be moral.  Legal system supports excluded?  Even the Wild West had its judges.  Low income Canadians surviving on more than one job work just as hard as Alberta entrepreneurs.  Those who support far right political extremism like the PPC are in the minority.

This same opinion writer believes that entrepreneurship is superior to the public service sector because entrepreneurs create wealth, the public section does not.  He negatively views all social programs as socialism.

Regarding entrepreneurship all political parties have been responsible for introducing and implementing changes in entrepreneurship rules.  In recent years Liberals rightfully changed financial rules for family entrepreneurs on income sprinkling and earning passive investment income in corporations, etc.

 “Income sprinkling” (INCOME SPRINKLING)  describes how some families use private corporations to sprinkle income among family members. In a typical example, dividends that would have been received by the primary owner/manager of the private corporation, say, mom or dad, would instead be paid to the spouse, partner or kids of the primary shareholder, who are often in lower tax brackets than the primary owner/manager and thus the family’s total tax bill would be reduced.  When it comes to income sprinkling of salary income, this rule is meant to prevent a parent who owns a corporation from paying his spouse or child an annual salary when he or she doesn’t actually perform any work or provide services to the business.   In the past transferring dividends to children under the age of 18 was eliminated (this blog writer’s opinion – this was the right and fair thing to do as children would benefit from double dipping while using multiple combined medical and educational services and receiving concomitant tax free Canada Child Benefits). 

Conservatives in the recent election promised to reverse some of these entrepreneurship rules changed by the Liberals, however, the election resulted in Liberals winning a minority government.

Since singles never married no children, millennials not yet married and early in life divorced persons without children in their financial circles are basically financially responsible to themselves, ‘Income sprinkling’, etc. is of no benefit to these entrepreneurs so they will pay more taxes. Why would singles and millennials not yet married even try entrepreneurship when they know from the get go that they will not have the same advantage, Alberta or otherwise, to married and wealthy entrepreneurs with spouses and children?  Singles are forced to be more personally responsible since they do not receive equivalent benefits in financial formulas.   Tax fairness needs to be ensured regardless of marital status and how income is earned.

It would be interesting to have this question answered:  Which businesses are more likely to fail – those initiated by married/coupled with and without children or those initiated by singles never married/no children, millennials not yet married, and early in life divorced without children?

The above quoted Conservative opinion writer who touts personal responsibility also favours Ayn Randian principles.   However, he ought to educate himself on what happened to Sears.  In 2008, Sears CEO Eddie Lampert restructured Sears according to Randian principles (pbs.org).  He consistently bought back stocks, but made no effort to update and improve the Sears outlets. Executives and employees undermined each others units because they knew their bonuses were tied to individual unit performance.  Sears became a miserable place to work.  As a result, Sears went bankrupt, greed took over with upper executives receiving bonuses and employee pensions robbed.

When Ayn Rand (habitual user of amphetamines because she felt they kept her awake so she could write) died she was surviving on Medicare and Social Security benefits, aka ‘socialism’ so stated by the above Conservative opinion writer.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

TRUDEAU’S CPP INCREASE FOR WIDOWS MUST BE AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE

 

TRUDEAU’S CPP INCREASE FOR WIDOWS MUST BE AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s CPP increase for widows must be an April Fool’s joke except it is not an April Fool’s day.

Justin Trudeau in one of his campaign promises has promised astounding 25 per cent increase to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for widows or widowers and would receive up to $2,080 in additional benefits every year with the increased survivors’ benefits under the CPP and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).  (Added November, 2019 Survivor benefits would see an increase of up to $2,080 under the Liberal proposal, which would need provincial approval.)

Trudeau said losing a partner is one of the hardest things to endure, and this added support will help during the period of grief.  “Seniors have built the Canada that we know and love today. And they deserve to enjoy their golden years to the fullest,” Trudeau said “Our parents have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to give us a good life,” Trudeau said.  “Once they get to retirement they shouldn’t have to worry about their savings running out.”

Apparently the only persons who experience grief and/or who have worked so hard  and therefore deserve more are the married and married parents.

Apparently this would take effect when person is widowed but at what age?  (Updated October 1, 2019)

(added November, 2019) Excerpt from article ‘The election promises that could affect your personal finances’ by a financial planner (election-promises): “The Liberals have also proposed an increase in Canada Pension Plan (CPP) survivor benefits payable to the surviving spouse of a deceased CPP contributor. This could be meaningful for many widows and widowers, who might otherwise receive only 60 per cent or less of the CPP pension of their deceased spouse. That said, those who already have high CPP pensions of their own may receive little to no CPP survivor benefits if they are already entitled to the maximum CPP or close to it based on their own contributions — a potential flaw in the CPP system.” (Comment by blog author:  A potential flaw, really?  Why is it many financial planners only take into consideration married persons while excluding singles from the household definition?  As of this date it is unknown whether this election promise will be kept and what form it will take.)

WHO IS INCLUDED AND WHO IS NOT

Included:

Married seniors with and without children who have deceased spouses and can check off that magic box ‘widow’ on their income tax forms.

Excluded:

Singles never married, no children

Singles who have adopted or are parents of children (sometimes willingly or unwillingly through horrible circumstances)

Divorced/separated persons with and without children

Common law persons with and without children – are they considered to be ‘widowed’ or just common law?

MOST PENSIONS BENEFIT MARRIED THE MOST

At present time, the CPP plan already benefits married the most.  Singles who have worked for forty years while contributing to CPP can die at one day after the age of 65 and receive only the flat rate death benefit of $2,500.  This amount has been in place for many years, is not indexed for inflation and doesn’t begin to cover funeral costs.  Their entire lifetime CPP contributions except $2500 will be forfeited without any benefit to the estates of single persons.

Combined survivor and retirement pension at age 65 in 2019 already equals $1,154.28 for both widowed and singles.  Why does Trudeau believe widowed should receive more CPP benefits and have better lifestyles than singles?  After all widowed are now ‘single’ and should have to live the same frugal lifestyle of many singles.

Public and private service pensions are taxed, but both spouses will be able to pension split and maybe receive less OAS clawback while one spouse or both spouses are receiving pensions.  There also is the possibility of receiving multiple pensions – surviving spouse of the deceased employee will receive pension to which he/she has not contributed as an employee plus receive his/her own pension.  With 25 per cent survivor CPP increase this is just another example of compounding of benefits on top of benefits for the wealthy and the married, both in married and widowed state (regressive tax expenditures).

Elizabeth May, Green Party applauds social justice but has lobbied to repeal legislation that denies pension benefits to spouses who have married after the age of 60 or retirement even though these newly married spouses haven’t contributed one dollar to that pension plan.  Now as widowers they will also receive a whopping additional 25 percent CPP bonus at age 75 after being married for only 15 years or less.  (Many pension plans have this clause for newly married elderly persons in their pension policies).

CONCLUSION

Where is the critical thinking on the part of politicians? Do they really think all Canadians are stupid and can’t do the math?  Which political party should one vote for when they all are like ‘pigs at the trough’ making unrealistic vote getting promises that benefit wealthy and married the most and don’t include Market Basket Measure and declaration of assets in financial formulas?  Where are the Elizabeth Warrens’ of the Canadian political world who have financial formulas that provide social and financial justice for all, not just the wealthy and the married?

Only the married at the time of being widowed would ever get an astounding 25 per cent CPP widow pension increase.  The Canadian senior population is not made up of just married/widowed persons.

Reader opinion letters in newspapers on this subject are interesting to read.  They are mostly slam Trudeau or present a sense of entitlement by the married with no critical thinking of how the rest of the population will be affected..  For example, one of the few very comments about persons not able to benefit like LGTB couples, the comment was “a spouse is a spouse is a spouse”.  In other words, everyone who is not married be damned.

