Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday musings

Still another week has passed without snow.
How much longer one wonders?
It will come, and in large amounts accompanied by intense cold, sheeeeeeeeeesh, already I am looking at the calendar counting the days until Spring arrives.
OK, so Europe has come up with a plan to save Greece. The stock markets rally, the Euro gains and all is well again.
Actually nothing was accomplished. Just a declaration that time is short and something has to be done. Vague hints that China will invest in the European Monetary Stabilization Fund. That Banks will take a fiscal haircut much higher than they agreed to before. Pardon me if I say that this is nothing new at all. Just pull up some news from last month or the month before and see what I mean. The only solution that I think will work is if the European community agrees to form a sort of United States of Europe with one central government for all. This would mean surrendering sovereignty by all those countries to an economic union probably controlled and directed by Germany. Kind of ironic if the loser of the last 2 world wars becomes the end victor as a result of economic means.
I cannot imagine the Greeks, Italians, French or British agreeing to this but options appear limited. If the European want to keep their lavish cradle to grave social system paid for by a decreasing middle class something will have to give. Either reductions in massive holidays, pensions, social programs must occur or I foresee violence running rampant in the streets.
You see an echo of this in the Occupy demonstrations in the United States where confused middle class people and their children see the loss of what has been termed the “American Dream” with no alternative in sight. A large part of the problem is the expectations of people in this decade were fueled by money from the bankers with almost no collateral involved. You had people buying ½ million dollar homes with no money down, with not enough income to afford mortgage payments when interest rolled over and increased. Add in buying all the “toys” people came to regard as necessities and you have the basis for economic disaster. The banks were quite willing to lend this money as the bubble continued to expand fuelled by the easy money. Once interest rates started to creep up, the money supply dried up virtually overnight leaving people with houses worth less than the mortgaged amount and credit card bills unmanageable.
As in Europe, the middle class is now being savaged by the politicians, many who are wealthy and have no awareness of the fiscal condition of their constituents. Instead you get a situation of the politicians pandering to specific interest groups in order to stay in power, not to serve those who elected them to lead them out of this mess. Why do you think the Tea Party sprung up anyway?
A so called Super Committee was set up by the American Government to hammer out an agreement on ways to reduce the American debt and remove the paralysis that has caused the Government from basically functioning. In fact the Speaker of the House who derided the President for his lack of leadership never did present a budget proposal this year, so intent was he on scoring political points and burnishing his credentials much to the detriment of the country itself. The Super Committee is at a standstill and nothing probably will pass and so in 2013 (after the Presidential election of course) will a series of massive cuts be applied to all parts of the government from Social Security to the Military. Wanna bet that if Obama is defeated that the Republicans will find a way around that?
The British Commonwealth Association has met in Australia and as another example of wasted resources and an old boys club has decided not to form a Commonwealth Human Rights Commission. That would be embarrassing to countries like Nigeria for one. Indeed the importance of the Commonwealth has diminished so much that over 1/3 of the countries sent Foreign Ministers instead of their Head of State.
In Canada legislation has been introduced by the Federal Government to eliminate a registry for long guns. This registry was set up following a massacre of 14 women in Quebec at a technical school by a madman. Opponents have said it is a waste of money and a needless bureaucracy. They say criminals would never have registered guns in the first place and this is a hindrance on hunters and farmers. Police Departments say they use it all the time but are unable to furnish proof of use and validity of these claims. I have always said that if you are caught in the commission of a crime with a weapon – you automatically get 15 years minimum added to whatever sentence is imposed.
Also legislation was introduced to effect changes to the Canadian Wheat Board which will eliminate it as a single marketing arm for the (mainly Western) Canadian farmer. I do not know enough on this topic to make any valid comments at this time but I do wonder why the same dismantling of Dairy and Egg Boards is not done in Eastern Canada. Especially when you pay over $5 for 4L of milk in Canada and if you drive across the border to the States, you pay in the $3 range.
So it is my birthday coming up this Tuesday and I think that I am slipping over the edge of wanting to acknowledge it anymore. The smoke alarm threatens to go off now what with all the candles that are on the cupcake that I buy from the local bake shop. I remember as a youngster eagerly awaiting the day I would turn 20 as that seemed to denote a majour milestone in the making. Funny how it came and went, just like 30, 40 50………………………………………………………
Next year I think I will do something just a little bit out of the ordinary and weather permitting, arrange to go on a glider ride, or then again, maybe a skydive excursion.
The Northeast of the States has been hit by a snowstorm this Saturday and I wonder how the Occupy Wall Street protesters are dealing with the weather change? I think if I was one of the people behind the movement, I would have perhaps started it in mid June rather than now.
Just a thought.
American Republican candidate for President Rick Perry has put forward an idea of a flat tax for people. This would be in the 20% range and of course would have wrinkles for the poor, elderly and disadvantaged. While possibly not the best plan, it IS a plan and has a lot to think about. I like the simplicity of it and the fact that all would pay this tax and the amount would be a constant and eliminate loopholes for a large number of individuals. Maybe it might work here in Canada as well.
As we enter the last 8 days before the Saskatchewan Provincial election it appears that not too much has changed. The Opposition NDP continue to promise $ left and right – almost 3 billion and counting, I wonder where the money is going to come from. They say that they will raise the royalty tax on potash from 5% to 10% but are not accurate in this as the total tax paid is more like 30% once Federal and other tax chargers are added in. The Sask. Party has not added to the promised total and continues to campaign on a sound prudent fiscal mode. One sad thing is that both parties seemed to have discovered the poor in this campaign. The reality is that this issue will probably fade the day after the votes are counted. The poor in any election have little clout and that is just a fact of life unfortunately.
I went to our vet the other day to book out cat in for boarding for when we go on vacation in February. In talking to the staff I found out that most cats live to about 16 – 18 and the odd one to the early 20’s. Our monster is now 18 but still seems in good shape so hopefully he will be with us for a while yet. There was a cat named Marcel at the vets who became your best friend as soon as you walked into the office and liked nothing better than to have a tummy rub from you. Sadly I found out that at the age of 16 he passed away this summer.
We really do place too much attachment on our pets.
Still would not change this however.
Got my seasonal flu shot on Friday. It was done at a seniors housing residence and I have to tell you, that with all the silver hairs there, I felt myself slowly starting to resemble them!
Oh well. Could be worse I suppose.
Well, that is it for this week,
Take care out there,

No comments:

Post a Comment