Canada’s Import Laws and Taxes Are Dumb

At least that seems like a reasonable conclusion when it takes the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, a Federal Appeals Court, and the Supreme Court of Canada to figure out… whether this or that tax applies to imported hockey gloves.

This all revolved around the question of whether hockey gloves are gloves or “other articles of plastic.” Because despite the pretence of “free trade”, these categories of goods are taxed differently

Only in a country with dumb laws and dumb taxes is such a costly and ridiculous decision-making process possible for such a dumb issue.

— Read more at National Post — 

 

House of Saud Quickly Going Broke?

In Saudi Arabia, 70% of the civilian population works for the government. This is a problem because the Saudi government is facing major financial strains due to low oil prices.

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The great Patrick Cockburn writes:

…today the cuts are for the first time hitting public sector workers who are Saudi citizens, 70 per cent of whom work for the government. So far the austerity is limited with lower bonuses and overtime payments and a 20 per cent reduction in the salaries of ministers, though those close to political power are unlikely to be in actual need.

There are political dangers in this move. In the oil states of the Middle East there is a trade-off between the spectacular wealth of a corrupt and autocratic elite and an extensive patronage system through which much of the rest of the native population plugs into oil revenues. Some $120 billion, or half of government spending, went on salaries, wages and allowances in 2015.

With a Saudi budget deficit of $100 billion in 2015, this haemorrhage of cash may not be sustainable but will also be difficult to rein in. Great construction companies like Oger and Binladen are having serious difficulties getting paid by the government with Oger alone reportedly owed $8 billion. South Asian construction workers, who once saw Saudi Arabia as an El Dorado, are going home after waiting for months for pay cheques that never come.

The woes of foreign workers, and even of the native public sector employees, are not necessarily going to destabilise an absolute monarchy like Saudi Arabia that mercilessly crushes dissent. The fall or destabilisation of the House of Saud has been forecast for decades with no real sign of the prediction coming true. What makes the present economic stresses more significant is that they come at a moment when Saudi political influence is visibly under strain in the region and the world.

When Saudi Arabia’s patronage system fails, there will be a major meltdown in the Kingdom — a bottled-up “Arab Spring” on the Arabian Peninsula.

Trudeau might be worried that the Canadian military-industrial complex will lose the evil House of Saud as one of its biggest customers.

— Read more at CounterPunch

 

Montreal’s Bloodthirsty Pit Bull Ban Shows the Essence of the State

Montreal’s city council just passed a law that lets government employees target pit bulls any dog with a “short fur” and a “big head”  for death, forces people to pay a special registration fee dog tax, and forces owners to muzzle their dogs and keep them on a short leash prevent their dogs from having fun.

Vets will be compelled tmontreal-pit-bull-ban-20160926o euthanize dogs that exist in violation of these rules, unless the vet morally objects and “makes an effort” to find another professional to do the service within 48 hours (who decides what is a sufficient effort? And what is the consequence if a vet fails to do this?).

If someone’s dog brutally kills someone, wouldn’t it makes far more sense to simply charge the owner with manslaughter than pass a new law that threatens pet owners and vets for no good reason? Wouldn’t that be better than hiring a new squad of enforcement officers to hunt down dogs with big heads for extermination?

This particularly cruel law highlights the special destructive power of the state — systematic interference with private property. Because yes, our beloved pets are private property.

The state is all about taxes, badges, guns, and death. This law delivers that in a perfect package.

Every law that interferes with private property is just like this, but the Montreal law is a blatantly brutal and vicious example.

Lawmakers, from the municipal to the federal level, are drunk with power. The ballot box supposedly gives them authority to regulate virtually anything and the idea of “property rights” deserves nary a thought.

And every law of the government is backed with guns and badges. Never forget that the government will ultimately kill to enforce the law (usually you, but in this case your dog).

When it comes to most property, the government’s interference usually only affects your use of some resource or object, even your own body.

But regulations like the Montreal ban are a form of especially unjust intervention. You’re not restricting someone from selling a certain type of food or building a house with a weird shape.

Montreal is hiring government agents that threaten the lives of people’s animals that have never hurt anyone.

Animals are property, but they are also friends. Montreal just pointed a gun at you and your friends.

The US Stock Market Seems Like a Bad Joke

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Thanks to David Stockman.

Centrica Is Getting Out of Natural Gas Production in Canada

Another company discouraged by political uncertainty — Centrica is selling natural gas assets at a likely loss to get out of Canada.

How Much Do We Subsidize Fossil Fuels?

Some people have a confused idea of what counts as a subsidy.

In the minds of anti-oil radicals, not collecting more taxes from fossil fuel producers and consumers is a subsidy to fossil fuels.

That’s like saying the government subsidizes you unless it taxes 100% of your income.

David Yager writes:

The notion that Canadian governments in some way subsidize the cost of the final product to consumers – as per the dictionary definition – is preposterous. According to PetroCanada the taxes on a liter of gasoline in Canada in 2015 above and beyond the cost of petroleum, refining and distribution included a federal excise tax of $0.10 per liter, GST/HST ranging from 5% to 15%, a $0.667 per liter carbon tax in B.C., and provincial fuels taxes ranging from $0.13 to $0.192 per liter. Similar direct fuel cost levies exist for diesel fuel. These can total 25% or more of the total cost or more depending on crude prices and where you live. It is estimated these fuel levies provide Ottawa and the provinces with $15 billion annually. This is on top of another $18 billion oil and gas producers paid to all levels of government in 2014 in the form of property taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes and producing royalties.

Some subsidy.

— Read more at EnergyNow

Government Puts Salt on Fort Mac Wounds

With its politically motivated ‘anti-dumping’ laws and tariffs.

 

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