Trudeau, who touts gender equality, indigenous people rights, etc., has flagrantly financially discriminating on the basis of marital status.

Selective socialistic privileging of election promises like this one only lead to the rise of anger and rising populism.

(Addendum:  Added November, 2019   It is yet unclear how the above policy if implemented will be carried out.  If implemented it is likely that widowed seniors will be the beneficiaries.  Singles never married and divorced persons will receive zero benefits since they do not have spouses.

CARP – Canadian Association for Retired Persons in past years has stated that older unattached women are especially vulnerable to poverty. In 2016 approximately 28 percent of single older women (widowed, single or divorced) lived in poverty.  CARP has advocated that the federal government support single seniors, with particular regard to older women, with an equivalent to spousal allowance for single seniors in financial need.

Why are politicians giving benefits only to widowed seniors?

 

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

TAX SYSTEMS ENSURE FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF LOW INCOME FAMILIES AND SINGLES

 

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

It is a known fact, as presented by the experience of this blog author, that present tax systems benefit the wealthy and married while compromising low income families and singles.  However, most political parties fail to acknowledge this and/or fail to do anything about it.

The following two excellent articles describe different aspects of the Canadian tax system problem.  In addition as to why tax systems disparage certain groups, particularly low income families and singles, it may be that political parties unknowingly leave out certain groups because they don’t do the necessary work or have tunnel vision about including, for instance, singles in their financial formulas.

 

Article #1:  ‘Panel process obscures what need to be done’ by Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta (panel-gives-political-cover-to-public-service-cuts

“With much fanfare, Alberta’s UCP (United Conservative Party) government has appointed the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances to recommend a path to balance its budget. Unfortunately, the entire project is compromised from the outset because the panel’s mandate ties one of its hands behind its back.

Budgets have two components: revenue and expenses. However, the panel’s mandate specifically excludes any consideration of changes necessary to the way our government generates revenue — which means that its job is restricted to recommending cuts to Alberta’s public services…..

The panel is designed to provide a rigged rationale for making big cuts to public services, by not even considering the better alternative of paying for our public services through the kinds and levels of taxation that all other provinces use for that purpose…..(Alberta is the only province without a provincial tax)…..

The Kenney government’s plans….. have already adopted a massive tax cut for Alberta’s largest and wealthiest corporations, making our government’s significant shortage of tax revenue even worse. Our tax system was already by far the least effective in the country at raising revenue, to the extent that adopting the tax system of any other province would raise between $11.2 and $21.5 billion in additional revenue every year, which would more than cover our current deficit of $6.7 billion and allow for much-needed quality improvements to health care, education and other services…..

The inescapable truth is that this panel is nothing but a political gimmick to give the UCP government a pretext to make deeply unpopular, ideological cuts to the public services we all need and value.

Obviously, more services will be turned over to the whims of private corporations. Other services and programs will disappear from public budgets altogether, but we all know the real costs never disappear. Instead they are shifted to the pocketbooks of Alberta families and paid for individually rather than collectively through our tax system.

How our government decides to handle its budget situation is a choice. They can fix our deficient revenue system so we can properly fund our services, or they can make deep cuts. The mandate of the panel makes it abundantly clear that the UCP government has already decided on the latter and simply appointed the panel to tell it what it wants to hear.

Albertans should reject this panel’s biased mandate, hold Premier Kenney to his word that more funding — not less — will be allocated to the front lines of our public services, and demand a process that fairly considers the alternative of revenue reform to properly support and enhance our public services.”



Article #2:   ‘This election campaign, let’s own up to Canada’s two-tiered tax system’ by Norm McKee (this-election-campaign-lets-own-up):

“Why is no political party talking about the Panama Paper and Paradise Paper tax disclosures?

“Because something is legal does not mean it’s not a scandal.”

If there is a serious problem, and no one acknowledges it, does the problem really exist? And why is no political party talking about the Panama Paper (2016) and Paradise Paper (2017) disclosures in this federal election campaign, which is only 10 weeks away?

All political parties are mute about the thousands of affluent Canadians who continue to legally use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The estimated $5 billion annually, or $25 billion over five years in lost revenues through “individual” tax avoidance practices, are staggering amounts. When affluent Canadians do not pay their share of taxes, as per Revenue Canada’s published tax schedules, Canadians must make up the difference.

It’s important to be clear. The use of tax havens by individuals to avoid paying taxes is not about greed or any person breaking the law. Despite what our federal government says, it has nothing to do with tax evaders, complex tax scams, tax audits or the CRA getting more money to combat tax cheats.  This is a political issue about Canada’s two-tier tax system that benefits the rich while doing immense financial harm to other Canadians, and that diminishes the quality of life for all.

Silence by political parties should not be an option. Canadians should demand that political parties engage in a frank and open discussion about “individual” tax avoidance prior to the October election. The cost to Canadians is too high to wait four more years until the next federal election.

We did not have the benefit in the 2015 federal election of the Panama and Paradise Paper disclosures that identified thousands of Canadians who used tax havens. We have this information now. The 2019 election is an opportunity for Canadians to realize tax reform that prohibits affluent Canadians from using tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Failure to address this issue now will mean four more years of great disparity in Canada’s tax system.

It’s worth noting that U.S. citizens cannot legally use tax havens for the purpose of avoiding taxes. In the U.S., “individual” tax equality is sacred.  This is not the case in Canada, where past governments have encouraged Canada’s financial élite to legally use tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

No one has anything good to say about tax avoidance, specifically tax havens used by affluent Canadians. Yet no political party or politician is doing anything about it. This can only change if “average” Canadians link the federal election with the funding of Pharmacare, economic, environmental and social initiatives, with new monies via tax reform. We need to pressure all political parties to address this scandal.

Historically, tax avoidance has been a taboo subject for all political parties.  No political party was pleased by the Panama and Paradise Paper disclosures. Instead of changing tax laws to abolish Canada’s two-tier tax system, the government response is increased funding to the CRA to address tax evaders, tax cheats and tax scams. Although these actions should be applauded, they do nothing to fix the root problem.

Canadians don’t like to think current and past government favour the financially privileged. That would be a serious violation of trust. But the evidence is clear that this is happening, and will continue, unless we make our voices heard before the October election.

The goal of The Grassroots Coalition for Tax Reform, http://www.betteroutcomes.ca, is to pressure political parties to address tax avoidance in their election platforms, specifically affluent Canadians who use tax havens to avoid paying taxes.”

CONCLUSION

What the above two articles do not convey is the anger and despair that certain Canadian groups feel about the tax avoidance that the wealthy and married can carry out within legal limits of the law and financial formulas.  Those disadvantaged by tax avoidance are damn tired of subsidizing the wealth of the elite and the married.  The following is an opinion letter by this blog author that may or not be published in a local newspaper.

“POLITICAL PARTIES DON’T CARE ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE AND FINANCIAL EQUALITY

Recent opinion letters in local newspapers talk ad nauseam about faults of one political party over the other.

Politicians are only interested in vote getting.  Far right wing Conservatives and Christian right  ‘sell their souls to the Devil’ so they can get their agendas passed even if it is not the will of the majority.  Liberals play their ‘one upmanship’ over Conservatives by continuing unfair Conservative financial formulas such as TFSAs (TFSA ABUSE OF THE PLAN) by not making changes to the formula so that financial abuse of TFSAs cannot occur.  Libertarians talk about personal financial responsibility but never unfair financial practices.

