Tuesday, October 5, 2010

retitled : How I got over $97,000 in 4 years from Canadian taxpayers

I was reading comments on various online newspapers over the past few days and noticed a trend of people saying that the Conservatives only want the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, the Conservatives keep 'taking from the downtrodden', etc.

It really made me wonder WHY. And it made me remember a time earlier in the year or last year when I commented on another blog that I got 'thousands' of dollars a month in financial aide when I was a single parent and a Liberal Regular who haunted that blog called my bluff. When I spelled it out for him, he did not believe me and it irritated the hell out of me. So I wanted to post the list of monthly, quarterly and bi-yearly aide I received 100% tax free courtesy of Albertan and Canadian tax payers. Firstly though, I want to point out that 11 years ago when I first entered the system, minimum wage was lower and I received less, but as minimum wage climbed, so did the amount of benefits I received. That seems a little bit odd, hence the title of my post - are we really getting anywhere if the amounts of money being handed out left and right are forever increasing? And when, for example, things like daycare subsidy in the province have increased over $200 a month in 10 years even though minimum wage went up over $2/hr, how are we ever going to get out of a deficit? Many things led to these increases - min wage caused many products to increase in price as businesses struggled to pay wages, someone fiddled with the housing market which resulted in grossly inflated home prices, rent increased with property tax, utility, etc fee hikes,,,, so you never really get ANYWHERE, and what is the point of that?

Anyway for those who keep up this mantra that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer and get 'nothing', here is a list of what I received each month from 2004 to 2008: Also keep in mind I was not on welfare or I would have received even more money - these are just standard amounts for a single parent of 2 kids

Daycare subsidy - $540/month for my one child in care
Alberta Health Care Premium Subsidy - $88/month
Housing subsidy - approx $400/month based on the local rental price for a duplex being  over $1000 a month where I paid $570 tops.
Child Tax Benefit - $575 to 650/month for 2 children
Monthly Total Benefits - $1678

GST (quarterly) - $250 x 4
Alberta Working Family Tax Credit (bi-yearly) - $500 x 2
Yearly Total Benefits - $2000

Other:
Professional Development for college courses - $1000 x 3 (3 years at $1000 per year)
Alberta Child Health Benefit (I did not pay for any prescriptions, dental care, eye care etc for the children but I do not know what I received in total benefits for sure because the kids had good teeth and weren't that sick, but the program was free for me to join, I'm guessing about $500+ in 4 years was given to me for their care)
Income Tax Return - I always got back 100% of my income tax paid at the end of the year, about $1300 each time x 4 years

So let's figure this out. In four years I received a minimum of $97,244 in direct aide from taxpayers. Again, that was WITHOUT being on welfare, and on top of my wages earned (less than $24,000 each year). I earned about $96,000 in those 4 years while working full time, and received MORE than that in aide.

So where on earth people get off saying that the poor get 'nothing', I have no idea. They obviously have a complete lack of understanding of what is available out there for families. This does not include the few times I went to the Food Bank, or the 2 years my kids were part of the Santa Claus program by the Salvation Army. I have probably even forgot a few things that I received along the way. I contributed virtually nothing to the tax program, but received all sorts of perks. I earned $500/month too much to apply for welfare, but let's say I had... I know that right off the bat I would have received another $250/month towards my housing subsidy and I would not have had to pay the $60/month for daycare that I was responsible for. And I would have received a minimum of $300/month for 'core essentials' (food, toilet paper, soap, etc). That would have added another tag of  nearly 30 thousand dollars to my four years of aide totals... wow......

Anyway I just thought of something else - I did not have to pay school fees because I could apply for subsidy for that as well and I received about $400 for that so tack that onto my tally.

Now do you wonder why all of these programs are like a cancer that grows and grows and has no hope in hell of ever stopping? Am I saying that I should have lived in a cardboard box with my kids? No - but I am smart enough to know that everything is relative - the cost of everything has risen due to the govt farting around with the totals and trying to make everyone more equal. Perhaps if all of this crap had not started in the first place, it would not cost $1000 a month for a small apartment in my region. Maybe it wouldn't cost an arm and a leg to put kids in daycare while a single parent works because they wouldn't have to pay their staff such high wages to keep up with all of the rules and regulations and college courses being forced upon them. Who knows - but I do know that it is not going to stop and it's just going to keep increasing and we will never EVER get out of a slump when things are like this and people keep saying that no one is helping the poor. I don't know how much more help I should have received since I nearly hit the $100,000 in FOUR YEARS mark for financial aide. What do people want to give? Half a million? I don't get it.

