Why do you read this blog?

In a sense I want to just be blogging for myself, and not really care what anyone reading this thinks. I mean I’m not doing it to grow my influence or my email list or to do some personal branding. That being said, it would be nice to know what people like and why. It’s very interesting because I read Lucas Cherkewski’s emails and he asks similar feedback on his thoughts. And I’ve never even let him know I actually read them vs just letting the email tracker fire so it looks like I read it in the analytics.

I have some people who send me their thoughts privately, and I really appreciate that, but I find it interesting that they don’t feel comfortable posting it publicly. I can understand in a sense, we all try to portray an image online and anything we put on the internet stays accessible for ever. I wonder if at a point we won’t be as fazed by some ridiculous comment someone did on Facebook years ago. I guess the US president is a good argument that we aren’t fazed by ridiculous comments at all. Or at least our base opinion isn’t going to change.

All that to say, if you have thoughts and feedback on my posts, I’d love to hear them. Publicly or privately.

Why we can’t have good government policies (or a random collection of my thoughts on tax policy)

(Note: parts of this are most likely factually incorrect and I’ll try to update it as people flag those to me but for the sake of brevity I didn’t start every sentence with “From what I understand” but feel free to add that when you read the post)

Recently-ish the government tried to close a bunch of tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit the rich (For the purpose of this post rich means having income greater then $100 000). The gist of it is that if you had a business (or in many cases made a bogus business who’s sole purpose is to save you money) you could delay paying taxes / pay a lower rate on income from investments. Now there was some grumbling among legitimate small business owners but it wasn’t as impactful as it might seem. The bigger concerns came from doctors.

There are a few problems at play here. The way doctors are paid is not a straight income and basically they run a business except the government decides how much they get paid for various things. So you go see your family doctor that price is fixed for what the government pays you for that. Now it gets a bit complicated but the general consensus is that in most provinces rates have not been following inflation for a while, meaning that in effect doctors have been getting paid less and less over the years. The problem then is that the doctors relied on the tax shelters to make what I think we would say is a fair salary for their work. In my view, the problem should be solved differently then not making these tax changes (They changed the changes to be that the first 50 000 of passive income a year is taxed at a lower rate and then a sliding scale to 150 000). Now we got way more complicated taxes, which of course is what everyone harps about how needlessly complicated it is. And in this case the solution should of just been a across the board increase in the fee we pay doctors. Now that sounds like a great simple solution! But the problem is that the tax changes are coming from the federal government, which (theoretically) doesn’t have an impact on what the provinces pay the doctors.

All that to say that the reason we can’t have simple and straightforward policies for anything is that they will always impact someone (often unintentionally) and we’ll then make small tweaks for that instead of trying to address how those people are impacted in a more global way.

Personally I think trying to make small changes to the tax code one at a time is a losing battle. You’ll always have people complaining loudly when they lose something. I’d argue making wide sweeping changes that would greatly benefit most people such as greatly cutting income tax for the first $100 000, increasing the Goods and service tax and including it in all prices advertised ( [this would help distinguish items that are taxed and those that aren’t [vegetables vs a box of cookies], I’d argue that we should potentially raise the tax drastically like ~15-20% but this would be pretty hard / unrealistic without more enforcement at the border), implementing basic income (even if it’s starting lower then what it “should” be), and implementing pharmacare for everyone.

The only way I think it would work would be if we communicated to everyone exactly how this change will impact them. So for example send every Canadian a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency telling them what their tax refund would of been for last year with the changes. That way it’s not a “I’m going to be paying 10% more on my ice cap but rather holy bananas I would of gotten $5 000 more (or really, paid $5000 less in taxes during the year).

This would make it really hard for special interest groups to take over the conversation since it’ll make it clear to every Canadian what not going thru with the changes would mean for them and they’d put up a fight to get those changes in.

On (self) Sabotage

(This post was originally written in early 2017 and just sat as a draft until this week)

Here is the theme song to this post:

I think the core of self sabotage comes from fear. This fear is mostly from our reptilian brain. Seth Godin talks about this here:


(This also applies to Shipping Software which I haven’t blogged about yet but I should warn people reading this that I will probably be talking more and more about code and code related things)

Now I have a lot of friends who “know” who they are. Therefore, if they know who they are, they don’t need to change how they act in certain situations. Or more precisely they use this as an excuse for why they can’t or won’t do something different than what they’ve done in the past. For example, someone who has trouble committing, well they shouldn’t go on that second date with that guy because it was way too strong a connection and in the past that’s just been too hard.

Now often time people are aware that they are doing this. But they don’t think they can change. Or more to the the point, they are scared of the change. Because this would be different. This would mean they are a different person than their current self image. Even if you want this and you say you want this. It’s scary because you don’t know what this new you could be. Who is someone who commits to relationships?  Who is someone who opens themselves up to others? Who is someone who ships software? Usually the answer is that its definitely not the current self.

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom. ~Mary Ferguson

I relate it somewhat to how you feel when you are in a state of depression. Often there is this feeling that you belong “here” there is this comfort in the feeling you have. A feeling of belonging, that you “deserve” this, that this is the true you.

Of course it’s all BS, and as soon as you climb a little bit out you can see it for what it is. But boy is it fun at times to think we are a twisted soul. I suspect this is why some of the things such as the law of attraction and visualization and etc work so well for some people. It’s because it helps them break out of this thinking of this is who I am. It gives them a reason or an excuse or rather a way to convince themselves that they can change.

Really we are nothing more than the sum of our actions. If I want to be a coder, I am one if I do code, that means that small decisions every day count. I’m currently trying to get in better shape. I can easily say “I’m not someone who exercises and eats well”, well bullshit because every few hours I need to make a decision and I’m deciding that I’m someone who eats pretty well and every few days I decide I’m someone who does an exercise video or go to kick boxing. or what have you. If you want to be someone who has loving relationships with trust, you just have to do it one step at a time. If you want to be in shape you have to do it one step at a time. If you want to be someone who, well you get the idea.

Thinking will not overcome fear but action will. ~W. Clement Stone

So let’s go and make whatever today’s step is on to road to accomplishing whatever it is we want to accomplish 🙂

Setting the conditions for things to come naturally

I try to be a compassionate person.
I try to be a good developer.

I’ve come to notice that It’s a lot harder for me to be compassionate when I have a migraine. It’s a lot harder to be a good developer when I’m tired. I think it’s pretty obvious when we think about it that various conditions can impact our behaviour (see all of marketing). But then, what can I change in my environment to help me be more compassionate? (This is the part where you give suggestions 😉


What are you most grateful for?

It’s a seemingly simple question. But I think I struggled with it when it got asked and then it came to me. I’m most grateful that I got treatment + meds for mental health in my 20s. Americans often idealize the Canadian health care system. And while yes it’s much better overall there are still lots of cracks that people can fall into (medications being the big one).

I suspect health and good health or having been healed when they were sick would be high on the list of things people are grateful for. It still puzzles me that while we’re always supportive of individuals we know who are sick we still aren’t all convinced that we should care for everyone. Like if your tax dollars were going to someone who was going to try to profit from getting dialysis or something ridiculous like that. It’s especially strange in the US where the cost of healthcare for everyone pales in comparison to their military budget. Regardless I think it’s something we need to keep pushing forward on. There have been some (from what I understand) positives change in the US and there are some positive ones happening here in terms of expanding pharmacare to everyone (both at the provincial and federal level). I wouldn’t be surprised if it was part of the Federal Liberal party’s 2019 campaign.

All that to say I’m always confused that healthcare for all is not something we can all agree on and prioritize given that our health is something we cherish and are so often grateful for.