Conservative Jason Kenney attacks lowly wage earners (teens) and reverses anything and everything Rachel Notley put in place including replacing Notley merit based appointees with his cronies.  Conservative Stephen Harper TFSAs benefit wealthy to point where they may be able to claim GIS intended for low income persons because TFSA investments are not declared as income.  Conservative Blake Richards has initiated Motion 110 as a proposed financial reprieve for parents who lose infant to death, but other parents, siblings and persons who experience tragic deaths such as losing someone to gunshots, etc. don’t get an equivalent benefit.

Conservative Andrew Scheer has proposed tax free EI maternity benefits but families already receive tax free CCB benefits and likely have one spouse working.  Seriously, you want to give tax free EI maternity benefits but jobless singles and single parents have to pay taxes on their EI benefits????

Liberals line wealthy family pockets by calculating tax free CCB benefit clawback for $30,450 to $65,976 net income portion and two children at 13.5%, but only 5.7% for portion over $65,976 and up to approx. $188,000.

Elizabeth May, Green Party applauds social justice but has lobbied to repeal legislation that denies pension benefits to spouses who have married after the age of 60 or retirement even though these newly married spouses haven’t contributed one dollar to that pension plan.

Major theme of the above is that all political parties have implemented ‘gaslighting financial formulas they say help the middle class’ but instead promote socialism for the wealthy and married (LOST DOLLAR VALUE) while pushing low income families and singles further towards poverty, ensure young persons likely will never be able to leave their parents’ homes with home ownership being a major obstacle.

This blog author’s federal vote will be submitted as a spoiled ballot as there is not one political party who gives a damn about social justice and financial equality.”

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

BASIC OR LIVING WAGE INCOMES WITHOUT MBM WON’T SOLVE FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF SINGLES

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

There are several solutions that have been proposed to solve the issue of poverty and low income.  Increasing the minimum wage is one solution.  With AI and digital revolutions some proposals include living wage or basic wage as a partial solution to the possibility of maintaining level of job numbers as a result of these revolutions.

Living wage research has been helpful in determining what it costs to live in specific urban and rural areas.  However, a living wage is a bare bones wage with no possibility of saving for emergencies or retirement.  The living wage premise is based on adults working full time (one adult in one person adult family, one adult and one child,  two adults and no children or two adults and two children family unit).   However, if living wages are not based on OECD equivalence scales such as Canadian Market Basket Measure or MBM unattached persons and single parents are often the financial losers in these plans.  (If single person household has a value of 1.0, lone parent, one child or two adult household has a value of 1.4, one adult, two children 1.7 and two adult, two children 2.0.  It costs more for singles to live than couples without children).

“Andrew Yang on Universal Basic Income

(https://baseandsuperstructure.com/andrew-yang-ubi) Excerpts from this article describes the UBI plan and provides some rather interesting insights from right and left political perspectives.

‘The plan is relatively simple. The government pays all US citizens between the ages of 18 and 64 a UBI of $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year. For citizens 65 and up, the existing Social Security system would be left in place.

Yang wants to pay for this system using four sources: a.) eliminating existing social spending (e.g., food stamps, disability, WIC, unemployment insurance, et al.), generating $500-600 billion worth of savings; b.) A value-added tax (VAT) that he estimates will generate $800 billion per year; c.) $500-600 billion in new tax revenue from UBI-generated economic growth; b.) $100-200 billion per year in savings from UBI-generated crime reduction and health savings.’

The article states that problems with the plan include: ‘UBI doesn’t pay people nearly enough, would eliminate social programs, encourage low wage and exploitative labor practices, and put more money into the hands of companies who prey on low income Americans.’  “A Leftist take on Universal Basic Income” (leftist-universal-basic-income-ubi) by same author says ‘Here’s what would happen if a UBI proposal got off the ground in the United States: it would get turned into the right-wing version. It wouldn’t apply to everyone, it wouldn’t pay enough to live, it would gut social programs, or possibly all three of these things.’  The author offers suggestions that better solutions are comprehensive health care, housing and food assistance and indexed minimum wage that is increased every year.

It seems that USA plans for social justice and equality of wages never seem to include equivalence scales like MBM outlined above so singles would benefit the least from the plan because it costs singles more to live than a two person household.

Alberta report on basic income

“An Alberta Guaranteed Income:  Issues and Options” (May 2019) by Wayne Simpson and Harvey Stevens, The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary (https://journalhosting.ucalgary).  Excerpts from the report include:

(From Summary) – ‘For all the job booms and wealth that have benefitted Alberta over the decades, nothing yet has been able to drastically reduce, let alone eliminate poverty in the province.  The prospect of a guaranteed minimum income could help change that, and Alberta is particularly well positioned to roll one out and with relative ease and at a manageable cost.

An Alberta guaranteed basic income could be straightforwardly developed by revising the  existing provincial tax system to make tax credits that are currently non-refundable into  refundable tax credits, such that people earning below the minimum income-tax threshold will still be able to claim them as subsidies.  This can be done while avoiding significant new funding and relying solely on budgetary measures to improve the fairness of the tax system.

Converting just a few non-refundable tax credits into refundable ones can produce a  guaranteed annual income of over $6,000 for a single-adult family and over $9,000 for a  two-adult family, with no significant new funding required. This would improve supports for 37  per cent of Alberta families, with the largest gains properly concentrated among the poorest households, and would reduce the rate and depth of poverty by 25 per cent.

An even more powerful approach would be if Alberta were able to persuade the federal government to combine a similar program federally with the provincial guaranteed basic income, converting non-refundable credits into refundable ones and eliminating the federal GST credit.  A combined federal-provincial guaranteed annual income would increase dramatically to over $13,600 a year for a single-adult family and to over $19,000 a year for a two-adult family.  The disposal income of the poorest 20 per cent of Albertans would increase by more than 50 per cent under the combined plan, while the rate of poverty across all Albertans would be cut by a substantial 44 perr cent.  Among single parents and non-elderly and elderly couples, poverty would be eliminated completely.  And while two-parent families and non-elderly singles would continue to be in poverty, its rate declines significantly and its depth would be reduced by more than half.’

The report ‘offers two models:  one that includes selected non-refundable tax credits but excludes current Alberta refundable tax credits; and one that includes both selected non-refundable tax credits and the refundable credits’ (including Alberta Child Benefit and the Canada Child Benefit in the second model).

The report does talk about Low Income Cut-offs (LICO) and Market Basket Measure (MBM).  They state that LICO has been replaced as Canada’s official poverty measure by the MBM.  However, (page 3) certain versions of statistical reports did not allow them to calculate the MBM measure, so they adopted the traditional LICO measure of the incidence and depth of poverty in the report.

Opinion Letter on above report

In an opinion letter “A basic income that reduces poverty is doable” (alberta-could-afford-a-basic-income-that-reduces-poverty) by Franco Savoia and Jeff Loomis, Executive Directors of Vibrant Communities Calgary and Momentum, respectively, they state:

‘Alberta is a prosperous province, but our poverty rate has hovered around 10 per cent for decades, costing the government more than $2 billion each year….

In recent years, the guaranteed income supplement for seniors and Canada and Alberta child benefits have been credited with reducing poverty rates. Some have gone as far as to call these programs a basic income for seniors and children.

For many in the social services sector, a similar program for adults aged 18-65 is a logical next step…..

Despite this, basic income critics point to the prohibitive costs associated with implementing such a program, noting that governments just don’t have the money. However, new research from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy shows that Alberta could actually afford to do it. Supported by a research partnership with Calgary’s Social Policy Collaborative, economists Wayne Simpson and Harvey Stevens have come up with an Alberta basic income program that wouldn’t require the province to spend any extra money or increase taxes…..