11 comments:

  1. The lefties will not be happy until those receiving are getting more than those working, except of course, for what their CUPE buddies suck from the trough. And that amount not even the thieving politicians who are giving the workers money away can match.

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  2. In the past I did not really stop to think about where the money was coming from, I just went along with the flow of people telling me what I could apply for, what I would automatically get, and went about my business. What really started my mind working was when we had a single dad at my daycare. He was an electrician and made good money, but since he did not receive any benefits at all, he ended up with the same amount of money left to buy groceries as I did each month - even though he made 4 times my hourly wage. He got a little bit back on his income tax returns, but nothing compared to what he paid in. He received $17 a month for child support from his ex (yes, seventeen, that is not a typo) and the rest all came from him. I remember thinking it wasn't very fair to basically punish him for going to school and getting a good job - he could have done a free 40 hour course and worked with me and made the same amount of 'take home' pay after getting all the subsidies. Then I started to wonder why I would even WANT to go to college and make more money if I was just going to make the exact same amount at the end of the day. As in, why would anyone want to strive to get off support if they aren't really going to improve their financial life - so I could see why soooo many people remain on assistance for so many years. Why not eh?

    Then I met my current partner and saw how much he was paying in taxes each year and couldn't believe it. He made double my salary but paid in 10 grand and got maybe 1000 back. I paid in 1500 and got 1500 back, plus 20+ grand in other tax credits and benefits. He worked 16 hour days, I worked 8.5 hour days. His job was dangerous, my job was important but certainly not dangerous. It really made me see how working people were getting the shaft, while others try to say they are just bellyaching selfish boars for not wanting so much taken from them. When I see where it goes, and see that there is not a whole lot of incentive other than personal pride to get off these programs, I could only see a huge sucking black hole waiting to pull even more people inside it. That is NOT good and it can never get any better, from what I can see.

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  3. The daycare subsidy in my former province gave me a hand up.
    I don't mind paying taxes after graduating that help people who can use it to make themselves better.

    I didn't have student loans.
    A student line of credit took care of that after I'd run out of the money I'd saved for the first year.

    And it's not just that I earn more money now.
    I believe in what I'm doing.
    My work is more valuable, at least to me.
    I don't have to work every holiday and weekend and I get to be a father to my kids.

    These subsidies can work if people use them to meet a need.

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  4. Great post, very informative. I had no idea the "poor" were entitled to so many subsidies.

    On top of that are all the bureaucrats that have to manage the applications. And then there will be their pensions to pay when they retire.

    And that just scratches the surface when you start taking into account all the subsidies to industry, arts, etc. We're basically slaves of the State. We're being looted and there isn't a single politician who gives a shit.

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  5. Dance - it absolutely helps, and it helped me greatly. I don't know what I would have done exactly, other than feed my kids total crap for supper every day and send one sandwich in their lunch if they were lucky, and no 'extras', and live stuffed into a tiny apartment I guess or shared accomodation. Definitely a big help but I only left that situation after moving in with my current partner.

    I am looking at it from the point of view that these programs are supposed to help, and they do, but they can also hinder. And they are highly expensive. I didn't even go into what johndoe listed - the fact that it's not just money going directly to helping people in lower income brackets - there is a HOST of other people above that who get paid top dollar, benefits, and pensions for setting up and monitoring these programs. Each region has an office, each province has a central core that looks after the regions, and then within each region there are multitudes of groups who get paid to hand out this funding.

    How can we possibly sustain such a system? We have a saying at work (daycare) that 'every dollar in funding we receive has already been spent 40 times before it reaches us'. For all of the subsidies I listed above, there is a completely different government department to deal with. All of those people are also paid from your tax dollars and they receive more in pay than the poorer people do in funding. So who are you really supporting the most? That is something to consider.

