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Alberta 2012 Fiscal Budget

24 Feb

This is the 2012 budget for Albertans. This link is a PDF. You must have Adobe Reader to view it.
Alberta 2012 Fiscal Budget


Occunomics 101 – The Alberta Advantage: It has not trickled down

23 Nov

The economic recession that began in 2008 affected Canada more gently than any other G7 country, and Alberta, whose economy is overwhelmingly reliant on energy sector commodities, has fared better than the other provinces. This, in theory, makes us one of the most fortunate populations in the world. But for middle and lower income Albertans, life has only become more difficult over recent decades.

John Ralston Saul, the eminent Canadian economic and political thinker, warned that “the exploitation of natural resources does not tend to produce a stable, balanced economy. To the contrary. Commodity markets were and are subject to incessant devastating swings. This sort of economy almost invariably produces an extreme social divide between a few rich and many poor.” The facts support Saul’s assertion, and this social divide is happening at an increasing pace in Alberta.

In fact, while Alberta’s Gross Domestic Product has steadily risen, our disposable income has not kept up. A report published by the Alberta College of Social Workers with the Parkland Institute states that “the middle class is at increasing risk of collapsing into low income; poverty is growing among those who work full-time, full-year, during a period when Alberta experienced greater economic growth more quickly than any other jurisdiction in Canada or the global north.” The ACSW report summarizes that “despite increased hours of work and a significant increase in the intensity of work, many in the middle-income deciles have little to show for their hard work, except fewer hours to enjoy with their families.” It continues, “Albertans have by far the lowest leisure time in the nation” citing 200 hours less per year than the average Canadian.

Of course, this would not be so worrying were it not the case that Alberta’s cost of living is increasing at a staggering rate: 134 per cent from 1985 to 2005, for example. Alberta food banks report a 75% increase in usage since the recession, with November 2011 breaking all records for Canadian food bank usage. Homelessness in Calgary increased by 458 per cent between 2006 and 2008 (the most recent figures). As well, Canadian personal debt is rising while personal savings are falling, as we borrow more to make ends meet. If unchecked, these trends will gradually squeeze more Albertans into poverty.

But if Alberta’s GDP keeps increasing, having more than tripled since 1985, where is the money going? The ratio of the Albertans with income over $100 000 to those who make less than $40 000 has nearly tripled as well, over the same period. What this indicates is that the so-called Alberta Advantage has benefited the wealthy few, while the rest of us are only working harder to get by.

– Arran Fisher

Canada’s economic resilience

GDP growth by province:

J. R. Saul, “Reflections of a Siamese Twin” Ch. 9

Alberta College of Social Workers Policy Framework 2010

Canadian Consumer Price Index, by city

Alberta food bank usage, Calgary Herald article

Canadian food bank usage

Canadian personal debt, Statistics Canada

Calgary Homelessness Statistics

Human Resources and Skill Development Canada, Satisfaction in LIfe study

3 Goals – Anonymous

21 Nov

I’ve been asked a lot about what I think we need to do to change things. I’ve come up with what I believe are 3 Reasonable and Realistic goals.

1) Get Corporations out of Government. Our “Elected Officials” are bought and paid for by Companies. Its hard for a politician to be fair and just, when he got his job through Corporate Donations. Create laws to balance the board for all potential candidates, and let this win their jobs on merit, not TV ads and soundbites, paid for by GlobalCorp. This will help make Government responsible to people again. Make no mistake, this is going to HURT politicians, who will have to work harder to get their jobs, and will have to work hard to keep them. Its time to change this system.

2) End Fractional banking, and Reserve Banking. Tell the Banks that we no longer owe them the money they invented for themselves. Remove fractional banking, so if a Bank wants to lend money, they HAVE TO HAVE IT TO LEND. Worldwide Government debt was invented by Reserve Banks. It has no basis in fact, and needs to be treated like every other imaginary thing. Make no mistake, this is going to HURT Banks, who have made billions inventing debt. Its time to change this system.

3) Create Corporate liability. A Corporation is not a person, and cannot be treated as such. If a person does something wrong, he takes responsibility, and is punished. If a Corporation does something wrong, they have to pay a fine, and layoff the people at the bottom of the pile. Make the people at the top of the pile PERSONALLY responsible for the actions of their Company. If GlobalCorp dumps pollution into a lake, and is fined 100 Million dollars, then the Shareholders can eat 1/3 of that, the CEO and Directors can eat 1/3 of that, THEN the Corporation can eat the other 1/3. If we have PEOPLE responsible and accountable when bad things happen, then those people have a vested interest in making sure those things don’t happen. Make no mistake, this is going to HURT Companies, who haven’t been held accountable for a long time. Its time to change this system.

I don’t see how any of these are not feasible. They are difficult, and its going to take a momentous push to even start the wheel turning, but maybe…. just maybe, we can turn the world into something worth handing to our children.

BBC Speechless As Trader Tells Truth: “The Collapse Is Coming…And Goldman Rules The World”

14 Nov

Scary stuff, eh? And in case you think that is an exaggeration, click here.

Is Your Retirement Investment Safe?

13 Nov