"A Citizen"s Eye View"

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Less Money I Earn, The More Taxes I Pay

Ok, so why is it that the less money I seem to make, the more I seem to be paying in income taxes? Oh yeah, it's because I can no longer afford those TFSAs and RRSPs etc. So I guess the message is clear. It's not the upwardly mobile folks, those with the BMWs parked up their arses who are contributing the lion's share to our social programs via our taxes. It's the people who need them most. 

To start off with, I was divorced several years ago. I won't get into the details, but let's just say, my wife got the house and the kids, hence the tax deductions. I got the guinea pig. I think I need to have a word with my lawyer. 

Anyway, about a year after the initial separation, I also lost my job. And because of the circumstances, I didn't qualify for E.I. So I spent several month's living off of my credit cards until I could find another job. Those several months created a credit "monster" that I'm still dealing with. 

And one just doesn't walk in off the street into a good paying, permanent job anymore. You start off on low paying contract positions with no benefits. I finally landed a permanent position after about two years. And from those I've spoken with, that's GOOD!

In the mean time, my credit monster got bigger and bigger, and the banks, who used to love me to pieces and constantly offer me new and creative ways to give them money, suddenly became my worst enemies. I went to my old friends, the CIBC to be precise, the folks who I had faithfully done business with for over 30 years, with cap in hand, asking for help. But seeing that I was no longer in a position to give the nice banker-lady money in all sorts of new and different ways, I was told to take a long walk off of a very short peer. All of which reminds me of the quote by Robert Frost: "A bank is a place that offers you an umbrella in fair weather and asks for it back when it begins to rain". 

Anyway, the make a long story even longer (as my dad used to say), I've had to make a deal with the devil (in this case, the federal government) in order to slay my credit dragon and keep Tony the collection guy from harassing me. But I will be paying this credit debt off for a long time to come and in the mean time, I have no credit rating what so ever. The only people who will look at me even sideways anymore are the legalized loan sharks, Money Mart. But I am earning money again albeit, much less than I was before. Which brings me back to my original statement about income tax. 

As an upwardly mobile middle-classer with a combined six digit income, the million dollar family, a house, RRSPs etc, I never paid one red cent in income taxes. The government was always giving me (us)money back. Which was great at the time. But now that I am bringing in only a tiny fraction of what I used to make, the government seems to be hitting me up big time for tax money on a regular basis. I, and all my border-line poverty level friends with no tax shelters available to us, seem to be the ones who are covering the cost of our once proud social programs. 

I can say that as a middle-classer with tons of opportunities to shelter my money - legally - I contributed zip-doodah  to the welfare of the nation. And I (we) were small potatoes. I can only imagine what the REAL movers and shakers with some serious cash can get away with - legally or not. I think of those billions of dollars those guys have squirreled away in off shore accounts and those massive corporate tax breaks that have resulted in zero trickle down. So I know that they aren't contributing diddly to the nation's welfare either. If anything, they're sponging off those taxes you and I contribute. 

And I say "once proud" social programs because they are slowly being gnawed to death by the many headed hydra known as the corporate welfare state. It was recently revealed that the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs failed to spend a billion dollars earmarked for social programs for indigenous people. But what happened to that money instead? Oh yeah, there was that whole balanced budget thing. Have to keep Moodies and all those other big bank type guys who establish credit ratings happy. 

And I see those all pervasive "Economic Action Plan" signs everywhere. They're made in the States or so I've been told. I imagine they don't come cheap. But instead of my tax dollars going toward improving healthcare or education or eradicating poverty, they seem to be going towards free advertising for the ruling party. "Merde"!

Oh, and going back to that whole balanced budget thing, It seems that a HUGE chunk of the money that was used to make the books look all nice and orderly, came from OUR E.I. fund.That money ISN'T supposed to be TAX money. It's supposed to be OUR insurance policy against hard times such as I and the 40% of all claimants who never get a chance to collect experience . I guess that's because OUR collective welfare isn't as important as having well sauteed books. But that's a story for another day. 

So as I said in my opening paragraph, it appears that the lion's share of contribution to our once proud social programs seems to be being covered by the people who can least afford to do so. And the more they pay into it, the less service they get, because you know, signs and illusory balanced books and all are way more important.  So don't tell me the system isn't stacked against us. Don't even THINK of telling me the game isn't rigged. The whole system is rotten beyond belief. And the rot is so deep and so old and so ingrained by folks who care more about votes and their own personal bottom lines that it can never be fixed from within. In my own humble opinion, the whole damn thing needs to be blown up and we need to start from scratch, kind of like what Iceland did. They bailed out the people, put the banksters in jail and rewrote their constitution. 

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