….the Simpson and Stevens program is financed entirely through modest changes to tax policy. By turning five existing non-refundable tax credits into a single refundable credit, the authors suggest that the province could achieve a basic income that would increase the incomes of roughly 40 per cent of Albertans, reduce poverty by almost one-quarter and eliminate poverty for single parents.

But, as always, the devil is in the details.

A notable element of the proposal is the decision to keep in place the current income support system — a choice that some basic income advocates may not support. Many envision a basic income as a better — and simpler — alternative to existing income supports, which are complex and often needlessly bureaucratic.

Also concerning is the redistributive impact of the tax reform required to create the program, which would result in increased tax pressures for middle-income earners.

These shortcomings aside, the Simpson and Stevens proposal is proof that basic income is more than a pipe dream in Alberta. And though the proposal wouldn’t eliminate poverty completely — it would leave many non-elderly single Albertans below the poverty line — it would be a significant step forward in our efforts to make poverty a thing of the past. As the basic income conversation evolves, both in Alberta and across the country, the School of Public Policy report has contributed valuable insight. We’re excited to see where the discussion goes.’

CONCLUSION

Shocking statistics show that in one of the richest provinces (Alberta) there were in January 2014, 33,000 Alberta Income Support program (excluding AISH) recipients of all ages.  Alberta Income Support program in January, 2017, had 54,374 recipients and in January, 2018, 57,003 recipients.  Makeup of claimants in 2017 and 2018 include individuals 69%, lone-parent families 24%, couples with children 5%, and couples alone 3%.  Totals do not say how many are turned away and do not include those who on verge of poverty.

It is a sad fact that regardless of what financial manipulations are applied to minimum wage and living wage or basic wage models, singles or unattached persons always appear to come out as the financial losers.  Until Market Basket Measures, etc. are applied so that one person households benefit equally to other households, social injustice and income inequality will remain for single persons.  But then who gives a damn?

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

IF HUMAN RIGHTS SAY THEY CAN’T HELP IN FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF SINGLES, WHO CAN?

IF HUMAN RIGHTS SAY THEY CAN’T HELP IN FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF SINGLES, WHO CAN?

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

While it is wonderful that there is some recognition of the changing face of family and the grave financial struggles singles face, actions speak louder than words.

A single person 2019 $50,000 Alberta annual income ($25/hr. and 2,000 worked hours) with $11,000 tax, CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and EI (Employment Insurance) deductions results in only a bare bones net living wage income of $39,000 ($19.50/hr.).  It is impossible to maximize $9,000 RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan – 18% of earned income) and $6,000 annual TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) contributions (35% of $39,000 with tax reductions for RRSP) even though many politicians, families, and financially illiterate believe $50,000 is a good income for unattached individuals and single parents.  As seniors they will likely be living only on CPP and OAS (Old Age Security) benefits and maybe without GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement). There is no median income family that spends 35% of their income on savings and 10% for emergencies leaving only 55% for daily living expenses.

During child rearing years single parents will receive CCB (Canada Child Benefits), but after child rearing years they are ‘back to square one’ where it will likely be impossible to save for retirement on $50,000.

Example of approximate average cost of living for a single person household (easily obtained from Living Wage research) excluding child expenses:  Rent for bachelor apartment (including utilities, tenant insurance) $1,000, food $400, vehicle (gas, repair and insurance) $200, phone/internet $300, clothing/footwear $100, dental/eyecare $100, house tax and insurance if a homeowner $250, contingency saving for emergencies and replacement of vehicle $300 (10% of income).  Total equals $2,650 or $31,800 per year ($16 per hour based on 2,000 work hours). Totals do not include other expenses like bank fees, personal care expenses, household operation and maintenance, pets, license/registration and membership fees, vacations, entertainment, computer purchases and expenses, gifts, condo fees, professional association and union fees, etc.  Note: there is no ability for retirement saving beyond CPP contributions. The 2017 living wage for Alberta is about $18 per hour based on 35 hour work week or 1,820 hrs per annum. Unattached never married no children single person households receive very little income from government transfers (municipal, provincial and federal).

Right wing Stephen Harper introduced tax free TFSA investments benefiting wealthy the most (tax-free-savings-account-tfsa-designed-to-make-married-and-wealthy-even-richer.

In the left wing Liberal financial world, tax free CCB benefit clawback for $30,450 to $65,976 net income portion and two children is 13.5%, but only 5.7% for net income portion over $65,976.  This is just more upside down politics where clawback percentage is greater for the $30,450 to $65,976 income portion.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around where the clawback for the wealthy is 13.5%? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is so proud that nine out of ten families are receiving CCB benefits including wealthy families with never married no children single persons completely invisible in the family definition.  Why are families with $250,000 incomes receiving CCB benefits?

In 2018, Ontario couple with a child under six years of age would stop receiving CCB payments with a net income reaching $188,437.50 without other deductions such as RRSP (“CCB is a win for most families” article – child-benefit-is-a-win).

Using turbotax calculator for Alberta family with children and $250,000 gross income or approx. $160,000 net income ($80/hr.) they can max out 2019 $45,000 RRSP and $12,000 TFSA for couples.  Through compounding effect of benefits, including marital, they will pay approx.$21,000 less taxes, get larger CCB payment, increase their RRSP and TFSA wealth, own their home, and have approx. $181,000 minus TFSA $12,000 contribution or $169,000 ($84.5/hr.) spending capability annually. (This example may not include other possible deductions).

For every dollar that is given in benefits and tax reduction for the wealthy and the married is equal to dollars lost (lost-dollar-value-list) to singles.

CONCLUSION

Some of these financial discrimination issues for singles have been submitted to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  They said they couldn’t help. If they can’t help, who can and who will?

To counterbalance the net income, tax avoidance and tax free socialism for the rich and the married mentioned many times in the above, it is crucial that lifetime federal and provincial income tax be exclusively and completely eliminated for singles and single parents with incomes under $50,000 so they also can save for their retirements. This should absolutely not be tied into refundable tax credits.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE ‘CHICKENSHIT CLUB’ MEMBERSHIPS BECAUSE THEY TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT ON SOCIAL INJUSTICE AND INEQUALITY

POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE ‘CHICKENSHIT CLUB’ MEMBERSHIPS BECAUSE THEY TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT ON SOCIAL INJUSTICE AND INEQUALITY

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

(Blog author’s comment:  The topic of financial discrimination of singles and low income families has been addressed from many different angles in this blog.  This particular blog post shows how compounding of benefits on benefits such as Registered Retirement Savings Account (RRSP) combined with a tax free Canada Child Benefit (CCB) allows wealthy families with children who can afford to max out RRSPs to benefit the most from reduced taxes, increased income, and increased wealth.  It also shows how governments and politicians fail to right the biggest social injustices and financial inequalities by going after the easiest targets.

WHAT IS THE ‘CHICKENSHIT CLUB’

Jesse Eisinger in his book ‘The Chickenshit Club’  gives a blistering account of corporate greed and impunity, and the reckless, often anemic response from the Department of Justice.  He describes how James Comey, the 58th US Republican Attorney (appointed by Republican George W. Bush and fired by so called Republican Donald J. Trump) was giving a speech to lawyers of the criminal division.  These lawyers were some the nation’s elite. During his speech, Comey asked the question: “Who here has never had an acquittal or a hung jury? Please raise your hand.” This group thought of themselves as the best trial lawyers in the country.  Hands shot up. “I have a name for you guys,” Comey said. “You are members of what we like to call the Chickenshit Club.”

