A Money Coach in Canada

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SEN. SANDERS is filibustering as I type this. He’s been going since 10:30am EST, I believe — and incredibly, his voice is still in good shape AND he’s still interesting! Here goes a bit of a liveblog (disclaimer! I may get some of this wrong. Do fact checking if you’re basing anything on this):

peaceful • patriot

We support a $400/year tax break for every worker in America. When they have the money, they spend it, which creates more jobs. Yes, we want more workers to have more money in their pockets.

But lowering the payroll tax is not a good idea. The idea originated from conservative Republicans whose intention was to destroy social security. One way you do that is to divert funds intended for the social security trust fund.
Here’s the problem. Historically, the reason social security works is that the fund is *funded*. Even just stopping this for one year, the accusation will become “now your taxing employers”. It’s a backdoor method for breaking social security. What are the odds that the Republicans will allow the tax cut to expire?

What this issue is about, is breaking the bonds we’ve had since the inception of social security. Historically, it’s *always* been paid for by the workers.

The real debate about social security is not about finances. It has a $2.6Trillion surplus. For the next 29 years, it can pay for every person who will need it. It’s just wrong to say the fund is going bankrupt.

Another problem with this Agreement – it provides businesses with tax cuts. Almost all economists understand that if we’re serious about creating the kinds of jobs we desperately need, as rapidly and effectively as possible, the way to do that is not to provide corporate tax cuts. Corporate America is sitting on $2Trillion cash. Instead, what we have got to do is make significant investments in our crumbling infrastructures – our bridges, our roads, broadband, dams. In every single one of these areas, our infrastructure is crumbling.
It doesn’t get better all by itself!

According to Society of Civil Engineers, we should be spending about $2trillion (?) dollars on our infrastructure, excluding Alaska (me: why did he exclude Alaska?).

It’s also water systems. The mayor of Rutland, Vermont showed me a pipe. It was in bad shape. It was laid by an Engineer who later went to war. Guess which war? THE CIVIL WAR. And that pipe’s still being used.

(me: when to Filibuster-ers use the loo??)

Compared to China, our (US) investments in Rail is inadequate. China is investing in high speed rail, thousands of miles, and 100s of new Airports.

So one of my objections is We can do better in job creation be investing in infrastructure, than we can by giving tax cuts to businesses.

Some Americans can’t get cel phone service, or decent broadband. When we make those investments, we not only provide jobs, but make our nation stronger.

Another objection: I was quite disturbed to hear about one of the compromises that was struck – to extend unemployment benefits to (by?) 13 months. How can we turn our backs on these workers? What happens to those families? Do they lose their homes? Do they move out onto the streets? How do they take care of their kids? There are parts of this country where it’s very, very hard to get a job. I get upset at the Republican’s willingness to support this extension to be considered as “a major compromise”. For the past 40 years, whenever the unemployment rate has been above 7.2%, (today, at 9.8%), regardless of Republican / Democrat gov’t, unemployment benefits have been extended. So what kind of compromise are the Republicans offering? It’s just continuing sensible bi-partisan policy.

We are offering tax cuts to 98% of Americans. And THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH for Republicans? We have to give tax cuts to the top 2% too?

So Mr. President, while there are some good provisions in this Bill, and extending the tax breaks to 98% of Americans, if the American people demand it, we Can Do Better. I don’t know if you or I alone will be able to convince our Republican friends to make this into the kind of proposal we need to work for Americans. The way we defeat this and come back with a better proposal and millions of people write their congress-people and say “Are we NUTS? Do we really think that at this time, we need to give the richest 2% a tax break at this point in our history”

Republican strategy is pretty clear. They want to destroy social security. We’re hearing more and more about raising retirement age (me: personally, I think that has to happen).

********
OK. This blogger’s pooped. Filibustered out. PLUS, he finished (big OOPS – I thought I was watching a livestream but it wasn’t! He’s already done!)

TRUTH WILL OUT (Julian Assange) Wikileaks.org - Poster for Wikileaks.org
Holy Smokes, eh?

If you have a “take” on any of this, I’m sure interested in reading it!

Barely 2 weeks after I finished reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and I seem to be seeing it happen before my very eyes!

If I understand it correctly the sequence of events are as follows:

1. November 28, 2010: Wikileaks releases all kinds of highly-sensitive documents of the U.S. under their mantra of “keeping governments open” . (is that goal objectionable?). This debacle is now being referred to as CableGate.

2. Dec. 7th, 2010: Juliann Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of wikileaks is arrested in the UK for alleged sex crimes committed in Sweden. While I am a feminist and want to see justice done for any woman who was a victim of sexual violence, the time of this seems just a wee bit too.perfect. Assange’s accounts are frozen, and folks can no longer donate to Wikileaks via Paypal.

