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  1. Poll: What is your stance on the legitimization and regulation of sex work in Canada? Options: Yes, prostitution should be legalized and regulated like any other industry. No, prostitution should remain illegal as it is morally wrong and harmful to society. I am undecided or do not have an opinion on the legalization of prostitution.
  2. Will be sharing a detailed analysis of each step involved in starting a business according to researched information and my experiences. I will use the business of a fitness instructor as an example, it's an easy type of business to build a framework for. Additionally, I will provide useful resources such as tech tools and free marketing tools available on various websites, as well as tips on the most effective strategies to use. This framework can be applied to any type of business; you will just need to adapt it to your specific needs. (=) Basic Framework | Fitness Instructor. 🏋️‍♂️ *This thread will be ongoing for a few weeks, feel free to contribute if you want. 1. Conduct Market Research Identify your target audience Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Identify your competitors and evaluate their offerings 2. Create a Business Plan Determine your business model Develop a marketing plan Determine your financial projections 3. Establish Your Business Choose a business name Register your business Secure any necessary licenses and permits 4. Build Your Brand Create a brand identity (logo, colors, fonts, etc.) Develop a brand voice Build a website that reflects your brand 5. Develop Your Marketing Strategy Choose the best marketing channels to reach your target audience (social media, email marketing, paid advertising, etc.) Develop a content strategy to engage your audience Build a social media presence and engage with your followers 6. Launch Your Business Develop a launch plan Host a launch event Reach out to local media to gain exposure 7. Monitor Your Progress and Adjust Your Strategy Track your metrics (sales, website traffic, social media engagement, etc.) Use the data to adjust your marketing strategy Continuously improve your offerings to meet the needs of your customers For the first episode, which will be in a few days, the focus will be on conducting market research as Step 1. Stay tuned ->
  3. Poll: What is your opinion about the federal government workers going on strike this week? Based on this article: from The Globe and Mail. Options: I support the federal government workers I oppose the federal government workers strike and believe that the employees should return to work I understand the concerns of both the federal government employees and taxpayers, and I hope that a resolution can be reached quickly to minimize the impact on everyone involved Other
  4. There is a case (different type) now, however, that reminded me of AIG, for those who are familiar with the 2008 crisis. I think it was about $85 billion that they got. The question for today is: Should "Too Big to Fail" be "Too big to exist" regarding banks and other companies?
  5. Today, Elon Musk released a statement in which he announced that he had updated the funding label for the CBC to "69% government funded" following protests by the organization, who claimed that their funding was less than 70%. 😎 The CBC has paused Twitter. They follow NPR and PBS in the United States after being labelled: "government funded." This got me thinking, for some reason, what would happen if Big Tech took on a more political role in Canada? I am curious to know your opinion on this matter: Would you be in favour of a Big Tech Federal Political Party in Canada? Options: Yes, I would support a Big Tech Federal Political Party in Canada because they have the expertise, resources, and influence to tackle complex issues related to technology, innovation, and the digital economy. Furthermore, they can leverage their vast networks and data-driven approaches to drive positive change and promote transparency, accountability, and ethical practices in the political system. No, I would not support a Big Tech Federal Political Party in Canada because it could create conflicts of interest, lead to monopolistic practices, and undermine democratic values such as diversity, representation, and fair competition. Moreover, it could exacerbate existing power imbalances and weaken the independence and autonomy of the political system. I am undecided or neutral on the question of supporting a Big Tech Federal Political Party in Canada because I need more information about their policies, values, and goals. I believe it is important to evaluate each party based on their track record, platform, and leadership, and to assess their potential impact on society, the economy, and the environment. Other.
  6. This poll is based on the ⬆️ trending article from The Toronto Sun: Conservatives want Twitter to label CBC accounts as 'government-funded' media CBC said in a statement that that is 'clearly not the case'. Do you agree with labelling CBC accounts as ‘government-funded’ media?
  7. Poll (CA & US): What is political polarisation driven by in Canada and America, everywhere really? Multiple Options Poll: Ideology Media Tribalism Economic Factors Historical Legacies Other
  8. ⬆️ Trending almost everywhere: The federal minimum wage rising to $16.65 on April 1 What is your view? Full Release: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2023/03/federal-minimum-wage-rising-to-1665-on-april-1.html
  9. This is trending and decided to make a thread about it. ⬆️ Why Canada’s Banks Remain ‘Stable and Resilient’ The country’s financial stability, and the high profitability of its banks at a time when those in the U.S. are in turmoil, comes from strong regulations. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/18/world/canada/why-canadas-banks-remain-stable-and-resilient.html Do you agree with the New York Times' opinion on Canadian Banks?
