Monday, February 28, 2005

Canada & Missile Defense - adolescent behaviour

Having mulled over some of the commentary on Paul Martin's decision not to participate in ballistic missle defense with the United States. Right thinking people probably has a good sense of what's going on. I'm not surprised by it because it really is the Liberal schtick: symbolic gestures that do nothing (see: gun registry).

The reason it is an empty gesture is simple: Canada ultimately will participate in BMD, using NORAD as an excuse; and if there was really a ballistic missile attack on the United States, Canada would have absolutely no say on US interceptor missiles over Canadian airspace.

What is truly pathetic is the adolescent behaviour of a segment of the Canadian population - who seem to dominate the MSM, the Liberal Party, and the other elites in Canada. They'll take the money, vacation in Florida, give nothing and return and demand that their independence be respected and spite the generosity of their neighbours. Sounds more like teenagers to me.

Secondly, I find it now sad to say that my Canadian history and identity is now replaced by defining a Canadian as a shrill anti-American who gets "free" health care. Are those really the pillars that you want to build a society on? For the Liberals in Canada - the answer is yes. And that answer is another reason why I left.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Chet Baker Introduces Johnny Pace - Riverside Label, 1958

Johnny Pace, Introduced by Chet Baker

I have been downloading a lot of music from emusic, which is an amazing site for jazz lovers. First, it is a lot more reasonably priced than itunes, but if you are a fan of jazz, this is your site. They have the archives of the Prestige, Fantasy, Riverside, and Pablo labels for classic jazz. This site has barely scratched the surface of their archives I would think (I'm a big fan of the label, as the best Christmas gift I ever got was the Complete Prestige Sessions of John Coltrane form the Missus). So I've decided that every now and then I'd highlight and album and pass some comments. Now I'm not a musicologist (my oldest friend and fellow Sudbury native is one who is currently teaching at Stanford), but have listened and read enough to know what I know and what I don't.

This is the debut album of Johnny Pace, featuring the Chet Baker quintet. It was released in 1958. It's not a bad album: while Pace's phrasing or range will never be comparable to Sinatra, Hartman, Eckstine, or Hendricks, it is a nice cross between Sinatra and Bobby Darin where it is pleasant enough. Baker plays his usual subdued obligattos, not being intrusive but having enough presence to make sure the whole ensemble swings. The tracks that caught my attention on this were "The way you look tonight", "Everything I've got belongs to you", and "All or nothing at all": they are upbeat, fresh, swinging and overall relaxing. I particularly like "Everything I've got belongs to you", just the lyrics are quite clever.

Considering I've downloaded this, I'd recommend it in that format, but would I pay full price for the CD - probably not. That is not saying it's not a bad album - just I'm not that overwhelmed by it to buy the CD at full price.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Canada versus the United States - the tale of a whole lot of tax forms and schedules

Today I took the time out of my busy schedule to actually take a stab at what the tax differences where from where I live in Michigan versus where I used to live in Ontario. So out with the calculators, the schedules, and all that and here is what I found out:

  1. I took the median U.S. household income. Which is $45,000. No interest, no capital gains - just wages.
  2. Family of four - two kids under age 16.
  3. No special deductions for either Canadian or American taxes - assumed they took the basic exemptions allowed to them.
  4. This hypothetical family lives in Michigan for U.S. tax purposes and Ontario for Canadian purposes.
  5. The U.S. wages will be coverted into Canadian dollars at $1CDN = $0.80 US.
But some of my more liberal Canadian friends would say, and to paraphrase Jean Crouton, "Canada is the best place in the universe because we have 'free' health care paid for by our taxes." Let's be fair, and we'll tack on an extra $5,000 U.S. to the Americans wages as an offset fo the health insurance benefits paid for by his employer. We'll leave the Canadian wages at $45,000 U.S. converted to Canadian dollars, which is $56,250.

Here are the results of this little experiment:

American household:

Gross wages: $50,000 USD
Federal taxes: $1,459
Michigan taxes: $1,437
Total taxes : $2,896
Effective tax rate: 5.8%

Canadian Household
Gross Wages: $56,250
Federal taxes: $ 6,375
Ontario taxes: $2,069
Total taxes: $8,444
Effective tax rate: 15.01%

As you can tell, there is a huge difference in effective tax rates - if you doubled the wages in both cases, the differential would be even larger. And this is with the American family taking the standard deduction: if they had a typical house, they could itemize their deductions and write off property taxes, state taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable deductions to name a few and have larger tax savings. These options are not available to Canadians.

Of course this is a rudimentary comparison, only meant to give one the huge differences in taxes one would pay in either country. This goes a long way to explaining why Canadian incomes have stagnated over the past 20 years while U.S. incomes have shown real growth.


I'd like to welcome eveyone to my site. It will be a conucopia of thoughts on politics in Canada, the United States, as well as tax issues (I'm a tax accountant by trade) and culture.