Balancing the Budget

Good morning everyone,

Well, you'll love today's weather if you are a duck or a rice farmer-otherwise it isn't looking too good out there. Unless of course you are one of those people who don't get up on Saturdays until after lunch. If you are, you won't mind the weather at all because it'll probably be finished raining by the time you get up...ha ha! This weekend the weather will be mild-around 13C or so and fine (from this afternoon until Monday). Monday will be the only day this week where we will experience normal temperatures for this time of year-it'll be 18C on Monday. After that, the thermometer will fall back down to around 13C or so. Doesn't it feel like it's been 13C forever? ha ha!

So, yesterday in Canada they released the new budget. There are some big changes to the government's plan for Canada and I, for one, like them.

There are three changes in particular that are similar to issues that the Japanese government is also facing. I'm happy with how they are changing in Canada. I wonder how they will be implemented in Japan.

The biggest one is cutting government jobs. The government has said that their job is not to create a workforce, their job is to provide service to the community. Therefore, they are going to leave job creation up to businesses and are offering tax breaks to businesses to expand and hire more. And the government is cutting about 19,000 civil servant jobs. I think Japan is facing the same tough decisions and will have to cut a lot of jobs in order to continue to pay for the basic services that we all expect.

Next, the government has decided to implement a change in retirement pensions. We call it Old Age Security (OAS). The age to receive that money from the government will be raised to 67 starting in about ten years. So, no more complaints from my students about Japan raising the age to 65! Ha ha!

Finally, the government has decided to eliminate the penny. That's right. In Canada, starting the end of this year the government will no longer produce pennies and prices will either be rounded up or down to the lowest 5 cents. The government expects that they will save about $11 million a year and small business in particular will find it easier to manage. Most Canadians, like Japanese, just keep their pennies in a jar and take them out of circulation which is a huge waste of money for the country. The government makes them and then they get thrown away or kept at home-like the \2000 note here. When was the last time you saw one of those? Ha ha!

Do you think Japan should do something similar? Or something more drastic? Or do you think that these changes wouldn't work in Japan?

Have a great day!
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