Planning for failure

Interesting, don’t you think, how a bureaucrat and a politician make a plan?  Assuming of course, that they plan at all…..

“Seems you guys in government have a Vancouver real estate problem.  Bad PR stuff happening here. You better gotta get on it!”

“Right!  Not our fault, of course.  We’re world class now, don’t you know?  So, who do we tax?  Where do we apply new fees.  That will solve the problem – for us, anyway.  We’ll get more revenue.”

“How will that solve the real problem?”

“People don’t like paying fees and taxes so they will stop doing it.”

“You mean like how they stopped paying the gasoline tax because they no longer bought gasoline?  Like how the rich people no longer buy fancy cars because of the luxury vehicle tax or the housing market has been kept affordable by all the myriad fees and rules and laws we apply in that asinine business called home ownership? You mean…like that?”

“Well, gee.  If we don’t tax ’em and we don’t spend their money, how do we do anything?”

“Well, it seems that you do very little as it is and what is done is usually wrong.  See the senate, the RCMP, the CRTC, the CBC and DFO for more proof.  Hell, look at just about everything the Liberal government does in BC!  The taxes and fees are already deemed too damn high and the people can’t even go camping!  You can’t take your kids camping in BC!  So, maybe there’s a clue in that…ya think?”

“Gimme an example of a better way.”

“Well, in just one small example …..if the government reduced all sales tax on solar panels AND allowed all Canadians to DEDUCT from their income tax the cost of installing a solar system to say, a ceiling of $35,000, then no new staff would need be hired, no Royal commissions, no standing committees, no white papers and no hot lines created and all the real work and wages would go to real workers doing simple installs.  The best part: Canada would make immediate strides in reducing it’s carbon footprint.  Mind you, the same would be true for applying such policies to electric vehicles.  No cost. Just results.”

“If we do that, we’ll lose a lot of revenue.”

“So, then, what you are saying is that it is NOT about solving the problem, it is just about getting a salary, is that it? You are not there to actually DO anything but just leech a salary and get your benefits?” 

“That is not fair.  And, anyway, leave me alone.  I am busy drafting up a new tax to be put on absentee Vancouver homeowners.  That’ll show ’em!”

“Show them what? You know that if the absentee homeowner can afford ten million dollars for a home, they can afford to put their kid or girlfriend in it?  And so how is a new tax going to make the house more affordable for the poorer young person, anyway? Isn’t that tax just about lining your own pockets once again?”

“So, how would you do it, smarty pants?”

“Well, I do not know what you actually want to do?  If you want growth and immigration, then just leave it alone and soon we’ll have another million rich people in the province.  If you don’t want immigration, then you’ll be accused of racism and isolation-ism.  You will likely lose your fancy position over that. So, what are you REALLY trying to achieve beside raking in more money?”

“Well, I guess we don’t know what we want.  We want their money.  We love money.  We don’t mind the actual people so much if they would just learn to drive better and stop shooting each other.  They’re kinda quirky and fun, tho, and I love their restaurants, don’t you agree? So immigrants are OK.  ‘Course, we want them to pay through the nose for everything and then work cheaply in the kitchens and farms so we hafta keep them classed as unqualified for our stupidly high standard jobs.  We want them to be peaceful and docile.  No gangs. We want rich, docile, nice people who know how to drive and can speak English and stay home at night. Preferably so healthy they do not need our hospitals. And with no kids! And they should be retired.  Rich and retired.  Is that too much to ask?”

“It’s a plan, Mr. Politician, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  In fact, it looks like a plan for failure at every level to me.  I say that because we have been at that same plan for a very long time and it has failed us and them miserably in the extreme so far. Can’t you at least – at the very least – let everyone go camping in their own province? Is that too much to ask?” 


11 thoughts on “Planning for failure

  1. The housing crisis in greater Vancouver is a product of low interest rates and tax law. Cheap money and rising house prices encourages the buying and waiting for the value of the house to rise then sell it. Buy it, make it your principal residence and sell it as your principal residence. No capital gains tax. Also money invested in housing returns a greater return hence overseas money flows in and will flow out when the bubble bursts.


