On Toronto Tax Rates

You will read in the Toronto Star that Toronto houses are under taxed. This is not true. What is true is that a $500K home in Toronto is taxed less than a $500K home in Brampton or Mississauga.

But, what is a $500K home in terms of support cost?

Here are three pages to let you see the actual average price of a home, and a detached home, in each city. I’ll summarize, for average and detached bungalow:

——————-average               detached
Mississauga: $658,925    and    $540,605
Brampton:      $513,092   and    $449,093
Toronto:          $776,684   and    $957,517

The point in the Star article is that a $500K home in Toronto gets a tax  break compared to a $500K home in the other municipalities.

I submit that this is fallacious arguing.

The value of a house has little bearing on its cost to the city it is located in. Put it another way, a detached house in Toronto at double the selling value is not twice as expensive to police, supply water/gas/hydro/sewer, pave the road,  as a similar house at half the selling value in another municipality.

I can show this with a silly example.
My neighbour and I each win the lottery.
He takes his million dollars and uses it to gold-plate his front door, renovate his basement, whatever. The MPAC value of his house goes up but his cost to the municipality is the same. He pays more taxes
I take my million dollars and tell the police I want extra protection as I have it in negotiable diamonds in my basement. The MPAC value of my house stays down, but my cost to the municipality goes up. My taxes stay the same.

MPAC is a way of deciding who should pay. It should be decided by level of service, but that’s far too logical for politicians. So they say how much they need, spread it over the entire MPAC sum, and tell you what taxes you’ll pay for the privilege of owning your property.

MPAC is imho a crock in that my assessment is similar to, or higher than, my neighbours with significant upgrades I don’t have. If I appeal and my neighbours then get shafted, I’ll still have to live here. So I stay mute.

Saying that Toronto taxes are a ridiculous bargain is ridiculous. If we paid for service, we could be expected to pay more – if we actually got more service. But much of our infrastructure cost is now in transit (pun intended) and we aren’t the only ones driving or commuting or taxiing. So why should we pay for that part of the bill? Why not share it with the commuters?

I had the bad experience of incorrectly going far west of Highway 427 on the Gardiner/QEW rather early in the morning. Twenty minutes west, I turned around to come back. Two hours to get back to the 427 exit. All of those drivers live west of me: Mississauga Brampton whatever. They should pay for the TO area roads. They are using them.

Yes, I am a toll troll.

I also think our politicians are smoking cheap dope. We have a lot of staff suggestions to raise revenue, all of which but tolls have been shot down by cowards afraid of their next time to the polls. We have $32 Billion ‘approved’ in infrastructure costs with no money to pay for any of it. We have a UPX that is a total joke; when ridership was a third of needed to break even, they cut the fare in half – now  needing seven times as many riders. Not to mention the one-stop Scarborough subway. Rob Ford must be smiling in his grave.

I am not.

Are you? That’s the dumb question.


The electoral college will in all likelihood install Donald Trump today as the next president of the United States of America.

Some of us will remember that this same Donald Trump claimed that the election was being rigged.

Some of us will remember that this same Donald Trump asked the Russians to ‘find Hillary’s missing eMails’.

Some of us may have watched Barack Obama cover this in an interview with Trevor Noah. (I can’t find a video that everyone can watch, so no hotlink this time. Sorry.)

The election was, in a sense, rigged. Clinton did get more actual votes, but the electoral college system favours smaller sates.

The election was, in a sense, rigged. News media eager for the sound bite gave Trump an enormous amount of visibility.

The election was, in a sense, rigged. EMails released were fairly inconsequential, and all about the Democrats, with nothing said against the Republicans. However the news media made a lot of noise, as noted above.

The election was rigged. Simple as that. There is a current of anger in many ‘advanced’ nations that can be tapped into. Watch France, for example. And we all know about  Brexit. Trump simply cashed in on this. Metaphor deliberate.

Canadians, being pathologically nice, revolted by electing a revoltingly nice (and intelligent) prime minister. But we won’t stay nice long, living next to a Trump-ed United States. We can’t afford to.