    For example, one of my close friends works for a community group that aides disabled people with learning how to cope and deal with every day life - shopping, taking the bus, therapy, etc. She makes $14/hour for helping each of her clients. But the people working behind the desk in the office, who never deal directly with the disabled clients, make $18 to $22 per hour. So the LEAST amount of money is actually benefiting the clients directly. How much sense does that make? Basically, you are paying for the therapy worker and the secretary and the coordinator and the janitor, the payroll clerk, the utilities at the office building, the property lease fee and taxes, etc but the least amount is being paid to the direct care worker. What? I don't understand that at all. It's all ass-backwards, pardon my language :)

    If they would start getting control of the size of the establishment and ensure that more money is going to direct aide, maybe I wouldn't get a bee in my bonnet so much but while I read endlessly about people saying the poor are getting poorer, like no one is helping them and no one cares, it really irritates me. There is far more help out there than I even attempted to get for myself, and yet I was pulling in more than my full time salary each year in aide.

    Is that system sustainable? Doubtful. Highly doubtful. And the end result is going to be very bad for every single Canadian - not just the lower incomes. Look at Russia and what happened when it's money ran out. Is that what we want to happen here?

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  6. I forgot to add as well that since I work in a setting where over half of the people I deal with receive various subsidies, I see the mindset every day that the majority of them think it's 'not enough'. Many will complain that we put our fees up $20 a month, for example, when what they have to pay is LESS than the $100/month the federal govt gives every single family with a child under age 6. I can't figure out what they are complaining about when they are receiving absolutely FREE full time daycare. Their children are looked after by trained and qualified staff 200 hours a month and they are not paying one cent of their own earned money. In my city at least - it is higher in Calgary, Edmonton, etc. But then wages can tend to be higher too so maybe it balances out somewhat. But in my region I know exactly how much these parents receive for daycare subsidy and UCCB, and how much their bill is, and yet they just about throw a fit when there is a fee increase. I do not understand that!

    When I was first a single parent 12 years ago, I had to pay $125/month out of pocket for my son's care and I only made $6.50/hour and paid the full fee for an apartment (no housing subsidy either). I managed to buy groceries, a bus pass, pay utilities and rent and daycare, all on $6.50/hour but today when the parents are making at least double that, getting FREE daycare, etc they complain? WHAT?

    That is what I see from the majority of parents receiving aide at my center and I just don't know what to think about it anymore. I love my job and love the children and think it is extremely important to have a safe and loving enviroment to play in while their parents are working, however what's going on behind the scenes boils my blood. There are fewer and fewer parents every year that truly appreciate the chances they have been given and strive to make it on their own. The system created this.

    It should also be noted that other countries who have had the same things going on for longer are really starting to get into trouble. I have read articles stating that within the next 5 years, Britain will have 25% of it's adult population made up of adults who have never worked a single day in their lives and are second or third generation living on the doll. How is the system going to be sustained with fewer people contributing taxes to it?

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  7. Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practise to deceive the taxpayer.

    I am the last person to disenfranchise the low income earner. As you well know we do not do it well but we do attempt to give aid where it is needed. Mike Harris of Ontario rightly reduced benefits of the welfare receiving Ontarians when it became apparent that they were the highest remunerated recipients in Canada. He did, of course, continue with generous benefits.

    The Harris Conservatives were generally not castigated for that by the electorate, but by the knee-jerk Toronto Star. Harris's problem began with the union positions which were led in opposition by Mayor Barbara Hall of Toronto and now the vilified Human Rights Commissar of Ontario.

    I do not want to cut back these needy people who need and require subsistence. Even so, I do devoutly wish to cut back on the entitled workers in Canada. The public service unions are a "Damocles sword" over the public welfare. I guess, with recent developments, the Canadian Auto Workers can be included here. Those public service unions control the public purse to such an extent that governments cannot be elected without their consent. They have stolen democracy from the people. It is coming to the day that more than half the workers are dependent on the public teat. (If not already.) What is the chance for democracy when that happens.

    Rob Ford the mayoral candidate in Toronto may be a loose cannon but he has certainly seized on the issue of the day. The other candidates are attempting to copy some of his platform but they have not grasped the gravity of the situation. Rob Ford is the canary in the mine. Sorry to most of you that I inject Toronto politics into the debate. It is relevant and vital to our freedoms for all of us in Canada that we prevent Toronto Leftist Liberal/NDP thinking.

    I am old enough to remember the criticism of Lester B Pearson (the first liberal Socialist) for permitting public service unions to strike.