  2. then there is the elephant in the room, the Panama papers and the French guys data dump, it does not matter, the big accounting firms collusion in tax avoidance, so what.
    Stats Can reports that say Richmond has the highest poverty rate in the nation at over 35 % below the poverty line, and similar situation in the Oakridge district.
    Continual reports of seniors being dropped off in lamborginies and teslas for free social service dental care, who cares,,? no one, ok I didn’t look this up on stats can but my friend says it’s keeps coming up in the Vancouver papers.
    I know david seems to have an affection for things sino.
    But I can attest, I was doing business in China before and after the Nixon favored nation status change. The pervasivness of the guanzi mentality was beyond anything my young mind could comprehend, I might add that the corruption I saw in the US trade regime was even more hazardous and devious then more amateurish sino counterpart,


    • I do have some affection for some things Sino (especially my Chinese friends) but I do not have blinkers on. The Chinese mind is very business oriented and, in China now, it is obsessed. Nixon unleashed a beast. And, frankly, I have a deep suspicion and loathing for business-as-it-is-done these days. Everywhere. Ergo, I share some suspicion and loathing for uber-rich people and that includes Chinese bringing bazillions of dollars. Or Russians. Or even ‘old stock’ Canadians. Yes, you can colour me into the Occupy/Idle No More/angry at the inequality crowd. That would be fair. But don’t colour me into the communist-we-are-all-the same crowd picture either. I know that the world will never be equal and maybe it never should be. But Waltons (4 of them are in the richest ten in the world) own Walmart and their staff are eligible for and collecting government services and dole-outs. That’s beyond obscene. My question is: if someone has say, $5 million and their house and cabin and boat is paid off, why do they still want more? Is caviar and Champagne and Lamborghini’s really that much of a need?


      • How much do we need…? Depends on recognizing the actual cause of ones disquiet. Peggy Lee once sang, “Is that all there is?” Pretty much that’s it. The absence of desire works for some people.


        • Life is full and rich if you make it so but little of that comes by way of MORE STUFF. ENOUGH stuff is enough. More stuff is just a stupid waste of time.


  3. I completely agree about the new taxes.
    A complete cash grab by various levels of govt to appear to be ‘doing something” and win votes. But only after the bitching , screaming and moaning from the public reached such a cresendo that even the “bought and paid for” media( how many Remax ads are on prime time TV every night?) couldnt ignore the elephant in the telephone booth
    A “new” tax of $10,000.00 more per year means nothing to someone who can afford to buy a $10 million dollar home mortgage free.. Pure PR fluff to placate a furious public in a Provincial election year.
    A young lady pushing a stroller in the downtown was interviewed on the 6pm “news” a few nights back and said as much. ‘Thats the best they can do after YEARS of these ridiculous prices? Its too little too late. We’re moving out of Province” .
    And as much as the housing “crisis” in the Lower Mainland is being blamed on “foreign money”( insert visible minority here) the stats dont seem to back it up. The bank of Mom and Pop seem to be the biggest culprit.
    Fear of Missing Out ( FOMO) being the reason they “help” little Johnny and Jane
    Borrowing against their own ridiculously inflated home values to “loan” their kids money to “get in”(buy at insane valuations) to a ‘hot marlet” ( bubble). Or the greedy LOCAL speculators and flippers that have been buying and selling properties before a year is up( minimum time allowed to qualifiy for a personal gains tax exemption) , making 100’s of thousands of dollars in the process……well guess what…..The feds have finally hired more auditors and they will be coming to a realtor near you to find out who these tax cheats are. And I’m pretty sure if anyone reading this out there knows anyone out there that has bought and sold in the last few years…….they may fall into that tax “bracket”
    Its greed. Pure and simple. And it will be coming home to roost.
    A silly little 2016 version of a “Foreign Head Tax” wont stop it. But we cant call it a Foreign Head tax…..not PC. So lets call it a Vacancy Tax. Thats much better.
    Canadians record level of debt( the average Canuck owes 165% of their annual salary in loans, lines of credit, plastic, cars ,etc….. Mortgages are NOT included in that stat. People are hitting the proverbial debt wall. As a nation we are personally more indebted than the average US citizen was before the 2008 meltdown. Not good.
    Inevitable higher interest rates or the latest June real estate stats showing single family dwelling sales in the GVRD dropping off like a rock( prices have reached their peak par chance?) may be a harbinger of things to come.
    But damn the torpedos and lets build another “legacy project” like a multi billion dollar Dam for future power that even the Premier has admitted might not be need for years…..its about jobs right? Right? Its good to know the politicians priorities are still with big business and the endless multi billion dollar projects.
    One wonders how hard Mega Realtor Bob Rennie is working on Christy’s campaign contribution fund raising now that the govt is actively attempting to “cool off” the markets…..
    Oh well, its not the first time she’s thrown someone close to her under the bus……and it wont be the last.
    Stay tuned. The next 9 months might be crazier than a Turkish coup.


