What I want

RYAN  By Guest Blogger Ryan Lewenza

With the holidays now here this is often a good time for some self-reflection, taking stock of what’s really important, and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. For fancy pants Portfolio Managers like me it’s even more important to recognize this, giving back to our communities and helping out those in need. This includes things like charitable giving, supporting important causes, and even just buying someone in need a hot coffee and meal. In that spirit, today’s blog post will focus on things I want to see in the months and years ahead that will help our broader society and economy, and lead to a better world.

First I want to see our politicians put us ahead of their own political ambitions and party agenda. To remember they work and represent us, their constituents, not the special interests, lobbyists and political donors that they like to cozy up to.

All too often we see politicians make short-term, politically expedient decisions that are more about winning political points and votes, rather than what’s good for the people they represent.

A great example of this is what we just saw with the passage of the US tax reform plan. Having slashed corporate, personal, and estate taxes, the Republicans are banking on a significantly higher GDP growth rate so that it’s revenue neutral and not adding to the deficits – classic trickle down economics. We’ve seen this story before with the Bush tax cuts, and deficits and debt rose after that. Most non-partisan budget analysis organizations estimate this tax plan will add another US$1 to $1.5 trillion to the deficits, thus contributing to the already record high US$20 trillion debt.

And we’re seeing the same thing here in Canada, with the Federal Liberals significantly ramping up spending, and deficits projected as far as the eye can see.

In my view the massive debts piling up in North America and around the world represent one of the most significant long-term risks to the global economy and our well being, and no one seems to care since it’s not politically convenient to our short-term thinking policy makers.

My ask is that politicians make the tough decisions now and begin putting long-term plans in place to deal with this critical issue before it’s too late.

When Will Politicians Take Our Deficits Seriously?

Source: Bloomberg, Turner Investments

Another incredibly important trend that needs to be addressed is the growing income inequity in our society. As a consequence of past government policies and the uneven economic recovery where financial assets have benefited more than the real economy, it has lead to an unhealthy and unsustainable chasm between different income levels.

Below is a chart that I’ve referenced before and it shows how the top 5% earners in the US have seen their income rise from roughly US$40,000 in 1970 to US$350,000 today while those in the lower income levels have barely budged over this period.

In my view this helps explain many of the issues we see surfacing in North America and around the world, from the rise of populist movements like Trump, Bernie Sanders and Marie Le Pen, to increasing racial tensions and growing anti-immigrant sentiment. If more people are participating and benefiting from the economic prosperity the less people will blame the government, their neighbour, immigrants etc. and the better off our entire society will be.

Income Inequality On The Rise

Source: Tax Policy Center, Turner Investments

Finally, and most importantly, what I want to see in the years ahead is for our collective society to try to put aside our political, religious, and socio-economic differences and recognize the common thread through all of us – basic things like our desire for freedom and to live in peace, to contribute to our communities and show compassion for our fellow man, to share in economic prosperity and provide for our families and to not live in constant fear or uncertainty.

In recent years we have been bombarded with one terrible terrorist attack after another, often predicated on some distorted and perverted religious belief.

As we look to 2018 and beyond, hopefully we can begin to make progress on some of these critical issues.

I’ll finish my last blog post for the year with a great and fitting quote from Martin Luther King, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Terrorist Attacks Frequency

Source: Statista, Turner Investments
Ryan Lewenza, CFA,CMT is a Partner and Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments, and a Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, of Raymond James Ltd.

117 comments ↓

#1 tccontrarian on 12.23.17 at 3:13 pm

“In recent years we have been bombarded with one terrible terrorist attack after another, often predicated on some distorted and perverted religious belief.” – RL
**********************************************

At least, that’s what they’d like you to believe (think – ‘Divide and Conquer’).
Not saying that those do not actually occur, but I’d say False Flag events are far more frequent than you can imagine.

Happy Holidays to Everyone, regardless. – TCC

#2 Deplorable Overlords on 12.23.17 at 3:17 pm

That giant green debt pit was all T1’s doing… T2 seems intent of having his own pit of debt…running pointless deficits for no reason whatsoever….. hey he’s on track to balance the budget by 2045!!

#3 FOUR FINGERS WATSON on 12.23.17 at 3:53 pm

Good post Ryan, and well said.

#4 joblo on 12.23.17 at 3:54 pm

“First I want to see our politicians put us ahead of their own political ambitions and party agenda. To remember they work and represent us, their constituents, not the special interests, lobbyists and political donors that they like to cozy up to.”

Dream on Ryan, we are owned!

George Carlin 10 years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYIC0eZYEtI

#5 Ronaldo on 12.23.17 at 4:01 pm

What Clive has to say about bitcoin and its future. Hold off on mortgaging the house.

https://www.streetwisereports.com/article/2017/12/13/bitcoin-total-wipeout-alert.html

#6 Jamarcus Duware on 12.23.17 at 4:03 pm

Boring bs post. Go lock yourself in your room and cry.

#7 Loonie Doctor on 12.23.17 at 4:08 pm

I agree with you on all accounts Ryan. Unfortunately, I don’t think politicians will treat deficits and debt seriously unless the voters force them to. We have seen how the majority of voters feel about that. Any party who says that they will cut spending or raise revenue (in a broad meaningful way, not just targetting small symbolic groups) gets smoked in an election. The high debt to income ratios of the Canadian public and our governments are no coincidence. If governments are going to lead us and make responsible choices, the public needs to being willing to follow.

#8 Blacksheep on 12.23.17 at 4:16 pm

Positive message Ryan, thanks.

Lets start with some fantastical thinking:

1) Minimum of four political party options, ending the two headed (DEM/REP) single snake, system that currently monopolizes the US.

2) Publicly fund all, Federal / Provincial / Presidential / State elections.

3) Ban all private / corporate donations from, Federal / Provincial / Presidential / State elections.

4) Ban all, Financial lobbing / gifting of any form for all politicians. Mandatory jail time if caught breaking this law.

5) ‘One term’ (4yrs max) in office policy for all politains.

6) Out law the offshoring / sheltering of taxation, in any form. Revenues generated in, must be taxed, in country.

7) US military to close 75% of their global bases, bring manpower and resources home to rebuild crumbling US infrastructure.

8) Defund Pentagon spending by 75% and put the funds to the help the bottom 10% of society.

9) US Gov. to nationalize all privately owned Hospitals in the US and start the shift to publicly funded healthcare. Add the bill to the national debt.

10) Zero income tax on anyone earning under 25K, then a modest flat rate across the board on all sources of personal revenues generated. No exceptions.

#9 BobC on 12.23.17 at 4:18 pm

Difference is Trump is cutting tens of billions of dollars in unnecessary big government regulations. Also he expects trillions of dollars to come back into the US. They have to do something with it. Like in the past the only thing that can screw this up is the congress going back to the democrats in ‘18. Time will tell.

#10 For those about to flop... on 12.23.17 at 4:26 pm

CONFIRMED PINK SNOW.

Well, this one we already knew the result to in real time thanks to someone who wrote a post to me calling themselves “For Flop”.
Thanks to that person once again

The details…

3443 e 51st Ave,Vancouver.

Paid 1.94 June 2016

Sold 1.68 November 2017

I had it marked down as sold on October 26th but November by the time the ink dried.

Feel free to work the numbers as you wish but I will do a rough and ready attempt and say 13.5% loss before expenses,load them in, and if I go easy on them for opportunities lost and round it to a nice easy 20% ,before you blink we are approaching a 400k mistake and that without knowledge of a renovation and such.

And then I saw their face,now I’m a believer…

M43BC

https://www.zolo.ca/vancouver-real-estate/3443-e-51st-avenue

https://www.leowilkrealestate.com/listing/3443-e-51st/

https://www.bcassessment.ca/Property/Info/QTAwMDAwM0Y2Qw==

#11 Newcomer on 12.23.17 at 4:49 pm

Well said, Ryan.

So how do we lower income inequality?

The obvious option is to tax the bejesus out of the rich. People here often complain that, after a certain level, there is no point in earning more money as half will be taken away. Is that potentially a good thing? (I can see some people, including most influencers, being unhappy with that approach.)

Other options include massively upping the benefits for the people at the lower end in the hope that, with that leg up, they will join the rich. (At least in the short term, the results have been mixed.)

As the rich get most of their money through investment (which is another way of saying owning the means of production) one might think of trying to limit that, or moving that ownership to the average joe on the street. (This has had some pretty nasty side effects in the past).

I obviously don’t have a good answer but I certainly believe that income inequality is the number one risk to peace and prosperity. I would be interested in knowing what you (and others) think might be a good approach.

#12 For those about to flop... on 12.23.17 at 4:50 pm

CONFIRMED PINK SNOW

The details

Paid 1.38 April 2016

Sold 1.29 December 2017.

And so a little less dramatic than the last case but still a significant hit especially being towards the bottom of the ladder ,but as I have demonstrated multiple timesyou can find people losing money on condos that gamble on pre-construction prices to continually escalate at 20% per year.

As for this one could be a 180k mistake after everything is factored in.

Not real sure how good Ashwood burns.

Guess we are about to find out…

M43BC

Sold on 7th November

9844 Ashwood Drive, Richmond paid . 1.38 asking 1.29

Nov 16:$1,398,000
Jun 13: $1,368,000
Change: – 30000.00 -2%

https://www.zolo.ca/richmond-real-estate/9844-ashwood-drive

https://www.bcassessment.ca/Property/Info/QTAwMDA1V1VITg==

#13 Erick on 12.23.17 at 4:59 pm

Bernie Sanders a populist at par with Trump and Marine le Pen – seriously Dude, we can see your bias …

#14 Screwed Baby Boomer living in Costa Rica on 12.23.17 at 4:59 pm

Over 55% of the working population in Toronto earn less than $44,000 take home pay, but over 95% of condo construction caters to those who can afford over $440,000 for a shoebox in the sky, not to mention condo fees and property taxes.

At least we are not third world corrupt countries like Equatorial Guinea where, in collusion with Exxon Mobil, export over 150,000 barrels of oil a day for a population that’s roughly 500,000 people, but despite a level of 150,000 barrels of oil per day for the past 15 years, over 300,000 citizens in Equatorial Guinea live under US$1.50 a day, while it was reported that the President of that country is an owner of million dollar mansions & Ferraris in California, USA.

In Canada, we have a large service economy that we don’t depend on natural resources like 3rd world countries, but we act like 3rd world countries, but with only a very poor social life and Draconian gender language laws that can imprison citizens for identifying one as the wrong gender as hate speech.

You can argue that I should like in Equatorial Guinea or Nigeria like the locals living on less than US$1.25 a day, but even welfare recipients in cities like Toronto, Ontario, Canada are worse off because their rental costs surpass their welfare cheque.

Over 500,000 citizens in Ontario relied on food banks in the past year.

Other than that, if luxury condos, penthouses, condo towers, houses, etc were springing up all over Equatorial Guinea at the rate that’s its growing in Canada, the President of Equatorial Guinea would flee from angry rioters and citizens who are being robbed of their fair share of oil wealth.

