The Last Few Seconds of March

I just thought I would throw up a quick post tonight and try and get some content up for March, being that this month was so dismal from me not having much time to post and care for my web site. I thought I would talk about some things I have noticed about the world around me in terms of the economy for spring of 2010. To sum up in a nutshell, stuff is getting more expensive and access to money is getting harder, and having more strings attached becuase it does not grow on trees any more.

Two things that hit home for this week, transit fee increases and the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) being pushed down our throats by the British Columbian government.

Transit fees are no laughing mater for those who have but no choice to use it. I have looked at the fare increases, and I am judging this from the perspective of a University student who needs it to travel to and from home to school, and if need be, to work. When I heard that students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University were not getting the same rate as their UBC counterparts, this caused me to question the current state of Translink and its sub-jurisdictions, the municipalities that it serves. The official excuse was that it needs the added revenue and any new rates would reflect this need for generating revenue. Any government should realize that it should treat people fairly, or the government gets voted off the island.  For myself, I now believe that it is cheaper for me to drive to my classes than take the bus(es). I do not pay for parking any more, and the time that I save driving does not encourage me to take transit on any level, and the $5.00 per day is probely close to what I spend on gas for that same trip. This is an added effect to inflation, especially on students, the poor and those who can’t drive. Of course there is always walking.

The HST debate is a fun topic at the water cooler. The Pandora’s box that was last opened came from the introduction of the GST back in the days of then prim minister Brian Mulroney, January 1, 1991. Oh those were the days. The GST was supposed to help clear up the, then manufactures’ tax, and end duplication of taxes from business, and was only to be collected and born by the consumer. Sounds very right wing doesn’t? However, it did have a cascading effect becuase it made businesses responsible for the collection the tax, and created a whole new branch of criminals. When we had the roaring 2007 year, I remembered getting a letter by my beloved provincial government asking me if I made any purchases outside of the Provence, bluntly saying that I would need to pay the tax ( the BC, PST if buying from Alberta+ GST if outside of Canada) if I did. The government has become very dependent on this tax as one of its major sources of revenue. It would make sense to me to use a HST becuase it would cast the tax net very wide and hit consumers where they are not getting hit now.

With just these two increases in the cost of living, I wonder how long the economy will go before it stops growing and starts to reverse. Notice that I am saying that this is inevitable? I have already cut back on my personal spending, and have made adjustments to my lifestyle accordingly. I eat out less at restaurants, go on fewer trips and impulse buying it now the thing of the past as a result of the slowing economy. I’m saving more and more now, preparing for that inevitable work stoppage, creating an emergency fund, as businesses around me slow and some take the bankruptcy pill. I think with the HST being pushed down our throats, consumers are going to have to adjust their spending habits in this new era. Hey, this just might create a whole new branch of criminals: the HST fraudsters?

Hey, feel free to comment if you think I’m on the right track, or completely off my rocker? I would love to hear whet other people think of these two topics I just posted about.

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