Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Usual Suspects

It took a bit longer with PhotoShop that I thought it would, but here it is.

The Usual Suspects

The catalyst for the picture was Spring Rolls, a Thai restaurant where we had our class of '02 reunion this week. The wall outside the restaurant was painted white with horizontal red lines, much like a police lineup photo. At that time I got everyone to pose for the picture, with the Usual Suspects theme in mind. I did not know how well it would look in the final composure.


It's amazing how comfortable one can be with old friends. Some of us had not seen each other for more than three to four years, but we seemed to pick up where we left off. For a few minutes, it was not some programmers, database analysts, or security designers who sat down for dinner, it was a bunch of guys from UTSC taking a temporary break from an all-nighter in the S-Wing, the day before an assignment was due. We reminisced about our dorm rooms, the professors, the trips to the Dean's office, and the ever unforgettable 'Pink Room'.

There are times I miss my university days. If not for the forever lacking of ready cash or those pesky classes, university life was the best lifestyle.

Inside Spring Rolls

Taxation vs Poverty

M., the only one of us who left Canada for USA, told us about life, and a career, there. Apparently a single young person at a reputable company can save a lot of money. He should know, having bought a house recently, while the rest of us think twice before buying a new car.

The problem with Canada is our high rate of taxation. It is hard to make a lot of money with just a decent 9 to 5 job, whereas in USA it is not unheard of. They take a lot of our income (as much as 33% in our tax bracket) from the pay cheque, and we pay taxes on the top of that when we purchase other goods and services. The flip side is we have free health care, and a huge dosage of social programs. This was admitted to me by a social sciences professor cousin of mine from Nebraska - the class gap in Canada is not a big one. Even the child of an unemployed single mother can expect an education and health care, while OSAP and other grants cover university education. If you have the will, it's not hard to pull out of the social rut.

However in USA, many companies sponsor health care. Then you enjoy the same facilities as in Canada, except you keep a lot more of your money. Will the absence of social programs bother you? There will be a lot more poor and deprived in the society who have no hope of ever climbing the social ladder, as no help is possible for them. As a consequence, there will be more crime in society. Witness the murder rates in New York and Toronto, or the crime rate between any comparative cities in Canada and the US.

According to M., however, you can just live in a posh area and the 'problems' will not reach you.

It's a proposal I find more appetizing each day.


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