We’ve been trumped. So have you. All of us.

Amazon.com – what is your problem? Two complaints

I have five poetry books available in several places, including www.amazon.com. Two of these books still have the same dumb problem I’ve reported to Amazon several times over several months.

They show more than half the book on a ‘look inside.’

My other three books show only a few pages of text, but enough for you, a potential reader, to get a feel for the work and this author’s voice.

I reported this to Amazon last July and was told again in October that it would be fixed. It’s pretty easy to see the problem. Simply go to my author page and select each book in turn, and ‘look inside.’ It’s pretty obvious that three books show a few pages, and that two show more than 40 pages.

That’s my first complaint with Amazon. They give away too much of two of my books. And they can’t fix it, despite repeated promises and apologies.

My second complaint concerns disappearing reviews. One of my earliest positive reviews was by one Shell Tidings and it has disappeared.

I do Kindle Book Reviews for other writers under my own ID but as a Kindle Book Review Team member. I follow all the rules. I keep all the files. I have every eMail ever involved. I am, I think, the only person currently doing poetry. I take all genres, although the KBR team page only mentions poetry. Somehow word gets around. I am tough but thorough.

Several of my book reviews have been re-requested because the author involved found out it (the review) had disappeared. Of course I simply re-posted it from my files.

Recently I received an eMail from Amazon requesting me to review two specific books. Since I keep records, I checked and confirmed that I had indeed previously seen both works. I had reviewed one, and had suggested to the author of the other that some changes should be made. I don’t give a poor review when I think an author can easily fix a work and get better marketing help from what I might decide to write.

So, I checked and found the following: My review of the one work had for sure disappeared, and it wasn’t that long ago – October 5. As for the other one, I had checked its reviews and noted one that was a bit harsh. You will recall I chose not to review this particular version of this particular work. Well, that rough review is missing also.

That’s my second complaint with Amazon. They lose Kindle Book reviews. It seems to be random.

By Other Means

War is the continuation of politics by other means. (? Churchill ?)

Economics is the continuation of war by other means. (imho.)

Here is one of many places where you can check the unemployment statistics of various European countries. I will content myself with a few observations that I find diagnostic.

  • Euro zone overall: 9.8% unemployment.
  • Germany:              4.1 % unemployment.
  • Greece:               23.4%
  • Spain:                 19.2%

My recollection is that Austerity was a German recipe to be eaten by other countries.

Here is one of many places where you can check the balance of trade of various countries worldwide. I will content myself, again, with a few observations that I find diagnostic.

  • Germany:                        19,993 million Euros, surplus.
  • European Union overall: 18,296 million Euros, surplus.
  • Greece:                            1,176 million Euros, deficit.
  • Spain:                               2,560 million Euros, deficit.

So Germany’s trade surplus is greater than the European Union’s surplus. The rest of the EU, as a whole, is running a trade deficit.

The austerity countries (I only picked two for simplicity) are running trade deficits while being forced to beg for money they can only repay with more money they will have to beg to borrow. In short, the future of the EU loser countries is being sabotaged, perhaps permanently.

Greece forgave Germany a large debt in the past. Everyone has conveniently forgotten this.You can find this on the internet easily, here is one example which I will quote briefly:

The 1953 agreement, in which Greece and about 20 other countries effectively wrote off a large chunk of Germany’s loans and restructured the rest, is a landmark case that shows how effective debt relief can be. It helped spark what became known as the German economic miracle. So it’s perhaps ironic that Germany is now among the countries resisting Greece’s requests to have part of its debts written off.

Germany, apparently, never forgives. Even the fact that it was helped after losing a war it started.

So now, ‘By Other Means,’ Germany is, imho, at war with most of the Euro zone.

Now for the dumb questions:

If the tables get turned again, will there be any sympathy for a Germany needing a bailout?

Is the UK right to want out of the Euro zone? Is Trump right to want out of trade deals? Are those deals the continuation of war, by economic means?