You can’t tell me with a straight face that with Canada’s GDP per capita at US$55,000 on average from 2010-2017 & with our total GDP at US$1.6 TRILLION, that we have citizens living on welfare that is way below the cost of low-income living in Canada?

#15 Berniebee on 12.23.17 at 5:04 pm

I almost spit up my rum and eggnog* when I saw today’s post. “Ditto”. LOL- Love it!

*Rum and eggnog with a few shaves of nutmeg and a sprinkle of cinnamon. After all, it’s the holidays.

#16 Screwed Baby Boomer living in Costa Rica on 12.23.17 at 5:09 pm

“In my view this helps explain many of the issues we see surfacing in North America and around the world, from the rise of populist movements like Trump, Bernie Sanders and Marie Le Pen, to increasing racial tensions and growing anti-immigrant sentiment. If more people are participating and benefiting from the economic prosperity the less people will blame the government, their neighbour, immigrants etc. and the better off our entire society will be.”

That’s an easy theory, but check out various countries in Africa where wealthy foreigners are constructing luxury condo towers in cities which were traditionally mid-rise buildings, and also locals being forced out of their communities because of those “condo booms” from foreign investors located in China, Hong Kong, Iran, etc.

Are the African people “racist” for complaining that wealthy foreigners are constructing 80 floor high towers in their communities while the locals are forced to live in shanty town ghettoes?

Are the citizens of Equatorial Guinea “racist”, “sexist” or “homophobic” for complaining that despite their GDP at a whooping US$24,000 PER YEAR because of oil exports, over half of citizens live on less than US$1.50 daily, and co-incidentally, the higher oil prices go, the higher the risk that their President can afford to hire mercenaries to quell dissent?

The rich are only getting richer!

#17 cultural elitist on 12.23.17 at 5:11 pm

Thanks for the positive thoughts. It’s important for everyone to keep an eye on these long-term trends, and not lose perspective based on short-term thinking. Your sentiment and data charts are much appreciated.

I don’t want to presume to argue with the host, but there seems to be a small but significant contradiction in your statement:
“for our collective society to try to put aside our … socio-economic differences and recognize the common thread through all of us – basic things like … to share in economic prosperity ”

Wait — if we “put aside” the socio-economic differences as you say, how are we ever going to address growing inequality?

I think what you mean to say is that we’re all human beings and we should be co-operating at solving problems rather than demonizing one another. That’s extremely important, and I totally agree.

However, I don’t think we ought to put aside all discussions of socio-economic status. Most “successful” people I know would like to do just that. They like to think we live in a pure meritocracy. Since they are successful, it strokes their egos, (I’m the best, the proof is in my bank account), and it also allows them to pay less attention to those less fortunate (it’s their own failing).

Putting aside socio-economic differences allows the successful to continue to delude themselves, along with everyone else. They’ll argue that all we need to do is “level the playing field”, or something. That’s what people in power have been saying since Reagan, and look where that’s got us (see charts above).

I’m actually quite bummed out that nobody talks about class anymore. The fact remains that the reason why we had less inequality in the 50s and 60s and into the 70s was a strong working class identity that fought for a share of the economic benefits. We actually need a resurgent class movement, to help rectify the inequality we have in our society today.

PS – Don’t be fooled by Trudeau’s “middle-class” rhetoric. That’s just further cover for his own sins, and those of his class.

PPS – I really do appreciate the blog, and all of your efforts to lead us, the blind, across the treacherous investment landscapes. Keep up the good work!

#18 Former Fool on 12.23.17 at 5:12 pm

As usual, great insights Ryan. Thanks for posting. I too wish for the same things; unfortunately I’m cynical on this Liberal government and I do not expect them to make decisions based on good data but rather on what gets them votes. It is sad.

I’ve always wanted to ask you this question: are there situations where you, Doug, and Garth would consider shifting the model portfolio from a 60/40 split to say an 80/20 or 90/10 split? I am roughly 60/40 right now, but in the back of my mind I tell myself that I’d go 80/20 if we have a repeat of 2008-2009, as a means to enhance returns. Is there any merit to such an approach?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, Garth, and Doug!

#19 Nonplused on 12.23.17 at 5:12 pm

I don’t believe government debts are the greatest threat to the economy. A significant one, but not the greatest.

The 2 greatest threats facing the economy are energy prices and of course nuclear war.

I’ll not address the nuclear war one too much today because if that one happens there won’t be much to talk about. There is a 1983 made for TV movie called “The Day After” that is all you need to see. Keep in mind that the weapons that would be used today are significantly more powerful and the radiation that would be released from storage much higher.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjLq52oVas0

(Don’t confuse it with “The Day After Tomorrow” which is complete claptrap.)

On the energy side we are certainly not running out any time soon. The Canadian tar sands alone contain enough energy to last the world 100 years and now we also have shale gas and oil in pretty abundant amounts. The problem is that it isn’t cheap to extract. Oil prices right now are below full cycle production costs for tar and shale oil. This won’t last because it can’t. (It’ll last for a while though, these things don’t right themselves in a day). Look for oil to move back towards $80 per barrel probably in 2019-2020. And if there is a major war in the Middle East look for $150 per barrel over night maybe higher. A major war in the Middle East will bring about a financial crises like never before seen. This is why all the talk about attacking Iran is poppycock, it’ll never happen. But if it does……

I don’t see the debt as nearly as big of a problem. Sure, it’s a big problem, but the people and institutions that have purchased all that government debt have basically just agreed to voluntary taxes. They’ll never get the money back because it cannot be repaid. Instead, it’ll just be inflated away as has always been the case for almost all government debts. The government can’t pay it back because they don’t have any money. If they had money why would they be borrowing it? The can’t raise taxes sufficiently either because nobody else has that kind of money. So inflation it will be. Of course if you hold the debt this is a bit of a crises for you because you aren’t going to get all your purchasing power back but it’ll be a slow crises so most people won’t really notice it until it’s too late.

Government debt is an interesting thing because, much like fiat currency or Bitcoin, it doesn’t really exist in the physical world, it’s just a concept. It’s a claim on future tax revenues. But what future tax revenues? Aren’t they going to need the future tax revenues for the business of running the future government? Why would we assume that the future government is going to have future cash flows that exceed future government expenses such that they can repay current debts in the future? Not likely. The debt has already gone parabolic and can now only go up. But if the government debt somehow implodes nothing physical in the real world will change other than a bunch of people who thought they were going to get their purchasing power back will have to come to terms with the fact that they won’t. Severe, for sure, but not as bad as $150 oil prices. Most people don’t have any money so they won’t be affected at all other than the inflationary effects.

#20 For those about to flop... on 12.23.17 at 5:14 pm

CONFIRMED PINK SNOW.

These guys didn’t take much longer than six months to burn a hole in their pockets.

The details…

Paid 2.87 April 2017

Sold 2.76 November 2017

And so this bulldozer was bought most likely with the intention to flip it to a developer with deeper pockets but that need has dried up to a certain extent on the Westside.

Roughly a 10% loss in a short amount of time,might have broken even if the could have held on until the Spring ,but only they know their true circumstances.

300k lighter after this experience most likely.

Probably what Vancouver needs right now.

A little bit of Shock and Thaw…

M43BC

Sold on November 13 sold for 2.76 Pink Snow.

Asking 2.88

3640 W 2nd Avenue, Vancouver paid 2.87 ass2.99 April 2017

Jun 19:$3,388,000
Sep 20: $2,988,800
Change: – 399200.00 -12%.

https://www.bcassessment.ca/Property/Info/QTAwMDAwMDZUTA==

#21 islander on 12.23.17 at 5:16 pm

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Let’s give credit to Theodore Parker (August 24, 1810 – May 10, 1860) for the above quote. Parker was a “reforming minister of the Unitarian church. A reformer and abolitionist, his words and popular quotations would later inspire speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.” (Wiki)

Thanks, Ryan, and ‘ditto’ for the following:
” massive debts piling up in North America and around the world represent one of the most significant long-term risks to the global economy”
“the growing income inequity in our society has lead to an unhealthy and unsustainable chasm between different income levels”

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

#22 cultural elitist on 12.23.17 at 5:23 pm

@#14 – Screwed Baby Boomer living in Costa Rica

if luxury condos, penthouses, condo towers, houses, etc were springing up all over Equatorial Guinea at the rate that’s its growing in Canada, the President of Equatorial Guinea would flee from angry rioters and citizens who are being robbed of their fair share of oil wealth.

Exactly. I’m not saying we need a class war, but a general class awareness, class organizations that people identify with, and the occasional protest would help keep the elites from selling out every single aspect of our society. Otherwise, it’s going to be more of the same.

Maybe I should move to Equitorial Guinea? Ummm… where is that exactly? ;-)

#23 Samuel on 12.23.17 at 5:26 pm

When those “less fortunate” vote to take extra money out of my pocket I will be damned to give them a bloody penny. Case in point, a number of years ago I gave approximately $20,000 to a charity. This year, with my taxes increased by approximately $7,000 by the T3 government, my charitable giving will be zero. And I also reduced my tips on my daily restaurant meals. I’m Keeping what is mine and giving away nothing anymore.

#24 Alberta Ed on 12.23.17 at 5:26 pm

Doubt if we’ll see anything except political expediency from the current bunch in Ottawa, especially with our ethically challenged prime minister and finance minister.

#25 Cornelius on 12.23.17 at 5:38 pm

Financial Post had an ad that referred to Vancouver’s “Empty Home Tax”. Clicked on it and came here:
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/empty-homes-tax.aspx?utm_campaign=EHT&utm_medium=Vanity&utm_source=EHT_Vanity

Is this really happening?? Just can’t believe my eyes and my heart hurts. Really, this is the best they could come up with? A punishment for home-owners who don’t rent out their home???

Nothing positive they could do… always has to be negative with these square-headed, tunnel-visioned, narrow-minded and crowd mentality “leaders”.

I am a late bloomer small business owner, renting an apartment in the West End. Happily renting I might add. My housing cost goes up by 3% per year or so. Meanwhile, the cost of buying a home goes up by 10% or more per year and with it the property tax goes up.

(side note: we all know taxes never come down right? will property tax ever come down even if real estate corrects?) **…X-Files music plays in the background…**

Adjusted for inflation the local real estate in Vancouver may be up to 50 years ahead of itself in price. Is it really that desirable to live here that the price will never correct before then?

I patiently earn money and sock it away in the knowledge that economics is a cyclical animal.

However part of me is open to the idea that prices will always be supported here by new generations of locals and foreigners wanting to buy their own home.

It does make more sense to sock money away into the stock market in a diversified portfolio of blue chip dividend stocks. At least stocks are businesses run by management who is in charge of selling actual products.

This is a great blog for a different perspective of financial education.

#26 Samuel on 12.23.17 at 5:40 pm

Guess what Ryan, the more the people that depend on the government, the more they will blame the government with things don’t go well. You are talking out of both sides of your mouth and this is your worst post ever. The debts which are piling up are doing so in the pursuit of fairness and equality. You wish for the latter yet beleaguere the former. I realize everything isn’t black and white but your contradictions are without thought.

