Tue, Dec
20
2005

I Just Want to Know Why...

(Update: This article was written with a series of false premises, with my mistake that Canada having four tax brackets instead of three not being the smallest of them. My commentators thoroughly correct me below. Oh, well; you learn new things every day. The second question still stands, though…)

Why does Canada have only three four tax brackets?

Now, I’m blogging from relative ignorance on this, and I welcome corrections, but my impression is that there are only three four income tax brackets in this nation, and I’ve heard it said that each bracket amounts to a strict percentage of one’s income. If you pass an income threshold, your income tax percentage sharply increases, which means that somebody earning, say, $39,999 might pay 20% income tax, but somebody earning $40,001 might pay 25%.

If this is true, it strikes me as silly. I’ve heard it said that people earning income suddenly find themselves owing most of that money in taxes. I’m all for progressive taxation, but the system I describe would seem to be a serious impediment to working harder to earn more money.

I’ve also heard that it didn’t use to be this way. It used to be that you were taxed 0% on the first $10,000 you earned in the year, 5% on the next $5,000, 10% on the next $5,000 and so on, to whatever the maximum tax rate there was. So anybody who earned enough income to boost themselves from $39,999 to $40,000 wouldn’t see their whole rate jump from 20-25%, but would instead be charged, say, 25% on the $1 earned after the $40,000 threshold.

Anybody proposing this? (Update: okay, so the current tax system basically works the way I described it should work above, but I still see the need for more brackets in order to ease in the percentage. In terms of income tax, I believe that it should initially be applied on an equal percentage basis, with its lower ends lopped off out of compassion for those who are living closest to hand to mouth. And the system should always allow people who work harder to earn more, even if they’re taxed more)

Likewise, I’ve heard from my inlaws that most crimes involving property damage tend to take place between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. during weekdays. This, not coincidentally, is the time between when most schools usually let out their students and most parents usually come home, when teenagers are unsupervised and, quite often, bored.

It’s also the case that most teenagers are biologically inclined to sleep in, and that they perform far better academically if they get that morning sleep and instead work well into the afternoon.

So why do schools serve students between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., when students tend to be overtired? Why not run schools between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., so that the students get more supervised time during the portion of the day where they are actually more amenable to learn.

People generally don’t get up early in the morning to make trouble.


A Successful Outing

Went to the bank, made a deposit, and then visited the post office and had a coffee today. Strange how that seems to be a considerable victory, but after seven weeks of sticking close to home, outings such as this are much appreciated.

We took Vivian with us, of course. I wore a snuggly that placed Vivian face down on my chest. I then put on a scarf and buttoned her beneath my trenchcoat, resulting in a tremendous lump on my chest. I didn’t look like a pregnant man — the lump was too high for that. I suppose I was something like a hunchback walking backwards. Got some strange looks on the bus whenever my lump moved and squealed, but all I had to do was grin and say ‘baby on board’, and people understood and smiled.

Erin and I have been thinking about getting a car (something used and from Japan) for when Erin returns to work. Lugging a baby through winter is cumbersome, to say the least. Still, travelling today, during a bit of snow, I appreciate yet again just how good a transit network Waterloo Region boasts these days.

Our bank is up at the University of Waterloo, and on our way up, Erin decided to get off early at Uptown Waterloo in order to do some Christmas shopping. We took the iXpress, Grand River Transit’s new all-day limited stop service between south Cambridge and north Waterloo. The section between Downtown Kitchener and the University of Waterloo is the least effective, because GRT was scared off of its shortcut due to neighbourhood opposition. Even so, it shaves about five to ten minutes off our trip. And with a bus every fifteen minutes, we really don’t have to wait long for a vehicle at rush hour.

iXpress was implemented at the same time as York Region’s VIVA service, but Grand River Transit decided to unveil the service in stages. There were no shelters, no real-time reporting of when the next vehicle arrives and no special traffic light controls to speed the buses through intersections, but they’ll all come later. Even so, iXpress was an overnight success, and while VIVA had teething pains, the sense here is that iXpress is only going to get better.

Grand River Transit is not the TTC. What I would really like is if iXpress maintained rush hour service during the midday and on Saturdays, but maybe that will come someday soon. Otherwise, you still have to really plan ahead to make your trip as quick as possible. Still, what we have is more convenient than what I think most cities our size can reasonably expect. Waterloo Region may be built more for the car than for the pedestrian and transit user, but thanks to the hard work of the cities, living without a car isn’t nearly as debilitating.


On This Day

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