  10. Which best describes your view of the estate (inheritance) tax? Canada, there is no inheritance tax at the federal level. Instead, the Canadian government imposes an estate tax, which is essentially a tax on the value of the deceased person's estate at the time of their death. Ontario does not have a separate inheritance tax. However, when someone dies and their estate is settled, the estate may be subject to estate administration tax, also known as probate fees, which are calculated based on the value of the estate. A fee of 1.5% is charged on the first $50,000 of an estate's value and 0.5% on the value of the estate above $50,000. United States. As of 2023, the federal estate tax exemption is $12.06 million per person. If an estate is valued at less than this amount, no federal estate tax is owed. If an estate is valued above this amount, then the excess is taxed at a rate that varies depending on the value of the estate. It's worth noting that some states also have their own estate or inheritance taxes. Options: Status Quo The inheritance tax should be eliminated entirely Make it less, but don't eliminate it The wealthiest need to pay a higher percentage of their inheritance Other, add a comment
  11. 2008: Did you agree with the $85-billion bailout from the Federal Reserve towards AIG? Was the correct choice made? If the choice was not made, it could have been a way bigger disaster, said the US Secretary of Treasury at the time, Paulson. Full Documentary:
  12. Almost every other day I walk by one payday loan company on my way to get my food, there are cars parked there to borrow 300$ or 100$ for 20$, I don't recall exactly now. That is what the poster showed outside. So I decided to search and learn more about this phenomenona. I came up with 3 arguments for PayDay Loans and 3 arguments against them. FOR: Quick access to funds. No credit check required Possible Convenient repayment options AGAINST: High-interest rates. Predatory lending practices Lack of financial education I understand the argument. Payday loans are a product of the market demand for quick and easy access to cash. Sure, part of capitalism. However, can the government do more in terms of policy without being accused of communism? 😄 I hope at least these payday loan companies verify the income. I am really curious about how their process works. Will do more digging in the next few days If I have some free time. Where do you stand?
  13. Is time the Reasonable Libertarians have some voice too. 😄 Enjoy - Trending & Comical: ---> These funds were for the Covid-19 era ... but why not buy yourself a little something too? LYRICS: Getting Congress to cut spending is getting harder these days The only thing that we've been trimming are our resumes We sent out money for pandemic help But don't hesitate to go spoil yourself Is your municipal golf course in need of a spritz? Do you want a stadium? Do you not exist? Can you not even afford to put air in your balls? Pick up the phone and put in a call to Uncle Sugar Sending cash to the entire nation Uncle Sugar Send the tab to the next generation All is right in the world when you're reading the blotter And see Ted Kennedy's institute is underwater Sure this cash was for less people dead But at least we finally found a way to pay a debt How could you've known when you borrowed for that fancy degree The gender studies companies would not be hiring? You signed your name and said you'd pay them one way or another Don't they know your daddy's creepy brother is Uncle Sugar Sending cash to the entire nation Uncle Sugar Send the tab to the next generation It was the greatest civilization the world has ever seen Though not everything they did was done impeccably Every few decades their dollars cut in half From the looks of this they also worshipped golden calves And when a pandemic came and times got hard They gave cash to first responders…of misparked cars Voted themselves money, borrowed abroad How did it end? With thunderous applause for Uncle Sugar Sending cash to the entire nation Uncle Sugar Send the tab to the next generation https://reason.com/video/2023/02/17/remy-uncle-sugar/ @myata the Libertarians above are better than anarchists. Is a much better choice in my view than other rebel ways.