#27 Fake News Again on 12.23.17 at 5:44 pm

Unless a whole new type of conservative fiscal “business” type leaders engorge municipal, provincial and federal Govts – we are ALL doomed.

Govt is a parasite on all three levels and its going to get worse. Especially in Canada where 30% of the workforce either works directly or indirectly for the Govt. I would encourage some smart person to explain to us exactly HOW a growing low paid private sector can pay for this cancerous disease called Govt.

Merry “higher taxes to come” Christmas

#28 The Great Gazoo on 12.23.17 at 5:46 pm

#10 and #12 Flop,

Thanks for your contributions. Trend looks to be accelerating.

#29 FOUR FINGERS WATSON on 12.23.17 at 5:53 pm

#8 Blacksheep on 12.23.17 at 4:16 pm
Positive message Ryan, thanks.

Lets start with some fantastical thinking:
………………..

Maybe we could try a real democracy where elected representatives actually represent their constituents. Would not be so hard these days, everyone has access to a cell phone, computer, and internet. We don’t live in the horse and buggy days any more where we communicate via courier or smoke signals.

#30 Nick on 12.23.17 at 5:54 pm

Politicians just kick the can down the road because it’s in their best self interest

#31 jess on 12.23.17 at 6:06 pm

“I think that whistleblowing is not something you can learn,” he told OCCRP. “Most people get only one opportunity in a lifetime to reveal some serious infringement. Either they step back from it or they become known, and then only fair employers are interested in hiring them,” he said.

His advice to those who find themselves facing the dilemma is to do what he did.

“Do not allow bad things to happen,” he said.

“The problem of the world is not the power of the evil but the weakness of the good.”

https://www.occrp.org/en/victimsofcorruption/tempted-to-steal-be-afraid-of-libor-michalek

=================================
calling out the liars
https://twitter.com/jornverbeek/status/944153289922371586

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/03/geert-wilders-freedomcenters/

#32 S.Bby on 12.23.17 at 6:06 pm

We really need higher interest rates now. Governments are temped by low rates just like a regular consumer and they will spend like drunken sailors. As long as CBs continue to drag their collective feet in raising rates, the deficits and our debts will continue to grow. We should be at least 5% higher than where we are now.

#33 WhatIsInItForMe? on 12.23.17 at 6:07 pm

Nicely said Ryan.

I owe others more than they owe me – so I am very appreciative and thankful for the friends and family I have. As I have gotten older, there are some things that I am thankful for from my little corner of the world – and although they may seem small they seem larger to me. These things provide a glimmer of hope to me, that things can change for the better, that justice does occur sometimes. Some of them are:

– people such as Garth and you, willing to put yourself out there, offering info and trying to help people. Thanks.
– people that genuinely try to help people in our health-care system. My mom has a long road ahead of her battling cancer and the system does not always seem to be helping, but some people in the system are trying their best to help. Thanks to those people.
– people trying to change flawed systems or even challenging flawed systems, even though it seems too daunting and overwhelming. Thanks to those people.
– my wife and I joined a small church last year, it is a poor and struggling church, and many of the members are seniors. These seniors are inspirational in their community work, outreach efforts, community suppers, fund-raising, support for each other …. etc. Despite serious health issues, disappointments, a diminishing roster; they carry on, often without accolades. Thanks to those people.
– to my work colleagues who refrain from the pettiness and bad behavior that permeates many large organizations. I admire their resolve not to fall prey to this ‘game’, even though they may be pawns and penalized in the ‘game’. I enjoy that some ‘resistors’ like this still exist – easier for me to stay a while longer. Thanks.
– for people who have positive and progressive ideas to offer – whether it is Elon Musk, Bernie Sanders, Bill Gates- or whoever, I am glad they are willing to share. Thanks.
– for those people who remain polite and maintain grace under fire, especially those that deal with the public – thanks. Even though it may not seem like it, it does make a difference.
– countries that seem to care for all citizens and seem to make decisions to aid all. No country is perfect – but Denmark and their pensions, Finland and their education, Norway and their finances … they seem to make decisions to benefit all; an example for other countries like Canada. Thanks for showing what is possible.

I guess I am getting old and sentimental, but these are some things that come to mind recently, things that are small but make a difference to me and many others. Again, thanks.

Scrooge

#34 FOUR FINGERS WATSON on 12.23.17 at 6:12 pm

#8 Blacksheep on 12.23.17 at 4:16 pm
Positive message Ryan, thanks.

Lets start with some fantastical thinking:
…………………………..

……….Or, any party who forms a government must do so with more than 50% of the popular vote. Not a 39% “majority”. We could have runoff elections or coalitions to achieve real representative governments.

#35 BS on 12.23.17 at 6:16 pm

All too often we see politicians make short-term, politically expedient decisions that are more about winning political points and votes, rather than what’s good for the people they represent. A great example of this is what we just saw with the passage of the US tax reform plan.

Actually that is bad example. This is mostly a corporate tax cut. In fact corporate tax cuts are never popular with voters and this one is no different. The US tax cuts are an example of a politician doing what it takes to boost the economy above the pathetic 2% GDP growth of the 8 year Obama era. How did the Obama era of tax increases work out for US debt? We have the best first year presidential stock market return in modern history, GDP growth above 3% for the first time in nearly 10 years, unemployment at 20 year lows, ISIS all but defeated, interest rates finally starting to normalize, illegal border crossings down by over 50%, US energy booming and next year looks to be even better. It is going to get tougher and tougher for the Trump haters.

#36 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.23.17 at 6:22 pm

@#6 jamtart underwear

You’re an idiot.

#37 Waldguy on 12.23.17 at 6:25 pm

I HATE the fact that politicians kick the debt can down the road and endanger the well-being of my children and grandchildren. We live in prosperous times and they borrow from the future. Dangerous idiots.

Good post. Limit the spending, tax reasonably, and set the course with a twenty year horizon in mind. If only a democracy could do it.

#38 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.23.17 at 6:27 pm

Tis the season for hoping Ryan.

Perhaps the ultimate way of focusing Canadian politicians attention beyond their own navels and pension plans is to abolish lobbying completely.
Get those vote buyers out of the political system AND bring in two consecutive term maximum mandates.
Pm’s, MP’s, MLA’s, Aldermen, etc.
Two terms max.
If you need more than two terms to get your “election promise” delivered you’re either an idiot like Jamtart OR incompetant.
Either way.
Leave.

Merry Christmas Dogs……another year almost done.

#39 Jungle on 12.23.17 at 6:39 pm

You even made the Scrooges here cry, Garth say sorry and forever greatful for we have.

#40 Newcomer on 12.23.17 at 6:47 pm

#23 Samuel on 12.23.17 at 5:26 pm
… I’m Keeping what is mine and giving away nothing anymore.
——-

This will make you very unhappy.

#41 acdel on 12.23.17 at 6:51 pm

Good post Ryan,

Merry Christmas and or Happy Holidays to all of you!

#42 Dolce Vita on 12.23.17 at 6:58 pm

Trump tears up NAFTA by mid-year. Cdn. economy in a tailspin by end of 2018, Cdn. contribution in duties helps pay for US Tax Cuts.

B20, more Govt. intervention like Speculator Taxes, Developer Assignment info. forced to share with Revenue Canada, Foreign Owner Registry, etc., RE crashes before April-May peak and continues to do so for the balance of 2018.

Flop makes 50 Pink Snow posts per day, all of them different and HUGE $ value drops, even with Condos.

Garth can finally say “I told you so”.

If anything, 2018 will be a mess. There is no good economic news out there. Too many Cdns. hanging by a thread financially.

#43 Newcomer on 12.23.17 at 7:00 pm

#25 Cornelius on 12.23.17 at 5:38 pm
—-

Property taxes are tied to the RELATIVE value of your home, not the absolute value. Imagine you and I both own the only houses in town, which are both worth $100, and we both pay a dollar a year in tax. If both of our houses increase in value to $200, we will both still pay $1/year. But if your house goes up to $200 while mine stays at $100, you will pay $1.50 while I only pay 75 cents.

In short, the general increase in property values does not, in itself, result in higher property taxes.

#44 not so liquid in calgary on 12.23.17 at 7:15 pm

@ #19 Nonplused

yes, 100 years of OILsands with today’s technology. but that only represents 10% of what is in the ground – ergo, as the tech gets better, there is ANOTHER 900 years of reserve, at current extraction rates.

#45 Newcomer on 12.23.17 at 7:16 pm

#25 Cornelius on 12.23.17 at 5:38 pm
—-
Sorry, I should have said you will pay $1.33 while I pay 66 cents. The total stays at two dollars.

#46 not so liquid in calgary on 12.23.17 at 7:22 pm

@ #19 Nonplused

oh yeah, and estimates are that Alberta alone contains 500 Trillion cubic feet of coal bed methane

#47 Jo on 12.23.17 at 7:29 pm

What a great post Ryan, as always thank-you. All the best to you, Garth and Doug, you guys are the best, I really appreciate all the free advice.
A big thank-you to Flop also, I always make sure I read your posts.

#48 millmech on 12.23.17 at 7:34 pm

I do not think that taking from the rich and giving to the poor will make a difference at all.
Just look at the savings rates of Canadians, it is around 3% and a generation ago it was about 20%,when you give people money they just spend it(how many people are banking up the child tax benefit,most people I know spend it as soon as they get it)
Unfortunately people are poor because they have poor habits, I meet a lot of people who complain about being poor but go out for dinners a couple times a week, drink, smoke both cigarettes and weed, carry a high balance on credit cards. Trying to suggest that they cut back on consumption, be responsible is like pissing in the wind, will not happen.
The only time the people I know who live pay day to pay day invest now is in bitcoin and other get rich quick schemes like lottery tickets.
Live below your means, by paying yourself first and investing the difference is the slow and gradual way to wealth, works every time, but it takes time!

#49 Adam on 12.23.17 at 7:38 pm

Nice income equality chart, and yet “people” still complain about the fact they are in the top 5% and they pay “too much” tax – perhaps they also make too much. The bottom third of society can’t afford to live and pay tax because the top part took all their extra earnings and now should pay tax on behalf of the bottom third.

You can’t have it both ways, don’t complain that you pay way more than everybody else if you also make way more.

#50 Where's The Money Guido? on 12.23.17 at 7:49 pm

#90 Where’s The Money Guido? on 12.23.17 at 5:28 am

On another note, I got a PC Card renewal in the mail this week with a new number. A card I never asked for. I phoned and asked the CSR why, and she told me that there was a “compromise” somewhere where I used it.
Was one of Loblaws companies hacked and they’re trying to hide it, or is my spidey sense completely wrong? Especially since they’re combining their points with Shoppers Drug Mart points.
I have spoken with others who have a problem with the details of PC Plus points at their site also.
Supposedly getting a phone call tomorrow. Will update.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Got the call today from PC Financial and they’re saying there is a compromise in the present card, which they won’t say, but squeezed out of them the request originated from MasterCard, not PC MasterCard.
How many blog dogs, if they have a PC MasterCard, Simpli Card or MasterCard have gotten a new card with a new number lately. The PC points program currently has about 11 million members. Shoppers Optimum, meanwhile, counts 8 million members.
So maybe PC companies got hacked or something nefarious is happening inside Loblaws.
Oooohhh, it’s getting ve-e-er-r-ry interesting.
The PC Plus points program, the bread price fixing collusion (denied by the other stores), the paltry attempt at capitulation with the $25 token gift certificate only to be spent at their stores, the related $1 billion class action lawsuit, has to be affecting their Shoppers points merger.
I wouldn’t be buying either Loblaws or Shoppers stock right now…..
Maybe a short? Not daring enough to play that game.