Comey had laid out how prosecutors should approach their jobs.  They are required to bring justice. They need to be righteous, not careerists.  They should seek to right the biggest injustices, not go after the easiest targets.

This ‘chickenshit club’ has continued to grow.  No top bankers from the top financial firms went to prison for the malfeasance that led to the 2008 financial crisis. And the problem extends far beyond finance–to pharmaceutical companies, tech giants, auto manufacturers, and more.

DPAs (deferred prosecution and nonprosecution agreements) have become the norm in the USA (and now is being legislated in Canada) where high crime perpetrators are being given the easiest way out by ensuring prosecution is carried out by paying a nominal fine and agreeing to minor policy changes, but without serving any jail time.

Political parties have joined the ‘Chickenshit Club’ by taking the easiest way out and failing to promote social justice and equality for all therefore ensuring that wealthy households and corporate elites continue to increase their wealth over single person and low income households.

The ‘Chickenshit Club’ of low income and food insecurity and minimum wage

Living Wage and Minimum Wage

It is a known fact that the Canadian minimum wage in all provinces is not sufficient to bring households up to middle class status.

A major failure of Living Wage research is that it usually only identifies three household profiles, a single person, single parent with children and a family comprised of two adults and children.  The failure to include a household of two adults no children provides only a partial picture of inequality because it costs a single person household more to live than a two adult persons household.

Review of Living Wage profiles shows that even though living wages are higher than minimum wage, living wages are “no walk in the park”.  A living wage which only covers basic needs still leaves low income households, especially those with rent or mortgages, suffering a ‘no frills’ lifestyle with an inability to save for retirement or emergencies or replacement of vehicles.

By excluding the two adults no children household profile from Living Wage profiles the single person household is an incomplete profile since it costs more for unattached person to live than the two adults household as shown in cost of living scales like Market Basket Measure (MBM).  Example:  if single person household has a value of 1.0, lone parent, one child or two adults household have a value of 1.4, one adult, two children 1.7 and two adults, two children 2.0.  It costs more for singles to live than couples without children.

Many politicians, married and financially illiterate believe that a living wage is a good income but it only provides the bare necessities of life. The living wage in Calgary is about $18 per hour and in Metro Vancouver is about $19 per hour.  There is no saving for retirement or maxing out of RRSP and TFSA accounts on a living wage (see example below for single person household with $50,000 income).

In a recent Conservative meeting, a Canadian Conservative Member of Parliament for Alberta stated he did not think the recent increase in minimum wage helped anybody, not even the poor.  When challenged that ‘this was quite the statement’ and ‘what was the answer to low wages?’, he said ‘he didn’t know’. As outlined below, the upside financial chickenshit mess that has been created by government and politicians for single person households and low income families is because more benefits with less taxes and no declaration of assets has been given to the wealthy and the married.  To create more financial social justice and equality, a drastic plan along the the lines of “Elizabeth Warren” and “Bernie Sanders” is needed so that the wealthy, married, and corporations pay their fair share.

The ‘Chickenshit Club’ of Single Person Household Poverty

Present day political parties and married/two person households with no children belong to the ‘Chickenshit Club’ when they fail to recognize, through financial illiteracy and financial discrimination, that single person no children households will likely face more income insecurity in their lifetimes.

From The Affordability of Healthy Eating in Alberta 2015 by Alberta Health Services (affordability-of-healthy-eating):

(Page 3) “In Alberta, more than 1 in 10 households experience food insecurity and more than 1 in 6 children live in a home where at least one member is food insecure. Nearly 80% of Albertan households who rely on social assistance cannot afford to purchase adequate amounts of nutritious food or regularly endure significant worry about access to food. Furthermore, more than 75% of all food insecure Albertans are actively employed yet still are unable to secure enough money to support both their nutrition needs and other indispensable life necessities, such as housing and clothing.”

(Page 9) The above report provides a more complete picture of income inequality because it identifies four household types – 1) a family with two parents and two children because this composition is used most frequently by other social, income and poverty reports across Canada, 2) a female lone parent due to the high prevalence of food insecurity among this household type, 3) a single adult under age 65 since this demographic experiences the highest rate of food insecurity and the least financial support through social policy, and 4) a single senior to highlight the ability of current social policy to effectively reduce the risk of household food insecurity in this population.  Unfortunately, the two adults person household is still not represented in these profiles.

Quote from the report (page 18): “Although Alberta remains the most prosperous region in Canada, it also maintains the largest gap in income inequality since the wealthiest 1% earns 18 times more than the average income in the province. Thus, the relative economic power of low income households in Alberta is weaker than low income households in all other regions across the country.  Despite a strong economy, the poverty rate in Alberta has remained around 12%, which is only slightly below the national average of 12.5%. Boom and bust cycles, increasing household debt and the high number of temporary, precarious and low-wage jobs put many Albertans at risk of falling into poverty. The Alberta populations at highest risk to experience poverty include:  single persons, families with children under 18 years old, families with more than one child, female lone parent families, women (not an inclusive list).

(Page 24 and 27) These statistical data sources also validated several important characteristics of Canadian and Albertan households that are at highest risk for household food insecurity:  low income households, individuals who rent their home (rather than own their home), women, lone parents, Indigenous Peoples, individuals who receive social assistance, individuals who work for low wages, unattached (single) people, households with children younger than 18 years of age, recent immigrants and refugees (e.g. in Canada for less than five years), people who have a disability.

(Page 28) Single adult – In Alberta, 40.7% of people aged 15 and older are neither married nor living with a common‑law partner and 24.7% of all households are home to only one person.  Unattached persons in Canada experience three times the rate of food insecurity compared to couple households without children.  In Alberta, single people represent five times more food bank users than couples without children.  The rate of poverty among single adults across Alberta is 28% whereas this value drops to only 6% for all couple families.

(Page 29) Single female – Unattached Canadian women are four times more likely than women in families to live in a low income household.  Sixty two per cent of minimum wage earners in Alberta are female.  Across Canada, 3 out of every 4 minimum wage earners older than 24 years of age are women.

(Page 30) Single adult 25–30 years old – Of all Canadian age groups, young adults between 20 and 34 years of age have the highest rates of moderate and severe food insecurity.  Both males and females between the ages of 20 and 29 have the highest nutrition needs of all adult groups and would therefore need to spend a greater proportion of their income on food to support their health and well-being.  By the time Albertans reach age 25, more than 83% are no longer living with their parents, so this age range would best reflect the reality of a young, single person at higher risk for food insecurity in Alberta.

(Page 31) Minimum wage – The percentage of 25–29 year olds who work for minimum wage in Alberta doubled between 2012 and 2014, and this is the largest jump for any working age group across the province.  More than 1 in 4 female minimum-wage earners and nearly 1 in 5 male minimum-wage earners are 25 years or older.  In Alberta, inflation has quickly eroded the contribution of every small increase to hourly minimum wage rates since the early 1980s.

(Page 39) Unattached persons in Canada experience three times the rate of overall food insecurity and seven times the rate of severe food insecurity when compared to couple households without children or with adult children. Single people represent the largest proportion in Canada, at 27.8% of all households, and they also constitute the largest share of food insecure homes at 38.2%. Single people without children also receive the least amount of government social support, as they are not eligible for the financial support of programs like family‑based tax credits and health benefits.