  14. One of the things that I have noticed is one of my favorite populists, Bernie Sanders ranting over the years about "Free Colleges, Cancel Debt." I don't watch TV that often but when Bernie starts pointing the finger, I rather watch robots on CNBC. I am willing to listen to defenders of this idea, of free colleges, I don't pretend to be an expert on North American schooling system, the number of tests that one had to do in some parts of Europe in order to make it to higher education, allowed a certain percentage to be paid by the government via a bursary, that's all I know. It is/was affordable that way there. ---> but a question would be, where is Bernie going to get the money to fund this if a lot of people want to go to college for free? Looking forward to reasonable responses. 😄
  15. Any other political junkies on the board waiting for the State of the Union address? Set my reminder for 9 PM. Had enough of listening of the commentary before from so called experts on TV. Rather listen to the man direct.This is why I won't tune in at 7 PM as ABC offered. Instead is USA Today, right at 9PM: A report by Axios: Team Biden is convinced that its State of the Union challenge today at 9 PM is as much about perception as reality. Why it matters: Economic indicators are heading in the exact direction the White House predicted, but voters are deeply skeptical that the economy is working for them. Team Biden is eager for the president to tell his story and are willing to use one of his most precious resources — time in his annual address to Congress — to make the case directly to the American public. The White House has given lawmakers "palm cards," a list of economic data points that can fit in their hands, to help amplify President Biden's argument that manufacturing jobs are up and inflation is down. Four in 10 Americans say they are not as well-off financially since Biden took office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday. Biden’s political and economic advisers know that is a problem that needs to be addressed as he prepares to announce his reelection campaign. What they're saying: “On average, American households are in a better position than they were before the pandemic hit,” Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters Monday afternoon. But at the same time, he acknowledged that “the economic anxiety is real.” Deese responded to a question about why 41% of Americans feel they are worse off, according to the Washington Post poll, by implying that “two-thirds of Americans say their circumstances are better.” A reporter later corrected him that the poll indicated that 16% of Americans feel better off, with 42% saying they felt the same. Driving the news: Biden’s economic comments will be both in the future and past tense. He’ll focus on the progress the economy has made, including a 3.4% unemployment rate, the lowest level in some 50 years, and a surge in manufacturing jobs. He'll also go through the motions of asking Congress, including a new House Republican majority, to pass the parts of his Build Back Better agenda that were left on the cutting room floor last year by a Democrat-controlled Senate. Among Biden’s demands: a special surtax on billionaires and a call to quadruple taxes on corporations for stock buybacks. He'll also make another pass at expanding the Child Tax Credit. As part of his “unity” theme, Biden also plans to say that Republicans and Democrats must come together to pass laws meant to reel in the power and influence of Big Tech, possibly highlighting the specific areas of online privacy, content moderation and antitrust, Axios' Ashley Gold reports. The big picture: The U.S. labor market is hot, annualized GDP growth is at 2.9%, and inflation, once sky high, is moderating. Biden’s first move was a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package in 2021, followed by a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill later that year. In 2022, he persuaded Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to a $740 billion tax, health care and climate change compromise. Next came an agreement on $280 billion for semiconductors, with Biden jumping at any chance to visit many new chip manufacturing factories. The bottom line: Positive perceptions about the economy can be self-fulfilling. But economic fundamentals also matter: Before Biden speaks, Fed Chair Jay Powell will give his views at the Economic Club of Washington at 11am ET. https://www.axios.com/2023/02/07/biden-state-of-the-union-economy
  16. Quick random question on a nightly rant: Which one would you choose and why? a) The Federal Reserve (the Fed) to stay relatively independent of government to isolate the Fed from day-to-day political pressures in fulfilling its varying roles. Being investors, even if they make terrible mistakes, at the end the main goal is to be pragmatic and aim for stability. b) The Federal Reserve is given fully to "The People" then one man like Donald Trump or better yet Bernie Sanders, he likes to spend more digs in very deep and bankrupts the country. This scenario applies to any populist which thinks with his heart, not with his brain. ---> My choice, as you can spot from my BIAS in writing, is A) Anyone else wants to argue it opposite?