    His antagonists of the early sixties have been proven to be right.

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  8. RE rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

    You may find this interesting. The Iron Lady herself....

    _http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHGCz6xxiw

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  9. Thanks I love that clip. I have seen it and I might have even linked to it here one time. I like her 'gap' analogy. It does not seem to be working here to help create wealth and opportunity but we just keep beating a dead horse over and over, trying and trying, and I don't know how we will get out of it. I do not mind my taxes going to help people, I really don't, but I see them going to a multitude of things that have nothing to do with what taxes were originally set out to do and that is dangerous business. Canada is a huge country with a small population compared to other countries, and we only have so many people and businesses that are paying into the system. It's been going on for so long, why has the need level increased instead of decreased?

    And then you have the people floating along the poverty line who are totally screwed. They earn 'too much' for aide but they do not earn enough to keep their heads above water and they continually struggle from pay check to pay check. I don't think the answer for them would be more tax aide because they make up a huge chunk of our work force already and we can't keep up with the amount we have to pay out as it is - how can we add more? It's a never ending cycle that so many choose to be blind about.

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  10. Kez, you ask "Why has the need level increased instead of decreased?"

    I think you answered this question in your post. The government has gotten into the business of equality of outcomes, which is an impossible scenario. The "need" level has increased because the definition of "need" keeps shifting to match what government defines as a lowest common denominator (LCD). Pace Thatcher, as the bottom line moves up, government assistance goes up lest there be the perception that the "victims of poverty" are getting left behind by government.

    Government assistance often breeds dependence and entitlement. Entitlement drives up the LCD, and all but the most conservative of governments exist to increase dependence on government, for dependence is power.

    Personally, I don't have a lot of trouble with paying tax to help a single mother stay on her feet and stay employed. You seem to have things well under control and are moving forward. Good on you.

    My beef is with those who play the systems (welfare, EI, etc.) and will not work despite being fully capable. This includes females who turns themselves into baby factories so they can stay home for fifteen years and live on the state.

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  11. It absolutely creates more dependence while it's supposedly trying to help give people a little breathing room while experiencing difficulties - hence my question being rhetorical from my point of view (but a direct question to those who do think the system is working).

    Back in the day where I happily received all this stuff without really thinking of future consequences, the thought of going it alone used to suck the breath right out of me. I watched friends put themselves through university (or with student loans, etc) and when they got out and got jobs, the walls came crashing down (single mothers). One in particular graduated as Valedictorian of her classes at U of C. She was so proud of her accomplishments with a big degree, and she literally had companies like Husky and CPRail fighting over her with offers. But - she immediately had to pay full price for housing, daycare, and 6 months later had to pay top dollar for her student loan ($500/month) and she was really floundering. She had an old beat up truck and lived in a cheap townhouse far away from her work, but suddenly having to face full cost of everything after years of subsidies nearly drowned her despite her great job. She struggled for many years and felt quite defeated because the cost of everything had increased SO much, her doubled salary did almost nothing to help her. It was enough to scare others we knew into 'staying on aide' for longer. That's not good.

    I think what bothered me most about living in subsidized housing is seeing how many satellite dishes were on the buildings, seeing the moms with the newest fancy phones and MP3 players, and they felt like they were entitled to them. I still tried to live smart by not stretching myself and was I was able to move out, I had virtually no debt and no payments other than regular monthly bills. Others, meanwhile, we literally filling their community housing homes with leather furniture. My neighbour got all that plus a GIANT flat screen wall television and she was on welfare!! I couldn't believe it. She didn't work, and someone else (taxpayers) paid for all but $250/month for her home but she lived like she earned 60 grand a year. It was revolting.

    No, not everyone is like that, but too many are and it's frustrating. I don't contribute taxes so that single parents can have iphones and blackberries, I do it so that they can have a decent roof over their family's heads and decent food.

    I personally think that children should be covered for medical care because it's not their fault if their parents do not tow the line and children have no choice to help themselves - but beyond that, I think we need to scale back what is going on. Maybe things would not cost so darn much if there was not such a heavy load coming off in taxes at every single stop along the way. Every item we purchase has far more tax on it than any GST/PST/HST we pay at the tills, and it makes me wonder how cheap things could be if our system wasn't such a giant leech.

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These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).

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