(Page 40) Single-person household based on the after-tax, low-income cutoff measure (LICO), the rate of low income in unattached male and female households has risen over the past decade while all other household categories have experienced a stabilized or decreased rate of low income.  Nearly 1 in 3 unattached people between ages 18 and 64 lives below the LICO in Canada, compared to only 1 in 20 of the same cohort living as part of an economic family.  An economic family refers to a group of two or more people who live in the same household and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law or adoption. The rate of poverty among single adults in Alberta is 28% but this value drops to only 6% for all couple families.  More than 40% of Albertans aged 15 and older are neither married nor living with a common‑law partner and nearly one quarter of all homes in the province are inhabited by only one person. Between 1961 and 2011, the proportion of one-person households in Alberta has more than doubled and now nearly matches the number of homes with families or couples without children.  Across the province, single people represent one third of all food bank users, and they outweigh couples without children by three and a half times.

(Page 40) Minimum wage is an important social policy because it intends to help lift low-paid workers above the poverty line so they have adequate income to meet basic needs for overall well-being.  However, unlike Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS), minimum wage is not regularly indexed to inflation through adjustments to match the increase in the Consumer Price Index.  This can lead to a hidden erosion in the value of this social policy since the general public tends to be unaware of how governments calculate changes to minimum wage rates over time.  In 1965, Alberta’s minimum wage equalled 48.5% of the average provincial income, but by 2010 this proportion had declined to only 35.5%. Alberta’s hourly minimum wage rate had been the lowest of all provinces and territories for several years, but recent increases have raised low-paid workers’ earnings to a minimum of $11.20 per hour as of October 2015.

(Page 41) There is a widespread misconception that most Canadians who earn minimum wage are teenagers who live with their parents, but more than 1 in 4 female minimum wage earners and nearly 1 in 5 male minimum wage earners are actually 25 years old or older. In addition, individuals who are older than 24 years of age are the most likely to live alone while they earn minimum wage.

(Page 42) …. In fact, unattached Canadian men and women between the ages of 18 and 64 are five times more likely to live on a low income compared to their counterparts who live in economic families.  Although the probability of living in a food insecure household is higher for females than males across all age groups and household compositions, income-related food insecurity affects unattached men at the same rate as unattached women.

(Page 44) Among all unattached Canadians, there are twice as many single adults younger than 65 years of age living below the after‑tax LICO compared to single seniors who live below this income.  In addition, the prevalence of household food insecurity is two and a half times lower for the elderly who live alone than for unattached adults who are younger than 65 years old.  However, the likelihood that a single senior will live on a low income is 10 times the rate for seniors who live as part of an economic family. This is significant since 25% of Albertans aged 65 years old and older live alone and unattached individuals are the most likely to rely on OAS and GIS.

“Social assistance soaring in Alberta, even as economy improves”, 2017 – Number of claimants on provincial income assistance programs has climbed to 54,374 in January of 2017, about 20,000 higher than at the start of the recession in 2015.  Makeup of claimants include individuals 69%, lone-parent families 24%, couples with children 5%, and couples alone 3%.  (Note:  Couples with children and couples alone only equal 8% of the total).  The Calgary Food Bank served a record 171,000 clients in 2016.

The real truth about the financial lives of unattached (one person) household

A single person household has to make an extraordinarily high income to achieve the same level of wealth as married with and without children households. A minimum wage means they will be living in poverty and with a living wage barely able to meet the financial necessities of life with no ability to max out RRSP and TFSA contributions.

Example of approximate average cost of living for a single person household (easily obtained from Living Wage Research):  Rent for bachelor apartment (including water, electricity, tenant insurance) $1,000, food $400, vehicle (gas, repair and insurance) $200, phone/internet $300, clothing/footwear $100, dental/eyecare $100, house tax and insurance if a homeowner $250, contingency saving for emergencies and replacement of vehicle (10%) $300.  Total equals $2,650 or $31,800 per year ($16 per hour based on 2,000 work hours). Totals do not include other expenses like bank fees, personal care expenses, household operation and maintenance, pets, vacations, entertainment, computer purchases and expenses, gifts, condo fees and professional association and union fees, etc.  Note: this does not include saving for retirement beyond Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions. The living wage for Alberta is about $18 per hour based on 35 hour work week or 1,820 hrs per annum. Single person households receive very little income from government transfers (municipal, provincial and federal).

The following three examples, although simplistic, are real life examples for single persons:

  1. Single person private sector employee with $50,000 income ($25 per hour based on 2,000 worked hours) will pay about $11,000 for taxes, CPP and EI deductions.  This results in a only a barely survivable net or take home living wage income of $39,000 ($19.50 per hour based on 2,000 hrs. or $3,250 per month). Using average cost of living of $32,000 from above paragraph, this person only has a reserve of about $600 per month.  It is impossible for this person to maximize RRSP ($9,000) and TFSA ($6,000) contributions (about $1,200 per month) even though many financially illiterate believe $50,000 is a good income for unattached individuals.  Moreover, as seniors their standard of living will likely be frugal and less equal to that of married/common-law households.
  2. Single person private sector employee with $60,000 income ($30 per hour and 2,000 work hours) will pay about $14,500 in taxes, CPP and EI contributions.  This results in a net income of $45,500 ($22.75 per hour or $3,800 per month). This person will not be able to max out RRSP ($10,800) and TFSA ($6,000) contributions (about $1,400 per month).  This still equals a frugal lifestyle (note expenses like vacations and eating out are not included in the average cost of living).
  3. Single person public sector employee with $75,000 income ($37.50 per hour and 2,000 work hours) will pay about $17,000 in taxes, CPP and EI benefits plus pension plan contribution of $7,500 (10 per cent).  Union dues are not included here. This results in a net income of approx. $51,000 ($25.50 per hour or $4,200 per month). This person may be barely able to max out RRSP ($13,500) and TFSA ($6,000) accounts (about $1,541 per month) at the expense of no vacation and eating out expenses and will have a public pension on retirement, but still will not have a standard of living equal to that of married/coupled households since they pay more taxes than married households and will not receive benefits of married persons (spousal RRSP, pension splitting, etc.)  Market Basket Measure shows it costs single person household more to live than married households.

Lessons learned:  A minimum wage of $15 means single person households will live in poverty and a living wage equals a very frugal lifestyle with no frills.

‘Chickenshit Club of women being paid less for equal work

From the above Alberta Report and Canadian statistics it is evident that a major problem still  exists of women being paid less for equal  work.

From Global News, report finds that women in Canada earn just 84 cents for every $1 earned by men, a gap similar to the one reported in official statistics. In 2017, Statistics Canada said Canadian women were making 87 cents for every $1 earned by men.  [T]he Glassdoor study went one step further, finding a four per cent pay differential between men and women even when factors like education, years on the job, occupation and professional title are taken into account. In other words, Canadian women are making just 96 cents for every $1 earned by men with the same qualifications, job and experience, something Glassdoor is calling the “adjusted pay gap.”

How many years is it going to take before women receive equal social justice on pay equity?  Instead of being ‘chickenshit political parties’ which political party is going to take this issue on?

‘Chickenshit Club’ of Canada Child Benefit

The present day ‘chickenshit club’ Canada Child Benefit does help to bring low income households with children out of poverty and food insecurity (this is a good thing), but only during the first eighteen years of the household’s entire lifecycle.  When children are grown, low income single parent households are back to ‘square one’ of the adult probability of living in poverty.

The Canada Child Benefit was implemented by Stephen Harper, previous Conservative Prime Minister, and was taxed.  Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it non taxable.

All political parties have been complicit in perpetuating financial policies that increase middle class wealth to upper middle class status while forcing poor families and single unmarried individuals further into poverty.

Financial Post “Couple needs to cash in rental condo gains to make retirement work” (ditch-rental-condo-to-get-ahead) details a couple age 42 and 43 already having a net worth of $1.8 million, take home pay of $10,936 per month and receiving $286 in Canada Child Benefits for three children.