#51 Where's The Money Guido? on 12.23.17 at 7:51 pm

#90 Where’s The Money Guido? on 12.23.17 at 5:28 am
Forgot some links:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/loblaw-shoppers-optimum-pc-plus-loyalty-programs-1.4392494
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/why-points-just-aren-t-so-rewarding-don-pittis-1.3035628

#52 Entrepreneur on 12.23.17 at 7:52 pm

Good blog “All I want” RL

“see our politicians put us ahead…To remember they work and represent their constituents…”

On the news yesterday heard the Mayor Bong Edding said he blames logging and on the internet “He blames years of logging in the mountains for the tragedy, adding that he and other officials would move to halt the logging operations.” But, but Canada and the U.S. have flash flooding too. Any halt on the logging? Todays news no mention of Mayor Edding logging blame and halt. Are we being manipulated and ignored, again?

As for the anxiety-debt that might be made by Trump like Bush, an entrepreneur move for the people of his country, to get that jingling sound. So people can have dreams again, aspirations return.

And here in Canada has T2 paying off groups with debt, here and mostly for other countries. And Canada is getting sued from these trade deals. Also, T2 and BM both have no understanding how important small businesses are to an country with borders.

As for “put aside our political religious and social-economic differences” above article. Does this mean Christians are allowed to say “Merry Christmas” or to be political correct “Happy Holiday?”

I say “Merry Christmas” and to everyone on this fantastic blog, bags full of knowledge, ideas, and finances.

#53 Jeff Kowalsky on 12.23.17 at 8:07 pm

#6 Jamarcus Duware on 12.23.17 at 4:03 pm

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well

#54 Ardy on 12.23.17 at 8:09 pm

Ryan, God bless and Merry Christmas to your family (both your home and office family).

I appreciate the message but politely disagree.

The world’s problems run deeper than the stated Hallmark sentiments. The world is full of sheep. Ignorant, entitled, irresponsible, un-spayed or un-neutered sheep. The shepherds are not to blame. What else are they to do.

I’m not one to say who should buy a house, who should have children, who should get a ‘ more often than not -useless arts degree. There’s common sense for that. Most people don’t use it. The art of critical thinking has disappeared.

There is a reason the rich are rich and poor are poor. There is a reason world hunger isn’t solved and we see the same sad World Vision ads or some other ad of the same flavor every year, year after year.

If you are not smart enough, don’t stack a mountain of debt that you will take a lifetime to pay back only to get a worthless degree that gets you a job at a coffee shop. Don’t get married or buy a house neither of which you can support while slinging coffee. Don’t have kids that you can’t teach valuable life lessons because you are pissed that you have to sling coffee for a living, or are too tired for at the end of the day. Don’t buy bullshit things with your earnings, at least not all of it, nor go into debt for your pointless consumption.

The cycle needs to break. Similar to the market trends, the world needs a correction. Alas I feel we are way past due. When that world debt hammer falls I want you to think of what the poor are going to go through. The aid they receive will be first to dry up. Can any one fathom the human suffering. And don’t be fooled that we won’t see that in Canada. How many of your friend and family are living, or barely living paycheck to paycheck.

The shepherds are good at marketing. Look at any channel. The art of critical thinking is to look through it.

Game of thrones, TMZ, CP24, etc., is making us dumber. Look at your partner, your parents, your children, your closest friends(the 3-5 that really count and only matter). Spend your time and your life with them. Give of your self, not of your wealth. Your money will not solve world hunger, nor will your toy drive donation solve child poverty.

Break the cycle. See through the marketing of consumerism, of politics, of fake news, of human indecency, of false religious figures and ancient ideologies. Be good and do good. Save for a rainy day. Raise decent young sons and daughters provided you and support them and give them a leg up or head start.

God bless.

RD (p.s. for the haters, I am Roman Catholic, 36, married, 2 kids, 3 really good friends, 0 acquaintances, nearly own my home, have rich parents but didn’t get a dime nor ever ask for a handout, paid my way through school working a minimum wage job, don’t own designer anything, drive a 10 year old car, and am slightly overweight- plan to drop the weight and destroy the mortgage by end of 2018)

#55 Pepito on 12.23.17 at 8:13 pm

I thought this was a social justice blog only for when Garth feels compelled to whine about legislative injustice towards the wealthy.

#56 Mark on 12.23.17 at 8:13 pm

“And we’re seeing the same thing here in Canada, with the Federal Liberals significantly ramping up spending, and deficits projected as far as the eye can see.”

Actually we’re not seeing anything of the sort. There was an article out the other day indicating that Liberal spending had come in significantly under target. Deficits are shrinking, and the Liberals are well on their way to having us back into a surplus after many years of Harper deficits (average deficit under Harper was close to $30B/year adjusted for inflation, including close to $20B in his final year!). Social spending has been expanded in certain key areas which provide some pretty significant ROI in the economy, meaning that the extra spending often is paying for itself.

Canada is a model of relative fiscal prudence compared to the United States. Canada’s national debt just shy of $700B is, on a per capita basis, minimal compared to the US national debt in excess of $20T. Pension liabilities of provincial and municipal governments are generally believed to be manageable compared to the nightmare of the US municipal sector and state government finances.

To top it all off, Canada achieved this while having many secular headwinds against the Canadian economy, such as falling interest rates, falling real commodity prices, and a not-so-hot stock market over the past 35 years. The US, in comparison, has piled on the debt despite those factors being tailwinds. One must be fearful of how well the US will perform when those factors become severe headwinds in the future, ie: rising rates, rising real commodity prices, and a weak US stock market.

As for Trump, while I was certainly enthusiastic about his election, he is increasingly proving to be a swamp creature himself instead of being a cause for change. The same tax cutting regime was tried, with failure, under George W Bush. And many promised reforms, such as that to abusive immigration practices in the labour market, appear to be pretty much dead at this point. The lobbyists for the tech industry claiming victory while the US STEM sector remains in shambles.

#57 VicPaul on 12.23.17 at 8:18 pm

Say, where can I get a pair of these “fancy pants”‘ you speak of? Would they sell them to just anyone, or must you have a star on your belly?

#58 Bottoms_Up on 12.23.17 at 8:36 pm

deficits, amen. Agreed that politicians need to be making choices on behalf of the people. Tackling the debt is much like taking measures to combat global warming…we know there are huge future consequences but it’s hardly palatable to do so…

#59 Where's The Money Guido? on 12.23.17 at 8:56 pm

Re:#38 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.23.17 at 6:27 pm
Tis the season for hoping Ryan.

Perhaps the ultimate way of focusing Canadian politicians attention beyond their own navels and pension plans is to abolish lobbying completely.
Get those vote buyers out of the political system AND bring in two consecutive term maximum mandates.
Pm’s, MP’s, MLA’s, Aldermen, etc.
Two terms max.
If you need more than two terms to get your “election promise” delivered you’re either an idiot like Jamtart OR incompetant.
Either way.
Leave.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Also no stacking of gold plated pensions.
How many of those politicians have doubled-trebled up on the civic-provincial-federal pensions, then jumped to one of those companies that lobbied him/her to a cushy post pushing wine down their gullet after pick pocketing the taxpayers. Should be a max level of taxpayer paid pension collected no matter how many levels of gov’t you acquire in life.
Just take a look when BC allowed IPPs how many BC Liberal insiders took posts with them.

#60 Ryan Lewenza on 12.23.17 at 9:02 pm

Newcomer “Well said, Ryan. So how do we lower income inequality?”

There are broad things you can do across different countries but then specific things unique to each country. For example, having a progressive tax structure helps but this ranges from country to country. In the US the top marginal tax rate was 39.6% (just lowered to 37% which doesn’t help) versus 54% in Canada. I’m always of the view anything over 50% is a bad idea since it provides a disincentive to work more and earn more income. So I don’t think raising our marginal tax rate any higher is a good idea but given the lower rate in the US that could have been a solution. Beyond income tax rates there is tax rates on investment (ie dividends and capital gains), corporations and small businesses. As an investor I don’t want the government to increase the capital gains inclusion rate but dividends could be a consideration. Other things include retraining workers so they have the proper skills for new higher paying jobs, a focus on education and making it accessible (often not for the poor in the US), increasing the minimum wage, making changes to the justice system which is biased against the poor and minorities (particularly in US), and improve safety net programs. Not one thing will solve the problem and it won’t be fixed overnight. – Ryan L

#61 Ryan Lewenza on 12.23.17 at 9:11 pm

Former Fool “I’ve always wanted to ask you this question: are there situations where you, Doug, and Garth would consider shifting the model portfolio from a 60/40 split to say an 80/20 or 90/10 split? I am roughly 60/40 right now, but in the back of my mind I tell myself that I’d go 80/20 if we have a repeat of 2008-2009, as a means to enhance returns. Is there any merit to such an approach?”

Philosophically we’re very committed to the 60/40 asset mix. That’s what we call the “strategic” or long-term asset mix that we adhere to. However, there are times when we may make a “tactical” change to the asset mix, lowering it if we saw danger coming or possibly increase it a bit (no more than 70%) if we were really bullish. As far as timing goes, I always tell people that the time to increase the asset mix to 70/30 or higher is during a bear market. I would not advise that now as we enter the ninth year of this bull market. – Ryan L

#62 For those about to flop... on 12.23.17 at 9:14 pm

CONFIRMED PINK SNOW.

The numbers for this condo probably look pretty innocent at first glance ,but as I have showed before when you get the heady heights that Vancouver real estate finds itself at then the expenses can be astronomical.

The details…

Paid 2.85 September 2016

Sold 2.85 December 2017

Actually Sold on September 30.

And so if you look at the assessment the money was made by the previous owners and these guys just blew a 215k hole in their underwear…

M43BC

3201 1331 Alberni Street, Vancouver paid 2.85 ass 1.89 asking 3.18

Aug 3:$3,688,000
Aug 23: $3,388,000
Change: – 300000.00 -8%

https://www.bcassessment.ca/Property/Info/QTAwMDAwM1BSQw==

https://www.zolo.ca/vancouver-real-estate/1331-alberni-street/3201

#63 Cornelius on 12.23.17 at 9:18 pm

#45 Newcomer on 12.23.17 at 7:16 pm

Thanks for informing me about property taxes. I am the proverbial ‘dumb guy’ in the room.

I also learned today that property taxes are insignificant compared to income taxes..