  17. Via Reason.com - Libertarian leading source Despite $80 billion in new funding, the agency is living up to its reputation of hassling low-income taxpayers over rich people. Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) released data provided to it by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on audits performed by the agency in fiscal year 2022. Despite the infusion of new funding earmarked for the IRS via last year's Inflation Reduction Act, the agency continued historic trends of hassling primarily low-income taxpayers, with relatively few millionaires and billionaires getting caught up in the audit sweep. "The taxpayer class with unbelievably high audit rates—five and a half times virtually everyone else—were low-income wage-earners taking the earned income tax credit," reported TRAC, noting that the poorest taxpayers are "easy marks in an era when IRS increasingly relies upon correspondence audits yet doesn't have the resources to assist taxpayers or answer their questions." In fact, "if one ignores the fiction of auditing a millionaire through simply sending a letter through the mail, the odds that millionaires received a regular audit by a revenue agent (1.1%) was actually less than the audit rate of the targeted lowest income wage-earners whose audit rate was 1.27 percent!" The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, directed $80 billion worth of new funding over the next decade to the IRS so it could hire 87,000 new workers, purportedly to better target millionaire and billionaire scofflaws. The Biden administration and credulous journalists claimed that this would in no way increase audits for those making under $400,000 annually—suspect assurances not provided within the text of the actual bill. This increased capacity meant only those at the top would be targeted, supporters insisted. But this ignores how the IRS's incentives work and how agencywide reform might be too heavy of a lift. Correspondence audits—which are conducted via mail, and are the type frequently used when interacting with the poorest of taxpayers—are much easier and cheaper to conduct than other types of audits. Plus, the earned income tax credit is easy to get wrong. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that new hires with experience in the field will take almost three years of ramp-up time, with more junior new hires taking longer. The lag time between 2022's infusion of funding, and legitimately increased capacity, will be enormous—if the agency can even snag the best in the industry when TurboTax and H&R Block will surely be swelling their own ranks. It makes sense that, given a dearth of experienced auditors not likely to be fixed soon, the agency would rely on the easiest and least time-consuming types of audits. But be suspicious of the idea that an infusion of cash will solve longstanding problems within the IRS. This is, after all, the agency that sent $1.1 billion in child welfare payments to the wrong people over the course of merely five months during the pandemic. It's the agency that was hacked back in 2015, resulting in the personal information of more than 700,000 taxpayers being compromised. It's the agency that has been foolishly going after Americans who hold $10,000 or more in a foreign bank since 2010, never mind the fact that many of them are middle-class expats, not folks with yachts in the Mediterranean. And it's the (leaky) agency that enabled the richest Americans' intimate financial information to be thumbed through by ProPublica readers. It will take more than a little cash to fix all this, and, as the IRS's competence and tenacity increase, so too will the tenacity of the vast infrastructure of accountants and lawyers hired by the rich to creatively minimize their tax burdens. Though some libertarians may argue such an agency ought not to exist in the first place and cheer its relative ineptitude at going after the well-to-do, it's decidedly absurd that the agency taxpayers just fed $80 billion to has, for another year, continued its assault on the poor. https://reason.com/2023/01/06/in-2022-the-irs-went-after-the-very-poorest-taxpayers/
  18. Political criticism of Southwest's mass flight cancelations mask a cronyist relationship between government and the passenger airline industry. One hates to see friends fight. It's therefore a little uncomfortable to watch an airline that's received billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts on the outs with politicians who actively supported those bailouts. Southwest Airlines has been in disarray after a mix of winter storms and the company's outdated crew tracking system led it to cancel the vast majority of its flights this week. Passengers have been left stranded, with no luggage and no idea when they'll actually be able to get to their destinations. Politicians have been eager to capitalize on the public's rage by calling for investigations of Southwest and stricter regulations of the airline industry generally. "The problems at Southwest Airlines over the last several days go beyond weather. The Committee will be looking into the causes of these disruptions and its impact to consumers," said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D–Wash.), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, yesterday. The senator also refreshed her demand that the U.S. Department of Transportation require airlines to cover passengers' secondary costs of canceled flights like meals and hotel rooms. Cantwell's criticism of Southwest contrasts with her advocacy of airline bailouts during the pandemic. She supported the $25 billion in relief grants to passenger airlines that were passed as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act in 2020. In exchange for that money, the CARES Act program required airlines to forgo forced layoffs, stock buybacks, and increases in executive compensation. They also had to provide the federal government with stock options and maintain minimum levels of service. That latter requirement led to "ghost flights" with more staff than customers. At that stage in the pandemic, there were few opponents of federally funded bailouts of just about anything. Yet Cantwell was also an advocate for a second round of airline bailouts later in 2020 that was far less certain. At the time, proposals for a second stimulus bill from both Democrats and Republicans didn't include additional money for airlines. But Cantwell urged lawmakers to "come back to the table" with the airline industry about another round of aid. The spending bill that eventually passed in December 2020 included $15 billion for passenger airlines. The American Rescue Plan passed in March 2021 included $14 billion in grants for passenger airlines. Cantwell not only voted for that bill, but also authored a provision of it that extended bailout funds to manufacturing companies in the aerospace supply chain. Altogether, passenger airlines received some $54 billion in COVID bailouts. Southwest has claimed about $7 billion of that money. The first two bills containing airline bailouts had wide bipartisan support. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was a partisan, Democratic bill. So Cantwell has been the most vocal about both supporting airlines financially while rhetorically criticizing them, but she's hardly the only person to be in that position. For instance, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) supported all three bills containing airline bailouts. In the wake of the Southwest debacle this week, she's called for stricter anti-trust enforcement in the airline industry. It's not obvious why Cantwell and Warren are so offended by airlines charging customers for canceled flights when they've supported taking billions from those same consumers in the form of taxes to pay for flights they didn't even want to take in the first place. Their outrage now comes across as a little less than genuine. The investigations and regulations they're now calling for are hardly going to make taxpayers whole for the bailouts they've already paid for. Meanwhile, this week's massive flight cancelations from are a good reminder of what a raw deal those bailouts were for taxpayers and consumers. Rather than allow the shock of the pandemic to create some needed disruption in the passenger airline industry, Congress chose to prop up a messy status quo. The $7 billion Southwest received from three COVID relief bills allowed ineffective practices at the airline to persist. Allowing the competitive pressures to more freely do their work might have spurred some productive change within Southwest. It's something to consider while you wait for your flight. Reason.com - Leading Libertarian Source
  19. via NewsWeek Mr. McConnell time to call DeSantis? = ) Donald Trump Calls on Mitch McConnell to be Impeached The former president made the remarks on Thursday during an appearance on John Fredericks' Real America's Voice show. "Democrats are scheming, probably with some of the RINOs, in order to blow the debt ceiling up," Fredericks said. "What is your position on that?" Republican in Name Only, or RINO, is a derogative term some Trump supporters use for GOP politicians they think are too liberal or moderate. "Mitch McConnell keeps allowing it to happen. I mean they ought to impeach Mitch McConnell if he allows that. Frankly, Mitch McConnell – they have something on him." Newsweek has reached out to Mitch McConnell for comment. No answer yet.
  20. The Long-Term Costs of the Ukraine War Will Be Staggering: After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian economy seemed destined for a nosedive. International sanctions threatened to strangle the economy, leading to a plunge in the value of the ruble and Russian financial markets. Everyday Russians appeared poised for privation. More than eight months into the war, this scenario has not come to pass. Indeed, some data suggest that the opposite is true, and the Russian economy is doing fine. The ruble has strengthened against the dollar, and although Russian GDP has shrunk, the contraction may well be limited to less than three percent in 2022. Look behind the moderate GDP contraction and inflation figures, however, and it becomes evident that the damage is in fact severe: the Russian economy is destined for a long period of stagnation. The state was already interfering in the private sector before the war. That tendency has become only more pronounced, and it threatens to further stifle innovation and market efficiency. The only way to preserve the viability of the Russian economy is either through major reforms—which are not in the offing—or an institutional disruption similar to the one that occurred with the fall of the Soviet Union. The misapprehension of what sanctions against Russia would accomplish can be explained in part by unrealistic expectations of what economic measures can do. Simply put, they are not the equivalent of a missile strike. Yes, in the long run, sanctions can weaken the economy and lower GDP. But in the short run, the most one can reasonably hope for is a massive fall in Russia’s imports. It is only natural that the ruble strengthens rather than weakens as the demand for dollars and euros drops. And as the money that would have been spent on imports is redirected towards domestic production, GDP should in fact rise rather than fall. The effect of sanctions on consumption and quality of life take longer to work their way through the economy. At the beginning of the war, in February and early March, Russians rushed to buy dollars and euros to protect themselves against a potential plunge in the ruble. Over the next eight months, with Russian losses in Ukraine mounting, they bought even more. Normally, this would have caused a significant devaluation of the ruble because when people buy foreign currency, the ruble plunges. Because of sanctions, however, companies that imported goods before the war stopped purchasing currency to finance these imports. As a result, imports fell by 40 percent in the spring. One consequence was that the ruble strengthened against the dollar. In short, it was not that sanctions did not work. On the contrary, their short-term effect on imports was unexpectedly strong. Such a fall in imports was not expected. If Russia’s central bank had anticipated such a massive fall, it would not have had introduced severe restrictions on dollar deposits in March to prevent a collapse in the value of the ruble. Economic sanctions did, of course, have other immediate effects. Curbing Russia’s access to microelectronics, chips, and semiconductors made production of cars and aircraft almost impossible. From March to August, Russian car manufacturing fell by an astonishing 90 percent, and the drop