In 2018, Ontario couple with a child under six years of age would stop receiving CCB payments with a net income reaching $188,437.50 without other deductions such as RRSP (canada-child-benefit-is-a-win-for-most-families).  $188,000??? This is not an income of poverty.

The inequality of family benefits for the upper middle class and wealthy families is perpetuated even further by the compounding of benefits on top of benefits.  The article “Supercharge your Canada Child Benefit by making an RRSP contribution” (supercharge-by-making-an-rrsp-contribution) outlines how RRSP contributions are considered to be a tax deduction; therefore, they lower taxable income and can increase the amount of CCB payments.  The example of Ontario family with 3 kids under age 6 years of age and a family net income of $75,000 with full $13,500 RRSP contribution for the year (18% X $75,000) can expect a CCB payment of $13,215 and will pay approx. $11,814 in taxes.  Because of RRSP contributions in the previous year, their CCB payments increased by $1,465 for the present year. Additionally, they will save $1,401 in taxes and at a marginal rate of 29.65%, their RRSP contribution will also result in a tax refund of about $4,000.  The compounding effects of benefits means they will pay less taxes, get larger CCB payment and increase their RRSP wealth. The total family income with CCB is $88,215 (combined after tax and tax free) and they have increased their wealth by $13,500 RRSP for the year of contribution).

Using turbotax calculator for Alberta family with $250,000 gross income or approx. $160,000 net income ($13,300 per month) they should be able to max out maximum allowable 2019 $45,000 for couple to their RRSPs and $12,000 TFSA for the year.  Through compounding effect of benefits, including marital, they will pay approx.$21,000 less taxes, get larger CCB payment, increase their RRSP and TFSA wealth, own their home, and have approx. $181,000 minus TFSA $12,000 contribution or $169,000 ($84.5/hr.) spending capability annually.

It should be noted that there may be other credits and deductions that can be used which will further increase income available for spending.

What would anyone think that unattached individuals with no children don’t deserve to be angry because they know their hard earned money is used to increase the wealth of upper middle class and wealthy families since these families never pay their fair share in taxes because they can avoid taxes through multiple compounded benefits ???

“Ontario woman’s problem is too much debt and too little income” (forced-to-retire) is a very good example of what singles might face (i.e. on $3,750 income per month) when they are forced to retire early due to illness (doesn’t say if she is divorced or widowed).

Solution:  As per above example of $50,000 income it is impossible for single person household to have a meaningful financial life equivalent to that of married no children households.

Politicians need to get off their chickenshit politics, stop taking the easy way out, and do the hard thing by including assets and Market Basket Measure calculations in financial formulas so that singles and low income households get financial social justice and equality equal to that of wealthy and married households.

How about implementing legislation where never married no children persons should not have to pay any income tax on incomes below $50,000 so that get a benefit equivalent to that CCB and multiple benefits to families with and without children?

Chickenship Club of Climate Change

The Green Party keeps talking about a climate change plan, but like other plans and environmentalists/protesters it is all talk with very little information.  When is the Green Party (they are after all the Green Party) going to come up with a plan, for example, a line graph that shows what will happen in year one, year two, etc.  What is going to happen to all the gas combustion vehicles, gas furnaces and water tank heaters. Where are you going to dump them?  Apparently some gas combustion vehicles can be converted to electric. What are you doing about that? Are you going to shut very expensive oil refineries down that are still able to be used for another fifty years?

Many green earth technologies use rare earth minerals some of which are very toxic.  At the present time China produces 80 per cent of the rare earth minerals.  Just how do some extreme environmentalists and politicians think rare earth minerals get to Canada from China to be used in production of wind turbines?  The answer is probably by tanker.

The hypocrisy of the tanker ban is that it is only one way?  Does the  ban on tanker traffic address the tankers coming into Canada?

Elizabeth May was so impressed with India’s climate change plan.  However, India has just voted in again an authoritarian government with the help of far right Hindu religious voters.  India at present time has no middle class and the highest rate of unemployment in forty five years.

Any plan that is implemented by any country has to provide 100% climate change funds to the poor to convert from gas to electricity instead of excessive compensation of the wealthy who are the highest emitters of energy and the biggest consumers of natural resources.

Elizabeth May since her marriage has upped her membership in the ranks of the wealthy high super emitters of energy and super users of natural resources. Those with multiple properties (examples: second property hop farm owned by Elizabeth’s husband, Arizona and other vacation properties that sit empty for six months of the year and excess travel between these properties, huge motorhomes, etc.) should pay more for this privilege afforded to them by their wealth.

Green Party Reform of spousal pensions for those who have married after the age of 60 or retirement

The Green Party and particularly Elizabeth May belong to the chickenshit club of married/coupled financially privileged households.

From the ‘Surviving Spouses Pension Fairness Coalition’ May states she has lobbied to repeal legislation that denies pension benefits to spouses who have married after the age of 60 or retirement.  In one of her letters she states:  …The Green Party supports deleting these restrictive clauses in the Federal Superannuation Acts which penalize pensioners who have remarried or married for the first time after age 60 after retiring….these clauses serve to unfairly deny hard earned pension benefits to deserving partners.  These….clauses are causing great hardship to the survivor whose spouse gave a life in service to our country.”

Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau in his letter also supports this –  “I and the entire Liberal Caucus, believe that Canadian seniors are entitled to a dignified, secure, and healthy retirement. Retirees deserve financial security; they deserve a strong Canadian Pension Plan, and a government who is not only committed to protecting the CPP, but is dedicated to improving its benefits.  A secure and comfortable retirement is essential to achieving middle-class success, and Liberals believe that the federal government must do more to fulfill this promise. While the Conservative Government has left Canadians and the provinces to fend for themselves, Liberals support working with the provinces to create legislation that will make retirement security easier, not harder for all Canadians to achieve.”  (Shouldn’t the same apply to never married no children senior households?)

Tom Mulcair, NDP letter states – “New Democrats want to acknowledge the debt we owe our seniors and reward the years of hard work and dedication to our country.  That’s why we are committed to ending these archaic restrictions on benefits for pensions and their spouses.”

This is not the only pension plan where marriage for only a few years privileges the surviving spouse who hasn’t made any contributions to the pension.

Why, why, why do married persons believe they are entitled to benefits they haven’t earned?  These newly married persons never worked for and never made contributions to the pension of their spouses.  The reform of all spouses pensions similar to the above promotes the financial discrimination of never married, no children persons.  Why do these married persons who never worked for these pensions deserve to have a better lifestyle than never married, no children persons?  Never married, no children persons can never access another person’s pensions. As stated above, it has been shown that it costs more for never married, no children persons to live.  Why can’t a new widow because of death of the spouse live with the same financial realities as a never married, no children person? Afterall, the widow is now ‘single’.

Solution:  A proper financial justice solution would be to pay whatever is left in deceased spouse’s pension to the surviving spouse in the same way that whatever is left in the never married, no children person’s pension is paid to the listed benefactor.  If benefit after benefit is given to widows, equal financial remuneration equivalent to these benefits should also be given to never married, no children seniors.

Chickenshit Club of Conservatives Jason Kenney (Alberta) and Doug Ford (Ontario)

Jason Kenney is already showing his true Trumpian values by targeting most vulnerable residents at the lower end of the financial scale.  He is doing this by lowering corporate taxes and reducing teen minimum wage instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. Just waiting for him to reduce progressive taxes back to a flat tax!  Doug Ford continues to do his damage by breaking election promises, attacking healthcare and public sectors and employees of these sectors, and implementing retroactive financial policies on budgets that have already been planned.