“Property taxes make up a relatively small component of the tax bills of most Canadian families. On average, homeowners paid 2.9% of their family income for property taxes in 1998, compared with 21.3% in income taxes.”

Source: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-001-x/00703/6578-eng.html

#64 Loonie Doctor on 12.23.17 at 9:24 pm

One thing I think of when I think about income growth over time is what it actually buys. I am not talking about inflation here or what it buys relative to what wealthy people have. I am talking what it actually buys.

For example, I grew up in a middle class family. We had a crappy low resolution colour TV, one car that we drove forever, a phone attached to the wall of our house with which we could talk to family very briefly on because long distance was prohibitively expensive. We were really excited when late in highschool we got an electric typewriter. Tropical vacations were an exotic thing for the rich. We went to Disney once in my early teens – it was a very big deal. We were very happy with what we had and felt fortunate.

While incomes of the middle class today may not have grown as much as the wealthy, when I look at what my middle class friends typically have (most of my friends are solidly middle class), there are computers in every home, nice TVs, we can talk long distance all we want even from a campsite on a cell phone, two cars is the norm, and many go on a vacation somewhere warm in the winter at least once every few years. Our quality of life in terms of what we can purchase with what we have is way more than it used to be. It isn’t trips to the Aga Khan’s private island, but if we compare ourselves to what others have, we will never be satisfied. There will always be people who have more whether by luck, better decisions, or working harder. That is life.

For perspective on the other end, 900 million people in the world don’t have access to safe drinking water, 1 billion don’t have electricity. We all have first world problems whether we compare ourselves to North Americans 50 years ago or people elsewhere today.

#65 Soviet Capitalist on 12.23.17 at 10:00 pm

Do we need the legislative branch at all? Should we revisit the democratic process in Canada?
Coordinating how the direct democratic decisions are being made used to be next to impossible in the era of horse buggies. So indirect democracy made sense to some extent: people would elect delegates that would congregate to make decisions on the behalf of the entire society. The idea appeared to make sense, except that not all of the delegates proved to be honest or have the guts to do the right thing. Many of them found that they can sell their votes and make a good living out of it.
But don’t we have internet today? It would not be that hard to post proposed laws on a website and let each individual make a choice.
Switzerland is doing something along those lines and it doesn’t seem to be too bad.

#66 Keith on 12.23.17 at 10:04 pm

Income inequality takes off in the seventies, right around the beginning of the decline of unions, the demise of the company pension plan, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the explosion of government debt and deficit.

You may hate unions. If so, I get why you do. You have to make choices. If you want a widely prosperous, civilized society, you probably can’t do it with low wages and low taxes while providing the government services that the majority of people demand. Something has to give.

It’s not about taxing “the rich” to give handouts to other people. It’s about what we are losing – a broadly based working and professional middle class earning a living wage as a base with job security, a real pension, and a place in civilized society. Kind of like it was in 1975.

#67 protea on 12.23.17 at 10:06 pm

@#6 jamtart underwear
you must be high on the weed you waste of space go and dig yourself a big hole and dissappear retard.
Thanks Ryan agree with you on many points you brought forward.
Wishing you and all the sane people on this blog a comforting Xmas and New year!! May 2018 bring you all the health, joys and peace we all deserve.

#68 acdel on 12.23.17 at 10:59 pm

#64 Loonie Doctor

Yep, you get it! Good post!

Let us all enjoy the Holiday Season; although it may be difficult for some, we can always find a meal through the good Canadian spirit of helping!

Others out there in the world could only wish on what we have put together due to us just being us; minus the fricken politicians and there buddies that !!!!!!!

#69 Big Daddy on 12.23.17 at 11:04 pm

DELETED

#70 NoName on 12.23.17 at 11:46 pm

I’d like someone to demystify me why some gods are tax deductible and other arent?

#71 Linda on 12.23.17 at 11:51 pm

An excellent post, Ryan. Here is hoping 2018 will see it beginning to happen.

I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the debt thing. If pretty much every country & most of the citizens within them have more debt than assets, then who or what holds the promise of repayment? Someone or some institution must be owed all that money, yet the amounts owed are so vast I can’t see how anyone or any institution could manage it. So is the debt real or is it virtual? And if a country declares bankruptcy, does the debt owed by that country reset to zero?

#72 IHCTD9 on 12.24.17 at 1:16 am

#54 Ardy on 12.23.17 at 8:09 pm

———-

That’s a great post Ardy, two thumbs up!

When I survey the Western World, I see a spiritual battlefield. If you watch carefully, you can see the seeds of division and hate being planted everywhere.

IMHO, we all need to steel our hearts and minds against the foe. Don’t be moulded like clay, understand what is really happening to society and where it’s coming from. Do not capitulate. Keep your head about you, control your emotions, focus on the job at hand.

IMHO, these are the days to keep a death grip on what you already know is most important. Way too many are so easily distracted and led astray. Weakness and apathy have thinned once heavy shields, things aren’t looking too good.

#73 Smoking Man on 12.24.17 at 1:22 am

New Book title in 5 words.

“Decadence and Depravity in LA.”

#74 IHCTD9 on 12.24.17 at 1:41 am

#56 Mark on 12.23.17 at 8:13 pm
“And we’re seeing the same thing here in Canada, with the Federal Liberals significantly ramping up spending, and deficits projected as far as the eye can see.”

Actually we’re not seeing anything of the sort

————

Actually, we are seeing everything of the sort.

Harper had the deficit down to 941 million before Canadians booted him out the door in 2015.

Since then, Trudeau has the deficit running ~20 BILLION.

Every year.

#75 Smoking Man on 12.24.17 at 1:56 am

Three more days before I go back to the Tax farm.

I need to admit I’ve been fairly sober lately getting paid huge loot to practice my hobby of VBA. Love it. I’m the best in the world. But the code of conduct doc I signed is killing me.

I’ve been reading the comments section from a sober perspective, then I dive deep into an empty bottle and here I am aging with the truth.

None of us are that smart, we are all idiots, ping pong balls getting slammed to the right and left side of the table from the guys who own the ping pong paddles. What we say is a reflection of what side of the table is less scary.

The ping pong ball is never going to win, might as well take a few notes along the way and share them while getting bashed back and forth for the ultimate prize of this game, total control of your mind.

If you stay drunk long enough, no one can own you.

But you will starve to death. The dilemma that haunts me every day. What to do.

Dr. Smoking Man
Ph.D., Herdonomics.

#76 Steuy on 12.24.17 at 2:25 am

Politicians don’t care when it comes to spending the public’s coin. Just look at two of the spending choices recently; $212000 on a fancy cover for the 2017 budget report that was to represent what a typical middle class person looks like. The report cost million’s to produce. It is a glorified door stop that no ordinary citizen will ever take the time to read. Another example was the cost of Justin’s vacation last Christmas. It cost Canada $215000. Wow! Wouldn’t we all love to spend that much money on a weeks trip to the Bahamas.
We live in a country that is blessed with so much. Why is it that hard working people are left to pay for the excesses of the few? Democracy deserve better.

#77 JR on 12.24.17 at 2:41 am

Banks, the institution and mainstream media hate bitcoin. It’s a threat. JP Morgan calls it s fraud well buying it behind the scenes and now opening a trading office for it. Media articles always quoting Bank CEOs and economists who are expired dinasours who just don’t get it. Watch this interview and make up your own opinion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuoE5CXlIdY

People need to know there are hundreds of other cryptocurrency chains all with different use cases. Some will be very successful. https://coinmarketcap.com

Bonus: exciting 2018 projects that can make you lots of $$ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYPZ76PukmA&feature=youtu.be

Disclosure I own all types of Cryptocurrency.

#78 jane24 on 12.24.17 at 3:42 am

Just spoken to my son in Hanoi where he works. He said that the flat above him has become an unregulated bitcoin mining operation. I think that says it all fellow bloggers. if you get heavily involved in web currencies then these are the kind of firms and people you are dealing with.

Merry Christmas

#79 Adrian on 12.24.17 at 6:04 am

Firstly, thank you to everyone on this site who has compassion for “the other.” A bit of my faith in humanity is restored every time I read your posts. Thank you!

Secondly, to everyone willing to mention class structure – and unions as a critical institution for countering inequality – YES! You give me hope that awareness is returning & this fight may not be entirely lost, after all. Thank you!

Finally, I’m sorry to repeat myself again, but I promised Garth…

” massive debts piling up in North America and around the world represent one of the most significant long-term risks to the global economy”

Sovereign debts don’t matter for the health of a national economy nearly as much as trade deficits and private debt. Any government that owns its own central bank can always finance its deficits without depending on the bond vigilantes’ mercy.

And in case you’re worried about inflation, that depends on growth. Milton Friedman’s equation is YP = MV, where

Y is total output of goods & services
P is the price level
M is the amount of money in circulation
V is the velocity of the circulating money

As written, this equation is incomplete, but even here it’s obvious that inflation only occurs if money circulation grows faster than output.

The missing term I mentioned is “dD/dt”, which is the “change in debt” (also called “credit” in Prof. Steve Keen’s parlance and measured in “$/year”). So the equation should read:

YP = MV + dD/dt

In other words, a normally functioning capitalist economy includes a growing level of debt. The USA only had two periods in the last 100 years where private credit turned negative: the Great Depression & the Global Financial Crisis. That should be an indication of how important debt is for a functional capitalism.

Ideally, this debt is used for investment in production, so that ‘Y’ grows over time as well. (Here is the fundamental misallocation of wealth created by a debt-fueled real estate bubble: does it increase output capacity? Not really…) Since ‘M’ basically *is* the outstanding stock of debt ‘D’ (i.e. almost all money in circulation is created as debt, either public or private), what really matters for inflation is how quickly debt grows relative to output growth.

The price level ‘P’ increases (i.e. inflation) when debt grows *too quickly* relative to output growth. (One other way is trade deficits, which can easily devalue a currency and create import inflation… unless you issue the world’s reserve currency, $US, during a period of globalizing markets.) And when *private* debt-to-GDP gets too high & eventually turns negative – most countries never exceed ~200% – government deficits become the only thing preventing a self-reinforcing deflationary depression with mass unemployment, falling wages, and waves of personal & corporate bankruptcy that also bring down the banks.

Furthermore – & contrary to libertarian beliefs – basically every actor in the economy *is* trying to accumulate a growing stock of money (i.e. ‘savings’) and not just ‘assets’ generally, though that too. (Consider, for example, if ‘cash’ is 5% of your portfolio and your portfolio grows, what happens to your stock of cash? Exactly.) Since saving reduces your expenditure – and the next person’s income, and therefore also total demand in the economy, since income IS expenditure at the national level – then government deficits allow you & me to save without damaging the economy via the ‘paradox of thrift.’

Also, commercial bank-created money comes with debt attached to it, so the financialization of the economy drives non-bank balance sheets underwater. This means the only way to let the private sector accumulate money without creating a private debt-crisis is for sovereign governments to run deficits.

