About those no good taxes


 

Adam Radwanski sees anarchy in the PM.

Perhaps Harper was oversimplifying; maybe he didn’t fully think through what he was saying. But this is the prime minister of the country, not some guy who’s had one too many drinks at a cocktail party and begun railing against the evils of government. So it seems to me we’re obliged to consider the fact that the person running the country, by his own account, thinks all taxes are bad.

If taken to its logical conclusion, that would also mean that all government spending is bad. Not just equalization and grants and other things that Harper would have taken offence to back in his National Citizens Coalition days. We’re also talking about defence, and law enforcement, and any public infrastructure whatsoever – stuff that even the most libertarian members of Harper’s party would concede that we need.

More from Jeffrey Simpson, Terence Corcoran, Fazil Mihlar, Doug Bell and Lana Payne.


 

About those no good taxes

  1. Aaron, I am a Liberal by inclination and I usually find Radwanski worth reading. However, I have two points: First, this is old, we know you were in New York but this is over a week old. Second, if Harper followed on with some incoherent explanation (ala Goodyear on evolution for example) then fair enough. This was a simple statement taken out of context.

    • The inanity of Harper's judgment transcends time……………

  2. Thank god there are still a few sensible commentators left in the msm but they are overwhelmed by the happy clappy hippies that seem to dominate. Why do so many get the vapours when someone says taxes are a necessary evil and should be kept to a minimum? Is it so difficult to understand that taking people's money through coercion has negative affects.

    • Negative affects? Turn that frown upside down, jolyon!

    • Lawd have mercy.. I'm being coerced! Coerced by the threat of a stable monetary system, roads, fire, national defence, transportation infrastructure, international agreements, and all that other jazz.

      So far as I'm aware, the borders aren't closed, so if you're really concerned about the "coercion" you're suffering you can still leave and move to an area that doesn't have taxes. Hey, Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer, after all.

    • Lawd have mercy.. I'm being coerced! Coerced by the threat of a stable monetary system, roads, fire protection, national defence, legal and justice system, police, transportation infrastructure, international agreements, and all that other jazz.

      So far as I'm aware, the borders aren't closed, so if you're really concerned about the "coercion" you're suffering you can still leave and move to an area that doesn't have taxes. Hey, Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer, after all.

  3. I read the PM's tax comment as a failed attempt to be folksy.

    • I don't see what failed about this attempt.

      In the context that this statement was spoken (i.e. deciding between a GST cut and income tax cut), Harper pointed out that the GST cut was fine because "no taxes are good taxes" i.e. if you are going to cut a tax, none of them are any good so any tax that you cut is a good thing. He's been consistent on this since forever, which for Harper is saying a lot.

      Only thing that seems to have changed is that there are now a bevy of columnists who are following Wherry around the bend in taking quotes out of context and wrapping them up with nonsense opinion based on a ridiculous straw man that Harper favours anarchy because he's going to reduce all tax to zero.

      • He may be consistent, but his statement is wrong. GST is 'better' than income tax, even if neither are 'good'.

    • It was the straw in the mouth and the whittlin' knife that gave it away, eh ?

  4. Aaron I'm really hoping you can put some kind of time limit on your commentary. Ideally, as soon as somebody actually physically stops talking, I want you to tell yourself it is too late to have an opinion on it. Please restrict yourself to live-blogging or, better, to what I like to call anticipatory blogging, in which you comment on what's probably about to happen.

    Banish second thoughts, please. They are so 20th-century.

  5. Jolyon, Of course remember that not too long ago, a Canadian commented that it was vital that Canada play a key role in revitalizing and reforming the G8 since the size of our economy does not in itself guarantee us a seat in any reformed grouping of powerful nations.
    Was the bonehead who jumped all over the above comments and called them un-Canadian a happy, clappy hippy?
    (Actually he waves and chops more than he claps and is seldom happy)
    ps Harper should apologize.

    • I assume you are talking about the UVic prof who suggested the G8 be reformed and Harper's response. I think the UVic prof is the idealistic one in that situation if he believes other countries give a monkey's what Canada thinks about anything.

  6. Aaron, your problem is that you're paying attention to what Harper says, when the evidence is that he himself could care less what pearl of wisdom pops out of his mouth at any given moment.

    I know he is the Prime Minister. So, y'all have to note what he says. But, look. The press in the US stopped paying attention to George W. long before he left, and everyone was better off for it.

  7. I think a page from his Taxpayers Assoc. scrapbook came loose, and slipped into his briefing notes.

    I don't find any of this wildly shocking, just makes me think he didn't get much sleep the night before. I once saw a spokesperson refer to a remote control as a "video monitor changing device"…

  8. Jolyon above said it best : let's try a thought experiment what if tomorrow we wake up and oil is now a thousand dollars a barrel as wells are drying up daily in Arabia (could happen) now this would mean the we basically could set up a national system whereas gov't oil revenues might meet all the existing budgets and taxes are no longer necessary. If taxes are good then we could keep them – this is Adam's statement taken to it's logical conclusion and quite rightly it is absurd. Taxes are payment for service and nothing else and they neither good nor bad except for the consequences who knows maybe canadians would want to keep paying them just to be silly!