in aircraft production was similar. The same holds true for the production of weapons, which is understandably a top priority for the government. Expectations that new trade routes through China, Turkey, and other countries that are not part of the sanctions regime would compensate for the loss of Western imports have been proved wrong. The abnormally strong ruble is a signal that back-door import channels are not working. If imports were flowing into Russia through hidden channels, importers would have been buying dollars, sending the ruble down. Without these critical imports, the long-term health of Russia’s high-tech industry is dire. Even more consequential than Western technology sanctions is the fact that Russia is unmistakably entering a period in which political cronies are solidifying their hold over the private sector. This has been a long time in the making. After the 2008 global financial crisis hit Russia harder than any other G20 country, Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially nationalized large enterprises. In some cases, he placed them under direct government control; in other cases, he placed them under the purview of state banks. To stay in the government’s good graces, these companies have been expected to maintain a surplus of workers on their payrolls. Even enterprises that remained private have in essence been prohibited from firing employees. This did provide the Russian people with economic security—at least for the time being—and that stability is a critical part of Putin’s compact with his constituents. But an economy in which enterprises cannot modernize, restructure, and fire employees to boost profits will stagnate. Not surprisingly, Russia’s GDP growth from 2009 to 2021 averaged 0.8 percent per year, lower than the period in the 1970s and 1980s that preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even before the war, Russian businesses faced regulations that deprived them of investment. Advanced industries such as energy, transportation, and communication—that is, those that would have benefited the most from foreign technology and foreign investment—faced the greatest restrictions. To survive, companies operating in this space were forced to maintain close ties with government officials and bureaucrats. In exchange, these government protectors ensured that these businesses faced no competition. They outlawed foreign investment, passed laws that put onerous burdens on foreigners doing business in Russia, and opened investigations against companies operating without government protection. The result was that government officials, military generals, and high-ranking bureaucrats—many of them Putin’s friends—became multimillionaires. The living standards of ordinary Russians, in contrast, have not improved in the past decade. Since the beginning of the war, the government has tightened its grip over the private sector even further. Starting in March, the Kremlin rolled out laws and regulations that give the government the right to shut down businesses, dictate production decisions, and set prices for manufactured goods. The mass mobilization of military recruits that started in September is providing Putin with another cudgel to wield over Russian businesses because to preserve their workforces, company leaders will need to bargain with government officials to ensure that their employees are exempt from conscription. To be sure, the Russian economy has long operated under a government stranglehold. But Putin’s most recent moves are taking this control to a new level. As the economists Andrei Shleifer and Robert Vishny have argued, the one thing worse than corruption is decentralized corruption. It’s bad enough when a corrupt central government demands bribes; it is even worse when several different government offices are competing for handouts. Indeed, the high growth rates of Putin’s first decade in office were in part due to how he centralized power in the Kremlin, snuffing out competing predators such as oligarchs operating outside of the government’s fold. The emphasis on creating private armies and regional volunteer battalions for his war against Ukraine, however, is creating new power centers. That means that decentralized corruption will almost certainly resurface in Russia. That could create a dynamic reminiscent of the 1990s, when Russian business owners relied on private security, mafia ties, and corrupt officials to maintain control of newly privatized enterprises. Criminal gangs employing veterans of the Russian war in Afghanistan offered “protection” to the highest bidder or simply plundered profitable businesses. The mercenary groups that Putin created to fight in Ukraine will play the same role in the future. Russia could still eke out a victory in Ukraine. It’s unclear what winning would look like; perhaps permanent occupation of a few ruined Ukrainian cities would be packaged as a triumph. Alternatively, Russia could lose the war, an outcome that would make it more likely that Putin would lose power. A new reformist government could take over and withdraw troops, consider reparations, and negotiate a lifting of trade sanctions. No matter the outcome, however, Russia will emerge from the war with its government exercising authority over the private sector to an extent that is unprecedented anywhere in the world aside from Cuba and North Korea. The Russian government will be omnipresent yet simultaneously not strong enough to protect businesses from mafia groups consisting of demobilized soldiers armed with weapons they acquired during the war. Particularly at first, they will target the most profitable enterprises, both at the national and local level. For the Russian economy to grow, it will need not only major institutional reforms but also the kind of clean slate that Russia was left with in 1991. The collapse of the Soviet state made institutions of that era irrelevant. A long and painful process of building new institutions, increasing state capacity, and reducing corruption followed—until Putin came to power and eventually dismantled market institutions and built his own system of patronage. The lesson is grim: even if Putin loses power and a successor ushers in significant reforms, it will take at least a decade for Russia to return to the levels of private-sector production and quality of life the country experienced just a year ago. Such are the consequences of a disastrous, misguided war. https://foreignaffairs.com/russian-federation/russias-road-economic-ruin