“How Austerity Works”
https://youtu.be/0y5rP56OX78

“the growing income inequity in our society has lead to an unhealthy and unsustainable chasm between different income levels”

Agreed. It used to be that the wealthy and poor shared the same spaces, where they saw & were seen by each other. Not so much anymore. Democracy can only really function if we are able to understand one another enough to find mutually agreeable compromises, or else it degenerates into divisive partisanship and power-mongering.

Yet, mutual understanding comes as much from shared experience as from shared values (e.g. consider the concept of a ‘generation’). So how can the classes understand one another when we inhabit completely different worlds? Perhaps we all need to share some time & space with “the other” again…

(Sorry if this is a duplicate. My browser crapped out on me when I hit ‘Submit’.)

#80 Howard Beale on 12.24.17 at 7:39 am

Ryan, props for your best post of the year. I assume your balanced perspective was influenced by your left wing uncle and your right wing boss. I have one small quibble though, followed by a lengthy, pointless rant. Mentioning Trump in the same sentence as a man with scruples is just plain wrong.

I am willing to suspend reality for a moment and assume that Donald Trump is not really the man that acts, speaks, or writes in his place. The National Post has just published an apologist rant by Rex Murphy, which follows on the heels of Conrad Black’s leg humping a few weeks back, and I’m mad as hell.

A certain degree of media bias is normal. It is in our nature. A Free Press is free because it can choose what to publish. Tin hats aside, news that isn’t published probably isn’t worth knowing. What is unacceptable is pretending that almost all of the other news media in the world have it wrong.

We live in an era where even the smallest transgression of a sexual nature is vilified in the media (or daring to suggest something might be askew – see Matt Damon), but the biggest bully on the world stage in recent memory is being spun into something tolerable or even acceptable.

Obviously, newspapers need more than ads to fill the white space, and we always appreciate a scapegoat to carry the burden of our sins (Lev. 16). But couldn’t they at least try to provide a balanced perspective before something goes terribly wrong.

Just another angry prophet denouncing the hypocrisies of our times.

Have a Hygge Xmas

#81 dharma bum on 12.24.17 at 9:21 am

Hey Ryan,

A very appropriate topic and post for the holidays. It really reads like a warm and fuzzy Christmas wish list.

We can all continue to hope for these things to materialize. Peace and Love. Fairness. Reasonableness.
Governments that think beyond re-election.
I wish I was good looking, too.
Hah!

The self-interested, thieving, criminal government we are cursed with will continue in one form or another.
Trudeau and his ignorance and arrogance will eventually disappear, only to be replaced by some other mentally twisted evil freak.

It only gets worse, and then we die.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal, and a Happy New Year!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9LJ4IrsQoI

#82 Herb on 12.24.17 at 9:29 am

Ryan, some comments on your post –

1. Politicians. It would be nice if they acted objectively, solely for the common good of the electorate, but subjective considerations (such as re-election prospects) prevail once elected. You cannot guarantee or change the behaviour of sitting politicians. All you can do is replace them periodically.

2. Income inequality. Always good for breeding violent or electoral revolt.

In 2016, the year of both Brexit and Trump, two pieces of data, dutifully neglected by the shrewdest of establishment analysts, told the story. In the United States, more than half of American families did not qualify, according to Federal Reserve data, to take out a loan that would allow them to buy the cheapest car for sale (the Nissan Versa sedan, priced at $12,825). Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, over 40% of families relied on either credit or food banks to feed themselves and cover basic needs.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/class-warfare-fuels-trump-and-brexit-by-yanis-varoufakis-2017-12

3. Terrorism. It’s been around since the Old Testament and was not discovered by on 9/11. It is nothing but the continuation of war by other means if the means for open warfare are not available: “A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.” – William Blum, Rogue State (2005), p. 123 )

#83 Space dust surfer on 12.24.17 at 9:36 am

75 Smoking Man on 12.24.17 at 1:56 am
Three more days before I go back to the Tax farm.

I need to admit I’ve been fairly sober lately getting paid huge loot to practice my hobby of VBA. Love it. I’m the best in the world. But the code of conduct doc I signed is killing me.

I’ve been reading the comments section from a sober perspective, then I dive deep into an empty bottle and here I am aging with the truth.

None of us are that smart, we are all idiots, ping pong balls getting slammed to the right and left side of the table from the guys who own the ping pong paddles. What we say is a reflection of what side of the table is less scary.

The ping pong ball is never going to win, might as well take a few notes along the way and share them while getting bashed back and forth for the ultimate prize of this game, total control of your mind.

If you stay drunk long enough, no one can own you.

But you will starve to death. The dilemma that haunts me every day. What to do.

Dr. Smoking Man
Ph.D., Herdonomics
..
Learn to surf dude… ride the wave

#84 dharma bum on 12.24.17 at 9:43 am

@ #54 Ardy

That was a really good post. Right on the money. Well done.

One more thing to add to your 2018 resolutions, in addition to weight loss and becoming mortgage free:
Atheism.

Then, you will be PERFECT.

#85 Ryan Lewenza on 12.24.17 at 10:02 am

Howard Beale “Ryan, props for your best post of the year. I assume your balanced perspective was influenced by your left wing uncle and your right wing boss.”

First thanks for your nice feedback. In an earlier comment they advised me to lock myself in a room and cry. Even on the heels of Christmas, some people cannot put aside their cynicism for a minute. How sad. But yes I’m influenced by both the right and the left on the issues, trying to always strike a balanced view (interestingly both in politics and investments). It’s actually not even about the left or right. It’s about being rationale, open minded, willing to learn and adjust and above all, not being dogmatic. – Ryan L

#86 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.24.17 at 10:02 am

@#65 Soviet Capitalist
While I agree that our current political system is an anachronism I’m not sure “rule by referendum” is the answer.
Especially with the swirling, paranoid, wild west rumourmill that is the internet.
Imagine the amount of money spent by powerful (lobbyist) groups to sway the busy (or ignorant) masses. Millions? Billions?
The same voters that are too busy to bother with the boring issues of the day to day business of govt.
Its not just Americans that have a monopoly on political stupidity.
Dont believe me?
Ask the average person what 3 main political parties there are in Canada.
I dare say a large majority would be hard pressed to do that simple task.
Perhaps private ballots for most votes?
Instead of the annoying charade that passes for “voting” in parliament? With the Party Whip ready to banish any dissenters from the Party to the will of the few in power?
Methinks there would be a lot more Laws passed that were more in line with what “Joe Average” voter desires than the endless, expensive pandering to Lobbyist “donars” that lead govt around by the nose.

Leaders often have to make unpopular decisions that cant be boiled down to a “yes or no”vote that panders to a popular knee jerk reaction based on populist 15 second catchphrases paid for by Big business or Big labour with their own agendas .
Brexit, the Russian annexation of Crimea, Quebec Separation ( a “yes or no” question massaged into a confusing paragraph of soothing misrepresentation that almost ended Canada as we know it) were all example of votes where people used their “gut instinct” mixed in with anger or hope to vote.

Nah.
Ban ALL Lobbying.
Mandate politicians to two terms max.
Allow free votes on anything that will cost taxpayers over $100 million dollars.
Simple, inexpensive solutions that will do more to clean up politics that anything else.

Rant over

#87 jess on 12.24.17 at 10:11 am

“I do not think that taking from the rich and giving to the poor will make a difference at all.”

#88 jess on 12.24.17 at 10:16 am

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of 2017

To finish 2017 we’ve rounded up the Good, the Bad and the Ugly moments of our year from revealing Shell’s involvement in a massive bribery scheme to highlighting the Trump administration’s attacks on anti-corruption measures.

===============
Find the facts Expose the story Change the system

leaked emails prove $$$ private pockets while 5m face starvation!
https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/good-bad-and-ugly-2017/

jade and the generals
https://vimeo.com/216154506

looters –
the largest corporate bribery trial in history.
“Britain’s commitment to tackling high-end money laundering through the City of London should be under serious scrutiny when a major bank allows an $800m bank transfer from a government account to a convicted criminal. – Simon Taylor, Global
Lanre Suraju of HEDA said, “The exploits of fantastically corrupt politicians would not be possible without international financial institutions collaborating or turning a blind eye. It is vital that they are held to account.”

In an effort to clamp down on human rights abuses and corrupt action, the US has announced sanctions against 52 individuals and entities, including billionaire mining magnate Dan Gertler and 19 entities linked to him.

“In just 6 of the secret deals we investigated involving Dan Gertler the Congolese people lost $1.5bn, equivalent to twice Congo’s annual health and education spend. Congolese families desperately needed that money to pay for the healthcare and schooling of their children.”
The sanctions are welcome. We hope that authorities in the US, Israel, DRC, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands also consider opening criminal investigations into both Dan Gertler and Glencore. Western businessmen have been looting Congo for too long.”
https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/global-witness-reaction-us-sanctions-against-dan-gertler-over-congo-deals/

Global Witness has published reports on Glencore’s ties to Gertler since 2012, expressing concern over potential corruption. We have shown how Glencore funnelled more than half a billion dollars to offshore companies owned by Gertler, which allowed him to make at least US$67 million in risk-free profit. We also revealed how an opaque Glencore company in Bermuda loaned an equally secretive Gertler entity in the British Virgin Islands US$45 million, without revealing the loan publicly.

Now, leaked documents in the Paradise Papers show that Glencore provided this secret loan to Gertler in return for his handling mining negotiations with the Congolese government. The relationship with Gertler goes much further than Glencore has acknowledged in the past, and raises concerns over possible bribery. Last year a New York hedge fund settled with US authorities to the tune of US$412 million over bribery allegations, admitting that its partner in Congo, widely identified as Gertler, had bribed Congolese officials on its behalf.

Glencore has consistently defended its partnership with Gertler, telling Global Witness that its deals with him have been “conducted on arm’s length terms” and are “entirely proper”. It said that its background checks on Gertler were “extensive and thorough”. Gertler’s lawyers said that allegations of bribery are “false and without any basis whatsoever” and rejected any suggestion of wrongdoing.

Dec. 20, 2017
Judge orders biggest corporate bribery trial in history against Shell, Eni, CEO and executives
https://www.globalwitness.org/en/

#89 jess on 12.24.17 at 10:21 am

Guardian to fight legal action over Paradise Papers

Offshore firm at heart of story, Appleby, is seeking damages and has demanded Guardian and BBC hand over documents
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/18/guardian-bbc-legal-action-paradise-papers

#90 Steve French on 12.24.17 at 10:33 am

Hey Smoking Man:

Are you wasted?

cheers

SteveO

#91 Ryan Lewenza on 12.24.17 at 10:36 am

Linda “I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the debt thing. If pretty much every country & most of the citizens within them have more debt than assets, then who or what holds the promise of repayment? Someone or some institution must be owed all that money, yet the amounts owed are so vast I can’t see how anyone or any institution could manage it. So is the debt real or is it virtual? And if a country declares bankruptcy, does the debt owed by that country reset to zero?”