  4. “The third section of the book “Civilization and its Discontents”, addresses a fundamental paradox of civilization: it is a tool we have created to protect ourselves from unhappiness, and yet it is our largest source of unhappiness. People become neurotic because they cannot tolerate the frustration which society imposes in the service of its cultural ideals.” We aspire to having an ideal society that is fair, equitable and reasonable but on whose dime? “Writing 500 years ago, Machiavelli advised the Prince to avoid being too generous to the people lest he have to raise taxes, not very popular then or since.” Cutting taxes has been part of political platforms of mainstream Canadian political parties but the cost of government has not decreased and to cover these costs fees have increased and so has the national debt. The Western World in 1711, experienced the South Sea Bubble. It was a time of a huge national debt in the UK, a scheme to pay off the current UK debt by printing money and crazy speculation driving up costs. This situation may sound familiar. (USA national debt currently about 19 trillion) speculating, printing money. As is pointed out elsewhere in this blog “the average Canuck owes 165% of annual earns to personal debt” plus the 628 billion of national debt owed by all Canadians. Canadians need to earn more and pay more for services and I realize that this is a very challenging thought. Norway’s debt as a percentage of GDP is around 15% low compared to most first world nations. See the OECD better life index and see how Canada compares to other countries.


    • I think taxes well spent is the manifestation of cooperation and society. It is taxes that, when misspent, seem like theft and disrespect. Taxes that simply ‘further’ the bureaucracy are both theft and disrespect. Taxes that build bridges and help people are usually willingly paid. The dilemma is ‘who is to judge’? And we ALL judge.
      I judge that the proposed vacancy tax is stupid. Clearly others disagree. I judge that the Crown Lands belong to us all and that families should be able to camp WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY AND RESERVE! Translation: Earn more and pay more? I am willing to pay for what I perceive delivers value or worthiness. I balk at waste and corruption. And, sadly, that seems to be subjective.


      • I can remember camping at provincial camp sites for free. I can remember people bring their own fish smokers and setting in and catching their limit and smoking it. An open door policy that was abused. In time fees arrived to pay up keep. Last time I camped at a BC Forestry camp site, years age, I think it was free. But it had zero in amenities and services.I notice that some 50 camp sites in BC are advertised for free but you might need your GPS to find them and I do not know who runs them officially. On a tangent the railway system in Indian employs about 1.4 million people, does not make bags of money but maintains its work force.


        • Yup. BC Forest sites were everywhere and free. Free fire wood, campsites, outhouses, and some had a tap at the entrance for drinking water.
          Then the vandals detroyed the outhouses, stole all the firewood and left the campsites strewn with garbage for the bears to sniff through… much for BC Forestry sites…….idiots and there friends….kinda like the Vancouver riots.


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