Trudeau and the GST

by Aaron Wherry

During his interview on CBC’s The House, Justin Trudeau ruled out an increase in the GST.

Evan Solomon: Would you raise the GST?

Justin Trudeau: I think middle-class families are already struggling too much under increasing costs, exploding personal and family debts. I don’t think raising the GST is a good idea.

Mr. Trudeau has promised an evidence-based, fact-based policy agenda. Stephen Gordon has argued that the GST cut has a lot to do with the Harper government’s budget deficit. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries have argued for raising the GST while cutting other taxes.




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Trudeau and the GST

  1. Junior’s flip-flopping faster than Mitt Romney after winning the nomination!

    Of course I fully expect him to change his tune yet again, I just hope we can hear the Liberal’s position on this matter honestly BEFORE the election, unlike Chretien.

    • Unlike Harper, who doesn’t even bother putting half his contentious stuff in the platform at all. Can’t break promises you never even gave yourself a chance to break in the first place. Best to stuff stuff into omnibus bills that didn’t make into the budget or throne speech.
      I’d rather deal with a flip flopper who admits he may have got it wrong than a guy who doesn’t think anyone even has a right to amend as much as a hair on the head of his agenda.

      • Nice talking points. Harper invented the omnibus bill. Before him, nobody ever did it. Keep telling yourself that lie.

        But I’m guessing Junior didn’t write those talking points himself. Last I checked, he’s still not admitting that he’s flip-flopping, and he’s still unable or unwilling to take an actual position on the matter.

        Junior’s nothing but an empty suit with great hair. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is people like you who think that qualifies him to run the country.

        • No one is saying that Harper invented the omnibus bill. But people are saying that Harper has expanded omnibus bills to an appalling length. And don’t forget that when Harper was in opposition he condemned the Liberals for pushing an omnibus bill that was nowhere near the length of Harper’s bill. Can you say hypocrite?

        • I could ask you where and when i ever said Harper invented omnibus bills. But why bother. Facts that aren’t facts and facile opinions seem to be about your limit.
          And please keep on with the shiny pony, empty suit, nice hair stuff. Fools like you are one of the most potent weapons Trudeau has.

  2. Yeah i thought that was a mistake on Trudeau’s part; tying his hands down the road and all. I know he said why he wouldn’t do it and obviously that’s a politically strategic decision that might help him in the short term. But really, if he objects to how the govt is cutting the size of govt right now, just how does he think we can get rid of the debt w/o a new revenue source?
    There’s also the matter of moving toward consumption taxes while lowering ITs, which most economists prefer as a way to encourage savings.
    I think he made a judgement call that goes against the available best evidence theory he likes to promote. At least we know he’s not perfect then.
    I do like the fact that he’s prepared to take risks and be bold. I’d prefer he gets it right more than wrong though.

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/1296202–parliamentary-budget-officer-kevin-page-questions-need-for-deep-cuts

    Of course Trudeau might know or suspect something i don’t?

  3. The thing is, Harper’s GST cut of 2 percentage points was good politics, but bad economics. If you’re going to cut taxes (assuming you can afford to!), then income tax is what should be cut. The sad part is that Harper, as an economist, would know this.

    • The operative word is should, not would. Past performance should lead one to question his knowledge of economics. It would seem what he should know is at substantial odds with what he actually knows.

      • I disagree. I think he knew exactly what he was doing, and consciously put the party before the country in his decision. This is an all too common phenomenon among all parties – an easy example is supply management.

  4. Hey Bill.. come on over here would you? I’ve got something I’d like you to choke on.

    • Too busy dissing AW elsewhere.

  5. Economics is social science, it is little more than astrology with dubious graphs and charts, so there is no consensus about much of anything but I think Canada should follow Nordic countries and their tax policies.

    Tim Worstall ~ Daily Telegraph:

    We’ll have to raise VAT as well, of course: for this is something that people don’t seem to realise about Nordic tax systems. In many ways they are more regressive (yes, regressive, not progressive) than our own. This is because those countries follow the basic economics of taxation.You need low corporate and capital taxation, moderate income taxation and high taxes on consumption.

    As the OECD helpfully points out, all taxes have deadweight costs. These are economic activity that doesn’t happen because of the presence of the tax. Different taxes have different deadweights. The aim is obviously to collect the money you need while destroying as little economic activity as possible. For the amount of money you collect in tax, property taxes destroy the least activity, consumption taxes a little more, income more than that and the most destructive are taxes on capital and companies. So that’s what the Nordics do: low capital and corporate taxes, high VAT.

  6. There’s an opening.

    Any Liberal leadership contenders want to come out in favour of raising the GST back up in conjunction with a corresponding income tax cut because it’s the smart thing to do?

    • I was thinking along the same lines. And this is simply Trudeau’s opinion at the moment. He still has to carry or convince the membership. And they are in a pretty stroppy mood about being dictated to, as far as policy is concerned these days.
      I’m not sure [if he wins] he will be able to, unless he has a better idea. It should make for an interesting debate among the candidates when it comes up.

  7. Trudeau seems smarter than many of the so-called “progressives” here. Running on the past is a losing proposition. See, Martin, Dion, and Ignatieff. Running as the anti-Harper on reversing Harper would be a bad strategy.

    You are new. Run on the new. Mulcair is running on the old.

    • Considering how many people think Harper is doing a crappy job, by 2015 being a likeable anti-Harper might be enough all on its own…

      • Well we certainly know it’ll be enough for you.

        • Definitely. You could run a poodle in my riding as the only opposition to the CPC candidate and the poodle would get my vote, regardless of party. Some of the CPC’s policies and actions verge on treason, in my book – though I’m sure those exact same actions give you thrills beyond measure.

          I am still concerned JT may be a bit of a lightweight though, and scrappy enough to commit some real boners that will damage what should be a golden opportunity.

          • “I’m sure those exact same actions give you thrills beyond measure.”
            I’m pretty sure you’re wrong about that. Care to name any of those actions, you know, the ones that I’m on record as heartily supporting?

    • Hi there. The GST is a tax originally enacted by Conservatives, which had the aim of lowering income taxes for the well-healed (the upper income brackets). It was not a ‘progressive’ invention. VATs should be brought in to reduce income taxes to the low-income brackets (by increasing the basic personal exemption, for example).

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