This is a great but complicated question. In the new year I’ll try to write a post on this but I’ll share a few thoughts. First, debt is not a bad thing in and of itself. Debt allows individuals to purchase homes or start a business, it allows companies to grow building new plants and add additional workers, it allows the government to fund major infrastructure projects that can improve productivity and the lives of it’s citizens. But debt works against us when it’s too high and hard to service or backed by up non-productive assets. Who owns the debt is everyone on this planet. Individual savers who own GICs, government bonds, fixed income mutual funds. It’s institutional investors like OMERs, hedge funds, and investment firms that lend and invest in debt securities. It’s governments like China and Japan that hold trillions of US dollar government bonds. So it’s all collective the people and institutions around the world. Finally what happens if a country defaults on it’s debt? Similar to a corporation, the debt holders work with the lender to re-organize the debt, by writing it down (say to 50 cents on the dollar) with new debt being created to replace the old debt but at a lower amount (google Argentina debt default). – Ryan L

#92 maxx on 12.24.17 at 10:47 am

#24 Alberta Ed on 12.23.17 at 5:26 pm

“Doubt if we’ll see anything except political expediency from the current bunch in Ottawa, especially with our ethically challenged prime minister and finance minister.”

Plus que ça change……ptb attitudes have not changed for centuries, from “let them eat cake” to T2’s “let them wear skates”. The universal and greatest barrier between physical well-being and abject misery is money and access to it.

Powdered wigs and silly socks never did and never will get that. Decades from now, when all of the grime has settled, the “don’t get its” of the world will be away, sipping cocktails and praising nature to one another as they admire the sunsets that millions never got to enjoy in the same way.

The middle class clearly no longer has much sway at work, its purchasing power has remained essentially frozen for 4+ decades and most consumer wealth has dwindled into negative territory, given growing gargantuan debt taken on over the past 17 years due almost exclusively to cb interest rate levers, which until very recently, traveled only in one direction, squashing rates to the point of what seems like no return.

Money no longer flows healthily to as many parts of the economy and as many people as it used to. It’s concentrated in too few hands, the coffers of which continue to bloat monstrously whilst societal misery and the frozen lives of the young continue to grow.

This is corporate “efficiency” as well as enticement to borrow and spend ones brains out at its best.

Cake and stupid skating rinks don’t and won’t ever help. (Millions for a temporary lid of ice on the hill with the world’s longest skating rink only a few hundred meters away is, imho, a gross and wasteful vanity project and completely counter to helping the middle class as well as the most needy. Free hot drinks and/or soup could have been served on the canal for the entire winter on that same nut, in inexpensive, promotional collector cups that visitors could have taken home with them, around the globe.)

Braying incessantly about concern and dedication to the middle class whilst living la Dolce Vita behind the scenes is simply beyond it. Far too many people are now relying upon the largesse of charity which is no longer enough because the “middle class” is now squarely on the ropes.

I absolutely believe in the virtue of wealth-building and enjoying the fruits of that virtue. I also despise what is easily avoidable, unnecessary hardship and suffering. This misery flows from mucking with rates and the practically unbridled power that corps have been gifted by governments, spiking from around the early 90s. Kudos to Mr. Greenspan and oh-so-clever Ayn Rand devotees.

Dawgs who’ve stated that our current scenario of financial difficulty has unfolded much like the proverbial frog in the pot of warming water are entirely correct.

There is no good reason for this level of economic stupidity in Canada and we’re all left with a conveyor belt of excuses. Lump of coal, anyone?

No matter how much foaming rhetoric emanates from the hill about “helping the middle class”, it is simply an obvious and incessant attempt to corral votes.

It’s beyond deplorable that moving the proverbial magnifying glass onto small business and away from ethically challenged politicians is being force-fed to, uh, aspiring, mostly middle class Canadians. The fact that government is now starved for tax revenue (but still spending like demented shopaholics) has nothing to do with the average Canadian.

Thank goodness for the internet. Tragedy, comedy fest, or both?

#93 joblo on 12.24.17 at 10:53 am

https://nypost.com/2017/12/23/billionaire-couple-faced-financial-woes-before-suspicious-deaths/

“And days before he died, the Shermans’ attorneys filed documents in Canadian federal court in an attempt to quash a government investigation into a possible violation of lobbying rules in connection with a $1,100-a-plate fundraising dinner the Shermans held at their home for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015.”

This could get interesting.

#94 TurnerNation on 12.24.17 at 11:02 am

A few immutable fact of life for/from the over-schooled:

– Humans are tribal in nature. In fact a friend of mine refers to certain people of his same background as ‘tribe members’. He knows. They know.

– Humans fight over only two things: Land/resources and the right to pro-create.
(On a dark note…this is why WMD like Agent Orange and Depleted Uranium was deployed and, still is causing birth defects. )

– Humans have survived this long for one reason. INSTINCT. Which has been trained out of us by school, populist leaders. Hint: when they start reminding us of “Our Shared Canadian Values” you know we are in for a real reaming.

– The so-called Terrorists HAVE NO DEMANDS.
Red flag alert..even the lowly bank robber or mugger demands something of you.

How to control a herd of 7 billion tax farm slaves: using a few well placed collie dogs and cowboys. I know, the 5 corps. owning like 90% of all media mediums, told me so.

Bottom line: Terrorism = Mind Control. They have no demands, the FEAR we are to recoil, and jeer, is the milk of human blindness.

#95 TurnerNation on 12.24.17 at 11:03 am

PS…it’s been 70 (that’s Seventy) years now they’ve been dangling that “Middle east peace process” Farce over our heads. And 70 more to go. Land: gotta love it.

#96 alex stanford on 12.24.17 at 11:07 am

I wish less idiots in power, but of course this is Canada so it will stay a wish for a while.

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/major-tax-bill-passes-u-181249707.html

——————————————————–
WASHINGTON — In the dying hours of debate, as the United States prepared to pass its most far-reaching tax reform in decades — touching health care, the economy, and the national debt — one senator mentioned how it would also touch the northern neighbour, Canada.

He predicted it would pull companies south.

“We’re not gonna have any more pharmaceutical companies buying donut-makers in Canada and move their headquarters to get a lower tax rate,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, in a slightly bungled reference to Burger King buying Tim Hortons and relocating north.

“We’re gonna have a lot more companies thinking about becoming donut-makers and doing it right here in the United States … It’s an incentive to stay in America if you’re located there, and come to America if you’re not.”

That’s one of the many goals of the bill that passed the Senate after Isakson spoke, then on Wednesday passed the House of Representatives, followed by a celebration at the White House where Donald Trump toasted his first major legislative accomplishment.

The bill achieves at least four major changes: temporary personal tax cuts for most Americans for a few years, permanent corporate tax cuts, oil drilling in Alaska’s natural wildlife reserve, and the sabotage of Barack Obama’s signature health reform.
——————————————————–

The US is now more attractive to businesses than Canada.

They cut taxes while we/the idiotic liebaral policies/the controversial at best and incompetent financial minister kill small businesses here.

Pending cancellation/renegotiation of NAFTA to benefit US.

And what do we have here?
The french villa/private numbered corporations tax avoidance/loophole exploring/trust fund babies/failure to register blind trust/champions of laws that benefit their companies/sellers of stocks ‘at the right moment’ /proven and acknowledged violators of ethics elitists, ministers and PM instituting the laws that kills small businesses, lawyers and their retirement. Without any consultations.

Good luck Canada, this is just the beginning of the downfall. trusting the ‘good hands’ of BOC and CMHC and the lieberal corrupted and incompetent government.

Cheers and Amen.
It used to be a great country.

#97 HaHaHa on 12.24.17 at 11:19 am

Ryan you are spot on about deficits. The only problem is how can politicians take it seriously when 90% of individuals do not? Lost cause really. Oh and tax the rich answer ….really? Like government is going to spread that around effectively and fairly. Newcomer wake up. This has been tried in what is now called Russia. Was once the Soviet Union. Todays youth has all the technology they need at their fingertips to advance their situation monetarily. But most choose to waste it on Facebook,twitter,tinder,snapchat,grinder,etc etc. Smart people aka the rich invest in these companies do not waste their time playing on it. Educate yourself on money. Quit bemoaning. Only you can better your situation. Oh and the biggest waste of money is a useless University degree. Oh and Newcomer socialism is alive and well in Cuba and other parts of the world. It is a better climate. You can leave here anytime. That is what freedom is. Give it up. Go. Oh right that would take courage. I wish someone would start a GO-Fund page to buy plane tickets for those who hold socialism so high and export these freeloaders. Now that would be my new Xmas Charity of choice. Or is Christmas offensive now. Oh right only in Canada, Cuba, former Soviet Union. Oh well Merry Christmas to all who still believe in the true meaning of the day. Hint. It isn’t Santa. Not about gifts,turkey,family .

#98 alex stanford on 12.24.17 at 11:24 am

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/major-tax-bill-passes-u-181249707.html

Selected comments:

This is very bad, but completely predictable news, for Canada’s business community. We do not have a government who actually understands economics 101. As regulations, carbon taxes, electricity costs and minimum wage all rise relentlessly under our current provincial and federal governments, while the US collectively moves in an opposite direction, the net result will be a big, and I mean BIG disincentive for any new business to locate here and a BIG incentive for existing businesses to close up shop and flee to the US, especially here in Ontario. Just wait until NAFTA talks fail and the US walks away – 10-12 months from now – no pillars left. Have an exit strategy ready!!! you do not want ot live here with a 50 cent dollar, 15% unemployment and 1/2 of all citizens dependent on a collapsing welfare state.

So how are More Jobs for American’s NOT GOOD for the US Middle Class? A series of large businesses have just announced $1000 Christmas bonuses and wage increases because of these tax cuts…. and you who write this article don’t think that is a good thing??? You also purposely left out how Canada/Ontario are INCREASING E.I. premiums, CPP contributions, Extreme Minimum wage hikes, Extreme escalating Energy Costs, CO2 Taxes on the way etc etc. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD ANY BUSINESS WANT TO INVEST HERE IN CANADA with these VERY Expensive Business costs??? The liberals are destroying our economy before our eyes and OUR Ontario Debt is about to hit $400 Billion in a few years which is like $10 Trillion US Federal Debt. Business will be forced to pay for that too!!! There is a reason why the Ontario Liberal government HAS To Pay Businesses to Stay In Ontario …. oh ya…. that’s just another cost tax payers have to pay. Funny how the authors of this article are Ok with that? Stupid People shouldn’t be allowed to write these kinds of articles. They haven’t a clue about the real world!

We are so screwed with the simpleton that is at the helm and the moronic and corrupt socialist puppet masters that control him.

Marginal tax rate difference in key states like Texas and Florida now close to 20% for high income earners. Why would you stay in this wasteland with a compromised, socialist PM?

#99 alex stanford on 12.24.17 at 12:03 pm

T2 guilty of ethics violation.

https://www.google.bg/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiFs4COj6PYAhXEaFAKHRgQBesQtwIIKDAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D4XQEDunFENM&usg=AOvVaw3pmRV8lZRR4l1VHgQlOu3m

He apparently accepted as gift/no taxes over 300 k in vacation benefits.

From a family ‘friend’ who he has seen twice in his life!

Guess what will happen to him?
NOTHING!

