Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Utopia

U·to·pi·a [yoo-toh-pee-uh] Show IPA
–noun
1.an imaginary island described in Sir Thomas More's Utopia (1516) as enjoying perfection in law, politics, etc.
2.(usually lowercase) an ideal place or state.
3.(usually lowercase) any visionary system of political or social perfection.
 
Wow. I want to move there! Where is this place? Is there such a place? Will there ever BE such a place?
 
I was reading a discussion on a facebook group today concerning the high cost of education for post-secondary students in Alberta. Someone wrote that basically it's their choice and therefore their responsibility (knowing that this would end up in a discussion about tax payers funding their tuitions). One of the other 'fans' wrote that college education is a necessity, not a choice.  I am of the mind that no, taxpayers should not be footing the bill for student tuition fees (and all that goes along with college/uni) because -- simply, WE CAN'T. Taxes are already used for SO many things, how can we possibly add even more to our backs and our childrens' backs? Is it even feasible to consider this right now??
 
There was mention of other countries that cover their students though college/uni without going bankrupt -- well if that is to be said, how about  providing links and an investigation into those countries' taxes, standard of living, and debt? For example, I have heard that Norway offers subsidies or even full coverage of post-secondary education. I wanted to find out what their citizens pay in taxes and found 14-24% VAT (similar to GST), and a flat income tax of 28% until you hit slightly higher amounts, which are then increased by 9% or 12%. (available at the Norweigan govt website, so you can find it yourself if you like). Keep in mind though that Norway is one of the highest standard of living places, so what we might see as a high-earning wage is actually what they would consider average, middle income, if not lower-middle income. Then I stumbled across another blog where he was also investigating the tax system of Norway because of it being mentioned so much for the healthcare debates in the US. You can read his blog HERE.
 
Next I looked up Sweden, world-renowned for it's high taxes but 'wonderful' social existence. I came across a Swedish paper written in English and was not surprised -- yes this might be biased but I remember learning in high school that things could eventually turn out badly in Sweden based on fewer people working to hold up the very social systems it boasts. Read the story HERE. Yes it is written by a man who is part of a 'free market think tank', as listed at the bottom, but his last line stands out to me regardless of his own opinions on the country's system: ""The taxes should at least be cut to a level where the average income earner ”only” pays 50 percent in taxes.""
 
So, in order to follow the lead of some of these countries who can apparently provide post-secondary subsidies without 'going bankrupt', as suggested on the FB group, should we suck it up and have over 50% income tax? WTF....???? I also found several mentions for corporations that listed 'on top of the 28% corporate tax, there is a Social Contribution Fee of 1%'. Apparently they were going to reduce the corporate tax to 26.3% last year in an effort to boost jobs.
 
Anyway, it's not rocket science to figure out that in order to perpetually support increasing amounts of social programs, taxes will have to be increased at some point. How much are we willing to pay? It's not just our incomes that are taxed, it's every product we purchase so if we have more money taken off our paychecks, and the prices of goods increase to support corporate tax hikes, we have LESS money to pay HIGHER prices on goods and services (even basics like food shelter and clothing).
 
How does that work for ya? And another thing to consider - it was mentioned that a lot of manual labor jobs require courses now --- perhaps people should ask WHY. In many cases that I personally know of, it was the GOVT that decided certain jobs needed some type of post-secondary education or courses for the workers. My job is one of them. Hmmm... the govt decides that certain courses are required in a private business and then taxpayers want to foot the bill??? Something is wrong with this picture. My bf works for a trucking company and they have various courses to take every year or two, sometimes several a year. His business chooses to pay for it because they know their workers would say 'this sucks' and quit. But, the business is not the one that decided what courses were needed, or how often they need to be updated - the Govt imposed those rules and they think up more courses as the years go by.
 
These issues are multi-faceted and must be thoroughly investigated before people start throwing around their ideas of Utopia. It's not that we don't want to help each other, it's often that WE CANNOT. If everything were free (which, remember, is never actually truly free), how much would we pay in taxes after all that hard work studying for the courses? Get a degree? Congrats! Now you can pay 50% taxes in order to financially support whoever else DECIDES on their own to go to college. That's your great prize. Does the world really work like this? Show me an example of where it truly has worked for hundreds of years (as in, showing me 20-50 years doesn't prove a single thing), and maybe I will believe it ;0

2 comments:

  1. Utopia is being a liberal in Toronto. But utopia has screwed up economics because liberalism is a system whereby the politically correct live on the backs on the politically incorrect. (real conservative)

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  2. The term utopia is kind of an inside joke left over from a time when educated persons would have some knowledge of classical languages. The word deliberately does not differentiate between eutopia and outopia. The former is the best of places, while the latter has a negation in it and therefore is no place anywhere.

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