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Is everybody happy with the harmonized sales tax. It means everything we buy with GST only tax will be increased to the harmonized rate.
 

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I will never be happy with ANY kind of tax considering the way government waste taxpayers' hard earn money on their scandals, partisan-political decisions, overpaid unions, overpaid govt officials with their crazy expenses (expensive meals, etc)
 

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I will never be happy with ANY kind of tax considering the way government waste taxpayers' hard earn money on their scandals, partisan-political decisions, overpaid unions, overpaid govt officials with their crazy expenses (expensive meals, etc)
Unlike the private sector with its scandal-free record; scrupulous neutrality in political affairs; modestly paid executives; and parsimonious expense accounts?

Yes, the HST is a revenue grab, but Ontario needs the money to cover its deficits, and the feds already reduced the GST from 7% to 5% (before the National Debt was paid off, against the advice of all financial experts). So if you look at it from the point of view of where you were before the feds reduced the GST you are no further behind.
 

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Unlike the private sector with its scandal-free record; scrupulous neutrality in political affairs; modestly paid executives; and parsimonious expense accounts?
At least I dont get enforced to share my money with them ;)

My point is not that we shouldnt pay taxes, I agree with paying taxes for public services - but do govt officials really need to spend thousands if not ten of thousands of dollars on a dinner?

of course there's only so much you can do to control private companies and they are not exactly the ideal / best thing / scandal-free, but then again, that's exactly they call them private instead of public
 

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No, I'm totally pissed off about it. I don't think people realize how much this is going to affect them - but it will when they get their first bill for a service that used to only charge GST... It kills me that everyone seems to have accepted this tax grab with a sigh and a shrug.

And I don't buy the government's excuse that it will be cheaper for companies to implement a single tax than two. Companies already have systems in place for collecting and paying two taxes...and the government sure wasn't too concerned about this when they introduced GST way back when.
 

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No one likes taxes. But the cost of government services (and the provincial debt) have to be paid for somehow. The question is how best to do that? Most economists say value added taxes (like GST or HST) are better than income taxes. Would you prefer another income tax surcharge like the "Ontario Health Premium? But I admit I have reservations about the impact of the HST on essential commodities like utilities, which consumers cannot easily cut back on using.
 

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as a business owner we applaud the efficiencies that will take place. as for it being a tax grab, it is a good one. consumption taxes are generally favoured over income or wealth taxes.

as much as i hate the waste i see, i am glad i live in a country with many of the social services we have in our society. we should be proud.

the only things i would like to improve are the inefficiencies and reducing the size of gov't.

oh, and paying off that debt!
 

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For all the complaints about inefficiency in government, take a critical look at your own private enterprise. Are there no inefficiencies? Wasted time? Wasted money? Lame ideas from head office that go nowhere? Resources blown on doomed ventures? Projects that need to be re-started because of poor planning?

My guess is that if your organization includes more than a dozen people, there is plenty of waste. As organizations get bigger, it becomes easier and easier to find individual instances of sheer waste. To not find numerous examples in government, which is perhaps the biggest organization of all, would be more surprising.

I may be in the minority, but overall I feel like I get pretty decent value for my tax dollars. I generally feel safe, I have the opportunity to earn a good living, clean water comes out of my faucet, my family gets annual medical check-ups from well trained physicians, I don't need to bribe officials at city hall to get a building permit, the police don't issue me a ticket unless I really was speeding, I can travel from coast to coast on paved roads, and when I am old and gray I will get a little cheque every month to help me get by. Not a bad way to live, compared with much of the rest of the world.
 

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not meaning to sound harsh or anything ... just trying to open a discussion and give opinion here. And I dont mean to specifically point to Squeegee

and when I am old and gray I will get a little cheque every month to help me get by
This sounds like mentality of quite a lot of people in Canada, not necessarily just when they are old, some people can do this even if they are at age where they can work. The mentality of relying on government support rather than trying to provide for yourself - something I see as lazy mentality.

I would rather work hard for myself, make my own savings and rely on myself for my retirement. Yes, a governement support would of course be nice (I've been paying taxes afterall), but it's not like I wont get by without them.

Yes, I agree that in any country there will be some people who dont have basic necessities, and kudos to Canada that have pretty good welfare system to help these people. BUT at the same time, a good welfare system makes people lazy, because if they can just do nothing and still get money for free, why would they bother to do work? (I realize the money may not be much, but still).

My background comes from a country with pretty much non-existent government support. So in order to survive, you better work your *** off, or you probably someday just gonna die on the street. It gives you something like "survival of the fittest" mentality, which at the same time mean you get rewarded accordingly for your effort.

Hence come the issue of taxation, ... (again my argument might be generalization and a bit of boundary-case examples), people who work hard and get their reward are highly taxed and "forced" to share the fruit of their work with others who dont bother to put in the effort. How is that fair?

I am not saying I disagree with taxation and public services, I agree that taxes and public services are necessary but it's only fair to certain extent, after which point it just become a money-grab for the government and the hard-worker are "forced" to their reward with the lazy people.