  21. After three months of distance learning that saw low student participation and put parents in the impossible position of teaching their kids while trying to work from home, the Province of Ontario is now proposing three options for September: return of all students to daily school with careful health hygiene, 100% distance learning, or a hybrid that divides all students into two cohorts that attend on alternate days/weeks. While it looks like 100% distance learning is off the table unless there's a big surge of Covid-19 cases or a local outbreak, the hybrid model seems to be the one being promoted by the Province. I believe this would be disastrous for both education and the economy. There's no way to get workplaces up and running on a full-time basis if parents cannot do their work without having to take care of their children at the same time. A part-time return to school would put working parents, including educators, in a very compromising position, having to either watch their children for half of the work week while trying to do their jobs or scramble to find daycare at the same time as thousands of other parents. Such a plan would not be safer than full-time school for students, as many of these children would be in daycares with students from multiple schools, presenting a greater health risk than having students attend one facility with the same children all week. The poorest families with the most precarious employment would be hardest hit by a part-time school schedule, having to pay for daycare or make the choice of risking losing their jobs in order to take care of their kids. We know that a learning model that is exclusively distance-learning from home is bad for student engagement, socialization, and education outcomes. We also know that having everyone return to school in a safe way than includes the necessary social distancing is a challenge without reducing class sizes and ensuring there is additional classroom space in schools. However, this can be done without substantial new hiring or budgetary increases. We need to accept a few conditions in order to make daily return to school possible. I propose, for staffing reasons, that non-classroom teachers (librarians, planning time teachers, French as a second language teachers, and a proportion of special education teaching staff) become regular classroom teachers throughout the remainder of the pandemic, so that class sizes can be reduced. While this may reduce the number of special education teachers available to provide segregated classes for special needs students, we were moving to a more inclusive special education model and classroom teachers will be better positioned to support special needs students with smaller class sizes. In order to have this kind of schedule, certain curriculum will have to be provided online, such as FSL. However, it would protect on-site learning for the core curricula of literacy, numeracy, science, and even geography and history (Social Studies). Phys. Ed would be taught within the classroom or outside where possible. This schedule requires that teachers take their planning time at home, as teachers would not be getting their own planning time coverage from non-classroom planning time teachers during the school day. The planning time and FSL teachers would teach regular classes. This schedule would shorten the school day, not only because of the planning time teachers would be taking at home, but also because this shorter school day eliminates the need for an afternoon recess, and for safety reasons, the lunch hour should be shortened, probably to 30 or 40 minutes. Unstructured periods like recess provide too much opportunity for breaking social distancing guidelines. Reducing recess time doesn’t impact instructional time. Shorter recesses could be taken in the regular classroom. Teachers could take their classes outside as long as classes don’t combine. Another sticking point for having all students in elementary schools at the same time is lack of space for social distancing, especially if class sizes are capped at an arbitrary number of, say, 15. If non-classroom teachers’ rooms are freed up (libraries, gyms, conference rooms, etc.), there will be additional spaces available for classes. There should not be an arbitrary class size cap, but rather a formula of students to square footage, so that social distancing is maintained no matter the class size. For example, a class of 28 students could easily be accommodated in a library or gym. Most elementary schools would be able to safely social distance all of their students if all of their available school spaces were used and non-classroom teachers took regular classes. In exceptional circumstances, some classes would have to be relocated to other schools, board-owned facilities, or leased facilities (adult-learning centres, high schools, banquet halls or sports facilities that cannot open until the final phase of reopening, etc.). School boards are able to implement such measures if they are given some basic criteria to follow, and they can do this without increasing budgets, as long as there is flexibility in allocations. If parents were shown such a plan and assured that social distancing and the necessary cleaning and safety measures will be taken, most students would return to school on a full-time basis, albeit with a shorter school day. It's also advisable for staffing purposes to get a short-term commitment from parents as to whether or not they intend to send their children to school, for a time frame of say 2-3 months at a time. That way schools will have a firm basis upon which to divide students and staff classes. It’s only fair to ask this commitment from parents for budgeting purposes. Such a plan would be sustainable if the pandemic continued for many months or even years. It could be flexible and adjusted for periods of distance learning if there are surges or local outbreaks of Covid-19. It's important to have a clear process for return to school that maximizes safety while returning as many students to school on a daily basis as possible, so that students are not robbed of opportunities and families are not put under unnecessary additional stress, financial or otherwise. Thoughts?