3. December 8, 2010: Netizens are in an uproar and the eerie ANON takes down Mastercard’s website.

Here’s what they (ANON) say about themselves:

This is a guest blog by a coworker with a lively online persona … but not from my lips or typing shall his/her identity be revealed. I did manage to coax out this guest post on the all-too-common habit of eating out too much for our budgets to handle. Northerners or readers in remote places will particularly relate, I suspect!

Lunch for Wednesday

Having a single income, owning a home with constant repairs needed, and living in the North where the cost of living is at an all time high makes a person consider setting up an IV system instead of paying for real food. Add to this the temptation of working downtown where there are at least half a dozen establishments with friendly staff waiting to take $20 and hand you a quick answer to the question “what’s for lunch?” and I’ve found myself looking at an empty bank account wondering what happened more than once.

One solution to this is to stop eating. A BETTER solution to this is stop impulse eating. When I moved out of my parent’s place at age 17, some of the advise my mom gave me was “always lock your door”, “cook big meals that can be frozen”, and “learn to budget”. The last two I’ve really taken to heart recently. Every pay day, I sit down and think of what I want to eat for the next two weeks until my next pay cheque. On my last shopping trip, I got everything I needed for breakfasts and lunches for 2 weeks for about $45, and everything I need for suppers for $50, including snacks and desserts. That is every meal I will need for 2 weeks for under $100.

When shopping for food, people tend to do it all in one place, which is understandable, but tends to lead you to do all of your shopping at higher end grocery stores where the meat and produce is fresher and readily available. Unfortunately this also means that the frozen and boxed items are more expensive. Frozen foods, preserves and dry goods are made to the same factory specifications, which from a freshness standpoint makes it a moot point as to where you actually pick them up. A can of soup is a can of soup. My tendancy now is to pick up all of my dry/frozen goods at a grocery store down town, which is the cheapest in YK, and then pick up my fruits/veggies and meats at a store closer to my house.

Another way I save on my food bill is to make a big meal every weekend and freeze the majority of it in single serving containers. If I make a soup or stew on the weekend in my slow cooker (which is a marvelous invention might I add), that will do me for a week or so. Now, the same soup for lunch every single day tends to get quite dull, which is why I make something different every weekend and stockpile my frozen meals. Lasagana here, stew there, pulled pork every once in a while, and I’m happy.

We as Canadians tend to waste a lot of food. One reason being that we buy too much of it, and we buy it on an impulse. When I got home from the store, I used to have to clear out some space before I was able to put any of it away, and a lot of the new items I was putting in the fridge was the same stuff I had just tossed out because I didn’t use it the last time. Just because it sounds like a good idea in the grocery isle, doesn’t mean that you will use it. I’ve also taken to looking at my grocery cart a lot instead of what’s on the shelves, either planning meals in my head and making sure I only get what I need, or just trying to aviod the “oh shiny” reaction to a new flavour of chocolate coated something-or-other that may catch my eye. When it comes to treating myself, I could justify pretty much anything, so long as there was carmel filling involved somehow. Now, it’s 1-2 treats tops per pay period.

All in all, this has made for a much smaller food bill, and a much healthier diet. No more coming home from the store feeling like I accomplished something, then realizing that I spent $100 or so on treats, and only have enough real food for maybe 4 meals. Who knew that taking my mom’s advise would work out so well :).

-Luggy Deadnick

Readers: I eat out for lunch maybe once/week, tops. That’s partly due to the fact that I can walk home – in -30C, mind you – every day for lunch. How often do you buy lunch, and what do you attribute it to?

DSC_8154

I remember when I didn’t hope for much at all, financially. I’d read about folks who put $500/month or more away into their RRSPs and they seemed so very far away from me. Who were these people, I wondered, who had $500 a month to spare?

For several years during and after University (grad ’93), I experienced frustration: I was bright, educated and capable, yet somehow the life that included $500/month RRSP contributions (and the sophisticated condo and the great wardrobe and the espresso machine) seemed as far away as the moon. Looking back, I now realize we early Gen-Xers genuinely did have a rough go of it – the baby-boomers really had crowded us out as we tried to find our first McJobs; we graduated with particularly steep credit card and student debts; and on top of that Vancouver’s real estate went nuts so it was really hard to even start on that core asset.

I didn’t even know how to hope for much.

And then through a set of events most readers know, I had a turnaround. It wasn’t high drama, but it was a determination to shift things. And they did over the past 1.5 decades. They did.

Here’s one goal I’m still working on: financial independence. I have a figure in mind that I need and it’s a figure that at one point felt impossible. It no longer feels impossible – this money coach is a chunk of the way there!

All I’m saying is this, to those of you who feel stretched, who struggle to make ends meet or who are fatigued of trying: don’t give up. Give yourself permission to hope – and keep hoping. We need to live our lives, day by day, with an underpinning hope. I’m not talking magical thinking here, I’m talking hope.

It’s the first week of Advent, the week of Hope. Religious or not, I encourage us each to lift up our hearts, strengthen our spirits and live out of hope.