Again, no offence or anything just my opinion which might be worded stronger than my thoughts are. And please no "then dont live in Canada" arguments :eek:
 

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Curious Reader, I understand and agree with many of your points. But be honest now. Was your standard of living better in this other country you were living in?

If not, I suspect its because of the social safety net that Canada has. It doesn't just benefit the lazy. It benefits everyone. When the poor or unemployed (many times people are poor or unemployed through no fault of their own) have a safety net to rely on, it benefits everyone.
 

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Curious Reader, I understand and agree with many of your points. But be honest now. Was your standard of living better in this other country you were living in?

If not, I suspect its because of the social safety net that Canada has. It doesn't just benefit the lazy. It benefits everyone. When the poor or unemployed (many times people are poor or unemployed through no fault of their own) have a safety net to rely on, it benefits everyone.
Standard of living - I guess I should say yes, I have better standard of living where I came from (in terms of wealth and what I can get for my money there). May be then you'll be asking what the heck I am doing in Canada ... well, I came here for education, and now I am already working - And currently thinking to go back home sometime in the future for many reasons. One of the bigger reasons will be building wealth.

I agree to some extent it does benefit everyone, but after certain point, it becomes a wealth distribution from the hard working ones to the lazier ones.

One example (again, might be a bit extreme): I am paying EI premiums (I just happen to read that it might increase quite significantly) but let say I never out of job and never claim those EI, then basically those money was just distributed away from me. True that if I dont pay EI premium then I wont get EI in turn when I lose my job, but the risk of me needing EI is very minimal and not worth for me paying the premiums - I would rather save the money myself (and create my own personal "EI") rather than giving it to the government.

So the argument is that I would rather build my own safety net, because if it's my own, then when I dont need that safety net, the money is still mine. Whereas with safety net done by government, for some people (including me), it becomes more of a wealth distribution away from us to other people.

Again, I have to stress that it's not that I disagree totally with paying taxes / EI premiums, just considering the current rate I am paying for in comparison to what I get in return.
 

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Hi CuriousReader, by standard of living I don't just mean purchase power and wealth. What I mean is, what is it like to live in a major city where you used to live? What are the crime rates like? What is like to deal with your local and central governments? What is the quality of housing like? What is health care like? That kind of thing. If its better, then you have us beat! But, please don't go! Stay, we need more people like you to finance our government entitlements! :p

If some of these are worse thAn in Canada, I suspect part of it (not all of it) may be due to how the "welfare net" or "social safety net" is constructed.

I do understand the frustration of EI. I have payed the max in premiums now for over 12 years. If I were free somehow to use that to become self-insured, I'd have almost 10,000 bucks. Of course, the upshot is that if i ever do become unemployed, I'll almost a year's worth (is the max around 16K?) of ei benefits. Yes, its unlikely that I will ever need it, but I do see the benefit as it means people who do use the benefit will have a better quality of life - and my life will benefit as well.

And, I don't know how you know that people who use EI are lazier? I guess you could make an argument that a lot of people do tend try max out their ei benefits when they use them. That is, when they are on ei, there really isn't much incentive to find work until the benefit has run out. I don't know anyone who has done this, but I'm sure people do do this - I can agree that this is sad.

Also, what I don't agree with is our government using the ei surplus to finance debts for other program spending. That is baloney. It should either be used to fund an ei reserve or should be given back.
 

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Oh and for the record, I think HST is a smart way to go. But I wonder how it effects people who mainly work in the service industry.

Lets say you are a consultant. You would now have to charge hst on your services I'm guessing. Under the old system would you have to charge pst?

If not, then people using consulting services would see a huge price increase. I guess the gov. of ontario could argue that consulting services own cost of business would go down due to the other tax reforms - but really would it be enough to offset the increase their customers pay in tax? I'm not convinced it would.

I mean a consultant's main expenditure is his/her own time - and not the use of other purchased goods. I Hope I'm making sense.
 

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I guess that "standard of living" would depend on where you are at the "hierarchy" of the population (by that I mean, if you are one of the low income people, then yeah, your standard of living sucks, worse than Canada, ... but if you are middle / upper class people, then it sure is a lot better than Canada.

I dont have numbers, but having lived there for years, in terms of crime rates, I dont see it being any worse than Canada. In fact, Toronto probably a lot worse. And I do lived in the capital.

Dealing with governments ... just like any developing countries, you need to know the system, back doors and stuff ... bribery and corruption is still very much part of the government, although it has been decreasing over the last few years, but you probably still need to deal with that. May be not too much, one thing I have done probably giving "lunch money" to the police when they pull me over for no good reason, trust me when that sort of thing happen, even though you are absolutely innocent, you dont want to give them your driving license, because it will end up costing you more later ;) It sounds bad to live with that kind of situation, but it's really not all that bad, it's not like you do this once a month, or even once a year. Day-to-day live is just very much like living here (apart from Winter :p)

Health care wise ... again, if you have enough money (middle class working people have enough), then you can get good health care. If you are one of the poorer ones, then you are out of luck. If you are rich, then good for you.