  22. Ray Dalio, Founder of the World's Largest Hedge Fund, Says the System is Broken Of course, most progressives know what Dalio and others like him have been blind to all along. Without strong measures to restrain the worst of capitalism and force redistribution of wealth, this is exactly how capitalism always works - or rather fails to work. When you define success as being richer than everyone else, people will find a way to do just that. Whether it's fair, whether it's moral, whether it's legal; those are things for lawyers and ethicists to quibble over. Only ideologues and idiots think that it's relevant that capitalism is transparently not a meritocracy.
  23. It seems like many people would like governments to stop worrying about climate change and focus on the economy. Imagine their surprise then, when they find out that according to a survey of economists conducted by the World Economic Forum, the top risk to the global economy is the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Not only that, but many of the other top risks (large-scale involuntary migration, water crisis, extreme weather events, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, food crises) are all events that are associated with climate change. The lesson here is for those who think of the environmental issues as feel-good attempts by fuzzy-headed do-gooders. A healthy environment with a vibrant eco-system is not a nice-to-have, it's essential for a healthy economy.
  24. This is a REAL question but a mod suggested it was a farce and deleted my original post. THIS IS NOT A FRIVOLOUS POST!!!!. Harper has been in office for over decade and I really cannot find any achievement that benefited ALL Canadians - only wealthy businessmen. What will be his legacy - Secrecy? He should come to this thread and personally remind all of us how he helped us live better lives and how. Do YOU feel we have a better life than we did 10 years ago? How has Harper improved education, immigration, and our economy? We still have one of the highest tax rates in the world. Do you feel more or less confident about our economy and future today with Harper at the helm? In my own personal opinion, PM Harper spent most of his time concealing trade deals until they were already done and gave no time nor space for public debate or review by the House of Commons. In a way he is just a much smarter version of George W. Bush and far more secretive as well. He has put our troops in a precarious situation that basically invites terrorists to come seek revenge in Toronto or Vancouver. To be fair, he did the right thing to embrace refugees from Syria, but one right move does not make for a legacy IMHO. So those of you who think Steven Harper has done more good than harm for Canada, please step up here and provide a list of 10 achievements that benefited every Canadian and not a niche group of bankers or businessmen. Anyone who does not think this is a damn serious question and topic is simply a biased conservative. Hopefully Admin is more objective. This is a subject quite worthy of a real debate. Am I wrong to expect one real achievement for every year in office?
  25. Economist Jason Brennan looks at the corporate tax rate in Canada and how it relates to corporate profits. You can read his summary of the findings here, but I will discuss them below. Economic thinking since the 1980s goes that loosening the tax burden on corporations will encourage them to invest in infrastructure, jobs, and other ways of expanding the economy. Help us help you is the mantra. So we embarked on a journey of slashing the corporate income tax rate in order to encourage jobs and growth. Every government since then has followed the same line of thinking. Mulroney's government cut the CIT from 36% to 29% during his tenure. The Liberals under Chrétien and Martin cut deeper from 28% to 22% by 2004. The Harper Government made a straight cut to the statutory rate from 21% to 15%, as well as eliminating the 1.1% surtax. The provinces also reduced their share of CIT from an average of 14% to 11%. Over the last 30 years, the CIT has been halved by successive governments. If conservative economic thinking is correct, then this should lead to exceptional growth. More money in the hands of the biggest corporations in Canada should mean more jobs, investment, and growth. Except that assumption never came true. As the corporate rate fell, so too did corporate infrastructure investments as a proportion of GDP. In fact, historically there is a positive relationship between infrastructure investment and the CIT. The lower the CIT the less investment. While the corporate rate was falling, the GDP ground to a trickle. Somehow I doubt that's what conservative economists mean by trickle-down economics. So what did the top corporations do with the savings afforded to them by reduced CIT if they weren't investing it in growing the economy, expanding their businesses, and providing jobs for Canadians? They sat on it. The graph above, created by Brennan, shows the Corporate Income Tax rate inverted and overlaid with corporate cash on hand, i.e., money being held by companies that are not financial institutions (this doesn't include banks). These findings point to a considerable mistake made by successive governments both federal and provincial over the last generation. Our weak economy may be at least in part a product of poor economic policy based on faulty assumptions. Trickle-down economics never worked and will never work. It's time to end the last 30 years of backwards thinking.
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