But he and his financial minister are coming after you if you got free lunch from you company as this is considered taxable benefit FOR YOU, not for them, the elitist ultra-rich liebaral government.

Just imagine what CRA penalties should be for this if it was YOU, no HIM on the hook.

Same for the french villa guy. Loopholes for him, not for you.

#100 alex stanford on 12.24.17 at 12:08 pm

Sorry, wrong link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XQEDunFENM

#101 Confused on 12.24.17 at 1:02 pm

Great post! Sometimes we need a reminder of just how fortunate we are. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and best wishes for the new year.

#102 SoggyShorts on 12.24.17 at 1:15 pm

#84 dharma bum on 12.24.17 at 9:43 am
@ #54 Ardy
That was a really good post. Right on the money. Well done.
One more thing to add to your 2018 resolutions, in addition to weight loss and becoming mortgage free:
Atheism.
Then, you will be PERFECT.
**************************
I find it ironic that a proud Roman Catholic would crap on “false religious figures and ancient ideologies.”
I mean @ARDY calls out people for “being sheep” when the lead figure of his own ideology is referred to as “the shepherd”?
I think there’s something in his favourite book about stones and glass houses, no?

Also I’m curious: how does Game of Thrones “make you dumber?”

Merry Ho-Ho to all you blog dogs

#103 StandardDeviation on 12.24.17 at 1:39 pm

Well said, however, the economic model we operate under does not allow anyone to live without fear or uncertainty in their existence. All companies get rid of personnel regardless of service and competency, all in the interest of short term profit, cronyism and nepotism. I would suggest that Greed is not good and that Henry Ford was correct when he said the more we pay our people the more they can spend and the more we can produce, so sharing the wealth is indeed the most efficient way to expand prosperity, within the capitalist model. Given that 90% of all shares are owned by the <1% I doubt much will change to fulfill the noble and philanthropic expectations extolled. Merry Christmas all.

#104 Ace Goodheart on 12.24.17 at 1:40 pm

Christmas list:

1. Politicians to please stop building multi billion dollar subway systems out to suburban shopping malls. Yes, we know you have business connections and these projects make sense for you privately and personally. But have any of you ever even taken a subway?

2. Relates to one: Get rid of the downtown Toronto surface rail lines, and bury them. King Street and Queen Street are the biggest offenders, with College a close third. Why these lines are still above ground is beyond any comprehension. Watching them build billion dollar subway stops in the middle of country fields (Pioneer Village stop?!?!?!) while these old surface lines continue to trundle through bumper to bumper traffic in the downtown core, is like watching amoeba reproduce. Brainless, simple and lacking in any intelligent purpose. Their newest idea is just clear all the cars out of the way (ie, King Street) and just run surface rail. Through the downtown of a freaking major city! It boggles the mind. And makes you realise just how much of an effect cronyism has on the spending of our tax dollars.

3. Hire for top government positions on merit. Not political patronage. Please stop promoting your friends.

4. Elect the senate.

5. Start saying “Merry Christmas” again. If someone can wish me Happy Hanukkah or happy Ramadan, then I can wish them Merry Christmas back. My holiday traditional greeting is NOT hate speech. Sheesh!

#105 Ardy on 12.24.17 at 2:07 pm

#102 SoggyShorts on 12.24.17 at 1:15 pm

If you had spent a little more time brushing the chip of your shoulder, you would have understood the intention of me including that information about myself in my original p.s.

I’m the first to point out the blindness, bigotry, and abuse in the church. But again it’s because people are sheep and didn’t question. I find peace and meditation in my faith. The church would prefer to strip me of my faith as i am not part of the herd and i don’t care if the did. I don’t believe blindly and question everyday. But science doesn’t have all the answers, so I believe – differently- but I believe.

Open your mind to the not so obvious possibilities. Feel free to challenge like you challenged me, but do it with am open mind and not with that trolling attitude. I’m not perfect because I’m human.

Good for you if Game of thrones doesn’t make you dumber, but consider all the possibilities that’s involved in that activity. Do you really have that disposal time to watch fantasy, do you have disposal income to pay the premium to subscribe for service, if you pirate – do you consider yourself a thief while watching that show. I could go on and on, but you get it. You probably don’t because you rather hate then step back and question. That’s the tone oozing out of your post. Ooze away peppy.

Merry Christmas – not ashamed to say that.

RD

#106 Russ on 12.24.17 at 2:07 pm

Ace Goodheart on 12.24.17 at 1:40 pm

Christmas list:

3. Hire for top government positions on merit. Not political patronage. Please stop promoting your friends.

4. Elect the senate.

5. Start saying “Merry Christmas” again.
If someone can wish me Happy Hanukkah or happy Ramadan, then I can wish them Merry Christmas back. My holiday traditional greeting is NOT hate speech. Sheesh!

===================

Ace, on the money.

Check it, current political satire:
http://doonesbury.washingtonpost.com/strip#mutable

#107 Steven Rowlandson on 12.24.17 at 2:11 pm

When Will Politicians Take Our Deficits Seriously?

Except for Paul Martin’s efforts at sound fiscal policy and leadership the answer is never! Generally you will never get good government from democratic or marxist politicians.
Heaven and earth will pass away first. Just being realistic.

#108 I’m stupid on 12.24.17 at 6:29 pm

I urge all blog dogs to apply for the $25 gift card being giving by Loblaws and donate to your local food bank.

#109 SoggyShorts on 12.24.17 at 7:51 pm

#105 Ardy on 12.24.17 at 2:07 pm
My apologies if I triggered you.
I may have made some assumptions about your beliefs based on your statement that you specifically identify as Roman Catholic.
I completely agree with everything you posted about baristas, and that many people make poor decisions.

What I took issue with was your statement about “false religious figures and ancient ideologies.”
Since no religion claims more than 50% of the world as followers, it is safe to say that MOST people on earth believe other’s religious figures and ideologies to be false, regardless of what those beliefs are.

Religion is like what’s in your pants. You can be proud of it, but unless you want to be judged by it, you shouldn’t wave it around in public .(and that includes financial blogs)

Back to Got:
For time wasted, as a non-believer it is difficult for me to see watching an episode of GoT as more wasteful than attending mass.
As for whether watching a fantasy TV show makes people dumb, at least the TV watchers know it’s fantasy.
Entertainment isn’t automatically wasteful, and a couple bucks for something I enjoy is worth it to me. It could be worse, I could be giving HBO 10% of my income.

Merry Christmas to you as well (I don’t mind saying that either)

#110 Ardy on 12.24.17 at 8:37 pm

#109 SoggyShorts on 12.24.17 at 7:51 pm

No apologies necessary. You came across as you were bothered and took issue with muy comments. I guess you could apologize to yourself if you’d like.

Like I said, you missed the message in the message. I identified as Catholic because I wish people “Merry Christmas” and not some watered down, save the whales, SJW pandering wishes like T2. Hope you get the point.

Clearly you have your thoughts on religion. Good for you. Pretty hypocritical suggesting someone not share their opinion when you, as a non believer of course, are allowed to. Let that one soak in for a moment.

I’m not ashamed of anything in my life that has not hurt a fellow being. I’m not embarrassed to talk about religion, my finances, my philosophy on living life. From the tone of your comments you sound like you would be embarrassed. I feel the reason Garth shares is not to brag, though it helps his business indirectly, but because something I that man is telling him to enlighten his fellow being. Let that soak in too while you are at it.

Can’t understand how you tangent-ed to justifying GoT. That distracted.

Brush that chip off peppy. Start the new year a bit more enlightened than the last.

RD

#111 AGuyInVancouver on 12.24.17 at 8:53 pm

Great sentiments Ryan, have a Merry Christmas. Reading about conditions in that besieged area of Damascus tonight makes me appreciate what we have here in Canada.

#112 Danny on 12.24.17 at 9:32 pm

Deep kind thoughts.

Too bad Trump supporters just can’t see Trumps privileged self interest…..lack of real generosity…..just looking after his own interests.

Minimal tax savings for many….and as you say long term added debt that cannot be good except for a year or two….then the hardship blended with less help for the underprivileged….soon after.

I lost all respect for Trump from the time he mocked the reporter with a disability.
So unkind.

And it was one disappointment after another by a senior acting like an immature childlike bully.

Too bad Trump and his invested Washington free-loading family …won’t be reading the kind words in your blog today.

#113 crossbordershopper on 12.25.17 at 11:51 am

Deficit don’t mean anything. If you don’t pay tax. You have no skin in game. You simply get your government cheque and free healthcare and free education for kids. Safe country for most part. The free Christmas hampers were flying Christmas Eve. Rich and middle income care about deficit debt interest rates taxes etc. Poor people worry for nothing. I know it personally. I ran into a 67 year old still cutting back saving money. I said why? She was told in nursing home they don’t feed you. I said I think they feed all their clients. She said she knew. She wanted to have enough to go to better home. I guess the chicken and potatoes are better there. 67 and still stressed. My buddy who never worked a day in his life is with me this weekend in Vero Beach Florida. Laughing about our trips in the 70’s to sauble beach. I said you ok on Trudeau minimum cheque he said like do I have to save for something.

#114 Nonplused on 12.25.17 at 7:25 pm

#44 not so liquid in calgary and also at #46

I won’t argue with your numbers for the amount of carbon in the ground, it’s hard to know the exact amount and we know most of it is “unrecoverable” economically. What that means is regardless of technology it costs more to get it out of the ground than it is worth, so in the ground it will stay.

I am not a big worrier about CO2 caused climate change, I think oil and gas will not be economically recoverable before we cook the planet even if we cause some warming. But if we managed to get all of the carbon out of the earth that there is we couldn’t breath, so that won’t happen.

There is a lot of gold in the ground that will never come out too. Most of the gold on the planet is too dispersed or too deep to be recovered. The same holds for carbon based fuels. You sight coal bed methane but the problem with that is that it takes more energy to make the well, steel, concrete, labor, etc, than you get out of the well. “Technology” will never solve this problem because it is a question of thermodynamics, not economics.

Coal bed methane is like trying to sell a Ferrari to a homeless person. Can’t be done unless you want to take a loss.

#115 JL on 12.26.17 at 2:24 am

I just wish people would quit wishing and posting commentary on the same old problems without ever realizing there is a bigger agenda operating behind the politicians directions. As if it all happens in some stupid unconnected vacuum over and over again for no reason. There are reasons for everything that are much bigger than the average Joe can fathom and until people start looking a little deeper into the long term big picture beyond their own tiny myopic backyard they will never understand and therefore be able to change anything.

#116 Steven Rowlandson on 12.26.17 at 8:25 am

JL you are assuming change through voting actually is possible.
It isn’t. The powers that be own the political parties, many of the politicians, the political process, the financial institutions , the MSM and the institution of government. The electoral process is just a formality and a religious faith.

#117 Steven Rowlandson on 12.26.17 at 1:15 pm

Becoming prosperous by virtue of getting well paid for work done is ultimately good for the economy and the nation providing the necessities of life do not soar in price out of reach of the working man and his family. Given this, it is possible for people to buy the goods and services provided by the market without excessive and ruinous debt. If work pays you will get more of it.