Where are the ‘Elizabeth Warren’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’ of Canadian politics that will promote social justice and financial equality by ensuring corporations and upper middle class families and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes without the compounding of benefits that make them wealthier than single person and low income households?

Chickenshit Club of Liberal Party

The Liberals also belong to the Chickenshit Club of politics as they have done very little to promote social justice and equality where wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.  They are promoting ideas for the elderly to receive benefits if they have to work over the age of 65. How nice – make the senior poor work longer while giving benefits to the wealthy and married who have multiple compounding of benefits which allow them to retire at age 55.

Liberals keep talking about helping the middle class – the real truth is they are pushing the middle class up to the upper middle class while keeping unattached persons and low income families at the lower end of the financial scale.  With their plans there will be no middle class.

The Liberals have done nothing to mitigate the financial injustice and inequality of Conservative Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) which benefit wealthy the most.

The following  was published in the Calgary Herald as this blog author’s opinion letter on TFSAs – ( Ted Rechtshaffen and Fraser Institute are telling half truths since only child rearing years are discussed on who is paying more taxes.  Wealthy Canadians with TFSA accounts pay no tax on investments earned; therefore, someone else is indeed picking up the bill, i.e. those who can’t afford TFSA accounts. Singles pay more taxes throughout entire lifetime).

“TAX LOOPHOLES NEED TO BE CLOSED”

Re: “Trudeau is right, 40 per cent of Canadians pay no income tax, Opinion, Feb. 8, 2019 (someone-else-is-picking-up-the-bill) ”

Ted Rechtshaffen and the Fraser Institute once again tell half-truths about who pays the most income tax.  Conservatives have created a TFSA monster at home (not offshore) tax loophole.

“They Want To Spend $50,000 In Retirement, Did They Save Enough?”(did-they-save-enough) outlines how an Ontario couple with large TFSA, RRSP accounts and a $600,000 house can retire at 55 and evade income taxes for 15 years while using benefits intended for low-income persons.

Canada, one of the few countries with TFSAs, has the most generous plan with the only limit being annual contribution amounts. Others (example Roth IRA) impose age, income and lifetime limits on contributions.

Without further addition of TFSA limits, the wealthy will pay less income tax than those who cannot afford TFSAs.

Chickenshit Club of Drug Cost and Advertising

All political parties are lobbying to cut drug costs.  Has anyone thought of limiting the amount of advertising drug companies can do?  Advertising is very expensive. Surely, this money could be used to decrease drug costs and to promote research for new drugs.  Why does one have to listen to advertisements on Peyronie’s disease, hemorrhoids, female and male sexual drive dysfunction, etc. over and over again.  Information on benefits of drugs should occur from discussion between the doctor and patient, not from advertisements. One solution would be to limit the amount of times each drug company can advertise in a given time period.

Chickenshit Club of Issues like Tanker Traffic Ban, Money Laundering, etc.

It doesn’t matter which political party it is – Liberal, Conservative, Green Party, BC NDP party, etc., all political parties with their chickenshit politics are trying as hard as they can to harm certain provinces and low income citizens in any way they can.  Governments at all levels have failed in controlling ‘dirty money’ and indeed have been complicit in promoting it. Some have hypocritically implemented legislation that negatively impacts only certain parts of the country.

Tanker Traffic Ban – on west coast, but not the east coast while increasing other revenue generating traffic such as cruise ships, ferry traffic and sightseeing boat traffic on the west coast.

Money Laundering in BC and Canada – The money laundering problem is prevalent across Canada but the egregious case of the ‘Vancouver Model’ of money laundering in BC shows how greed of chickenshit government overtakes the moral and ethical logic of doing the right thing.  BC governments failed to address the problem because of the huge amounts of money generated for the BC Lottery Corporation to be used for government programs. Since this also apparently involved real estate, housing prices rose to an exponential level.  Who is affected most of all? – low income persons who can’t afford housing, be it rental or ownership.

CONCLUSION:

Unless there is a major change to the upside down financial situation of politics and government where the wealthy, married and corporations stand to financially benefit the most (selective socialism for the rich), there is little hope that single person households and low income families will ever reach the middle class status so hypocritically touted by governments, politicians, families, and the elite. They should seek to right the biggest social injustices and financial inequalities, not go after the easiest solutions.

(Updated June 8, 2019)

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS DO NOT EQUAL SOCIALISM

PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS DO NOT EQUAL SOCIALISM

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

This blog post was prompted by an opinion letter in a local newspaper where certain conservative persons continue to demonize public sector jobs.  The opinion letter below was submitted to the local newspaper in response, but in a shortened format since only so many words can be submitted to newspapers.  The Fraser Institute report consists of blatant gaslighting since what is left out of the report is the fact that the population growth of Alberta in 2014 to 2018 was 223,000 in comparison to Saskatchewan’s 49,000 increase.

April 18, 2019 opinion letter “Public sector jobs not equal to private” again equates public sector jobs to socialism.  Quoted Fraser Institute, (right-wing think tank) report “The Illusion of Alberta’s Job Recovery” (jobs) has to be one of the most gaslighting reports ever produced.

Report states from 2014 to 2018 Alberta’s employment growth has increased by 79,000 new government jobs (23% increase) while private sector jobs have decreased by 3%. Government’s share of total employment is 23%, private sector and self-employed 77%. They then compare this to Saskatchewan’s government jobs increase of 2.1%.

Fact check:  Alberta population 4.084 million in 2014, 4.307 million in 2018 (223,000 increase).  Alta. births 55,574 in 2014, 56,239 in 2018. Saskatchewan population 2014 1.113 million, 2018 1.162 million (49,000 increase) .  Sask. births in fiscal 2014 15,157, fiscal 2018 15,693.

In entire Fraser Institute report it failed to mention that the population of Alberta increased by almost a quarter of a million persons in 2014 to 2018 while Saskatchewan’s population increased by only 50,000 persons.

Alberta birth and population growth rates have been increasing while death rates are declining.  In first twenty years of life education and medical care are not mutually exclusive but both must occur simultaneously thus requiring more employees. Death rates are declining so people living longer with greater medical needs require more medical care.

Alberta comparison to Saskatchewan is moronic.  Ever increasing population and birth rates (second highest birth rate in Canada) require increases in education, medical care, police, firefighter services to support that population.  It has nothing to do with socialism.

While we are at it, why don’t we talk about job inequity of a different kind, that is, the pay inequity of women to men.  (Canada is ranked as having the 8th highest gender pay gap out of a list of 43 countries in 2016 ….. earn approximately $7,200 less annually than their male counterparts the-wage-gap).

The Alberta employment crisis affects everyone in different ways. Public sector employees are not immune. They also have problems selling their houses.  Education and medical care employees suffer emotional and psychological stress in their jobs when they come in contact with the pain of unemployed private sector persons and children. While private sector unemployed with children will receive higher Canada Child Benefits private sector unemployed unattached persons with no children receive nothing in comparable benefits.  Families with combined private and public sector spouses likely still have one person employed. Public sector employed help support private sector unemployed by paying taxes.

The opinion writer on public sector socialism states jobs growth via socialism is trying to magically make unemployment disappear by simply having 100% government jobs. This is a false because some would be very unhappy that they couldn’t increase their incomes and benefit levels to that of corporate and wealthy private sector elites.

To prevent chaos there are vital services for the public good like airline safety, food inspection, disease control (measles), etc. that should be free of entrepreneurship and shareholder ideology.  These public services are not defined by socialism.

CONCLUSION

Many who talk about the public sector being equal to socialism do not understand what socialism is all about and incorrectly label many things as socialism when they are not. Much more public work needs to done to correct inequality and promote social justice for all workers.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)