So you see, considering education background that I have and the jobs the potential earning that I have when I go back home, it's a lot more beneficial to live back home.

Although for higher education (university), you definitely better of studying abroad, but then you'll have no problem with paying international tuition because of the wealth that you build already. Imagine this ... how much does it cost for you (Canadians) to go to university here? like $20,000 for 4-years honour degree? It cost international student over $90,000 just for tuition and school fees.

So after a certain threshold (in terms of the job and earning that I have if I go back home - this usually works for management position / owning your own business), it's no-brainer that it's better than Canada in every aspect. But at the same time, if you are just an average lower-level worker, then yeah Canada would be a better place.

In any case, I think my argument is not directly pointed to HST, it's more towards the welfare and economy system here, the taxes, the EI, etc ... and hence, HST is just another cost that I can definitely prefer not to pay.
 

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Thinking about it ... may be government corruption in developing countries (or at least in my home country) is still better - at least in terms of what it cost me - than all the spending scandal lately, especially Ontario.
 

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I agree to some extent it does benefit everyone, but after certain point, it becomes a wealth distribution from the hard working ones to the lazier ones.
Joseph Heath's book "Filthy Lucre" has a very interesting chapter on personal responsibilty / moral hazard. He is far more eloquent than I so...


This brings us, finally, to the fallacy underlying the "personal responsibility" crusade of the right. Conservatives blame government handouts for undermining the spirit of self-reliance. This is just a moralizing way of describing a generic problem with insurance systems, whenre indemnity ("handouts") tends to generate moral hazard ("irresponsibility"). What conservatives fail to realize is that the moral hazard effect in question is a generic feature of any type of insurance system-it has nothing to do with the question of public or private ownership. There is, however, a prior selection effect that gets ignored. Because private insurance markets are so prone to failure in the face of information asymmetries, the type of insurance that is usually prone to moral hazard or adverse selection tends to be feasible only when provided by the "insurer of last resort": the state. So it doesn't make much sense to blame government for the moral hazard. It's usually because of the moral hazard problem that the government is running the program in the first place.

One example (again, might be a bit extreme): I am paying EI premiums (I just happen to read that it might increase quite significantly) but let say I never out of job and never claim those EI, then basically those money was just distributed away from me. True that if I dont pay EI premium then I wont get EI in turn when I lose my job, but the risk of me needing EI is very minimal and not worth for me paying the premiums - I would rather save the money myself (and create my own personal "EI") rather than giving it to the government.
But of course EI at it's core is exactly what it's name implies. Insurance. I own a house and have homeowners insurance. I will be paying for that insurance as long as I own my home. But I sure hope I never have to make a claim. Such is the nature of insurance. You may spend a long time, and significant $$ paying for it, but you hope you never have to make a claim. I have life insurance too, but I would rather live than have it pay out. Not many people can afford to "self-insure" for all risks. It's the pooling of risk that makes insurance useful.

Interestingly, while you feel that you can afford to self insure, many people cannot. But that is why EI is like any other insurance plan. By pooling risk (and cost) it is cheaper on average for everyone.


So the argument is that I would rather build my own safety net,
But how long would it take for someone to build their own safety net? What happens if you need that net before it is built? There in lies the advantage to participating in an insurance plan that pools risk and cost.
 

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My 2 Cents

I think the HST is good solely for the opportunity to reduce the duplication of services. My understanding is the Federal government is collecting the HST for both themselves and the province, then sending the province a cheque for their cut. In effect you are eliminating the provinces department that is doing pretty well the same job as the Fed's department.

Nobody likes paying taxes and nobody likes paying taxes that are given to non-transparent and wasteful governments. That said, Canada is getting better with this and no country is immune. I choose to view taxes more as the cost of the excellent services that we do get (roads, police, health care, etc) and my charitable contribution (EI, Disability Insurance, etc).

I love all the people that assume that they would be the cream of the crop in a system without the safety nets that we have. One bad decision or circumstance and they could be living in desolation for life.
 

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....

I agree to some extent it does benefit everyone, but after certain point, it becomes a wealth distribution from the hard working ones to the lazier ones.

One example (again, might be a bit extreme): I am paying EI premiums (I just happen to read that it might increase quite significantly) but let say I never out of job and never claim those EI, then basically those money was just distributed away from me.

Of course it's a form of wealth re-distribution. These programs were created by the generation that grew up in the Great Depression, with 25+% unemployment and almost no government relief. They elected governments who put programs in place to make sure it never happens again, and we should all be grateful they did.

Regarding why you should pay EI if you never collect it, the same could be said of any term life insurance policy - you hope you never collect, and your premiums pay for those who do. (Not that there aren't things that need reforming about EI)
 

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Regarding why you should pay EI if you never collect it, the same could be said of any term life insurance policy - you hope you never collect, and your premiums pay for those who do. (Not that there aren't things that need reforming about EI)
It is an insurance after all I know ... but at least with health/life/auto insurance, I get to make my own choice. Depending on my own calculation of the risk, I can make my own decision and have some control on how much I want to.
 
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