    • Wayne: You just advocated The National Energy Program of PET.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Energy_Prog
      What's next an essay on the value of the Long Gun Registry or a stirring defense of the current Senate appointment rules?

      • I advocated nothing and would vote against such .. I proposed a thought experiment and nothing else please read the very first line again.

  9. I do not believe that being idealistic justifies the Prime Minister of the Canada using his position and a high profile international platform to belittle your commitment to Canada. Yes, Harper should apologize to Gordon Smith.

    • I don't have a problem with PM belittling people's ideas but he should not question their patriotism, that's for sure. I think Smith is correct that G8 is anachronism and that new body will be formed shortly, I think G20 of finance ministers will turn into leaders' meeting, but I don't believe Canada will have much say in the changes.

  10. The Lib-Left crowd loves taxes. Doesn't being liberal mean you want a bigger share of other peoples money while being conservative means you want a bigger share of your own money?
    “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”
    Winston Churchill
    Hence the jabbering of all the old liberals on this board.

    • Actually, we don't love taxes. But we love services.

      We love health care that doesn't require a second mortgage. We love a police department that serves and protects, and a fire department that will come when our house is on fire. We love clean and efficient transit, and highways and roadways to bring us where we're going. We love a public education system that admits all regardless of class and gives them the opportunity to grow and learn and succeed.

      And we recognize you need taxes to pay for those services we love so much.

      • only because there is no other way to pay for such. If another way to pay that did not require a tax then there would be no taxes becuase they are a necessary evil which means harper is right!

        • Well Harper and Co seem to beleive that the best way to pay for these services is to borrow the money. That's his plan.

    • Here's some jabber for you Dakota … how much will it cost to increase the number of people who are incarcerated? That seems to be the only defining issue for the Conservatives right now: Harsher sentences, longer sentences, less parole and probation and house arrest, arrest the drug users insted of give them needles, etc.

      So which tax increase is going to pay for the increased numbers in jail? Or is the plan to cut some services, maybe mental health or addictions counselling, to pay for it?

      • Your latter ideas sound like a good start, but I am for further reductions in all social services. The onus should be on the individual to provide for themselves not for the government to provide for you.

        • So, user pay jails then?

          • This could be done by getting the prisoners to do work. The money they make could be used to run the prison system. Prisoners get work experience and the taxpayers get a break. Everyone wins.

          • User pay courts? If you can't afford a trial you get to stay in the 're-education centre' indefinitely?

          • I'm sure the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would declare that unconstituional. The state would probably have to loan the accused the money with the condition that should the accused be found not guilty the state would cover the cost with the surplus generated from the Detained Persons Skills Development Program.

          • So.. uh.. who's job were you planning to give them? In case you haven't noticed, jobs don't seem to be hanging off every branch these days.

          • That's a great point when unemployment is at an eleven year high (or whatever it currently is), not so much in normal economic times. I guess we would have to require them to have employment insurance to cover them in times of economic uncertainty. For those who start their sentences at the beginning of a downturn, the state would need to set-up a fund that can loan them money and they can pay it back at a later date.

          • So.. uh.. whose job were you planning to give them? In case you haven't noticed, jobs don't seem to be hanging off every branch these days.

  11. Why don't we restructure our taxation system to a more user pay system rather then an income tax system? Or would that require people to actually carry their own burdens rather then having someone else shoulder it for them?

    • And so we're back to anarchy. Aren't merry-go-rounds fun!

      You know, Wayne and Dakota, even if you never use a taxpayer funded hospital, you still benefit from them. In small ways, like a reduced likelihood of your being infected by an outbreak of smallpox on your way to a meeting at the Libertarian's Hall, or in big ways like not having to step over the septic bodies of people dying in the streets on your way to Tim's.

      I pay a school tax, though I have no kids. I benefit by having educated kids in my community who are less likely to mug me tomorrow and, one day, may grow up to care for me in the old age home.

      • The problem with your argument is that hospitals, schools and the like all existed before government came along and nationalized them.

        Would hospitals disappear if government stopped funding them? No they would not. They would just be better run and fewer people would be dead/disabled due to incompetence. Or your school example, why don't we have parents pay for their children's schooling and the rest of us can direct our money elsewhere.

        • another good point! – sometimes it is impossible to debate the liberal mindset as it hold certain assumptions to be fact when they aren't. If you want to see what happens in some countries that do not have taxes go check them out – indeed Virginia there are countrys that do not tax their citizenry.

          • Ever visited a country that doesn't tax its citizens?

            I hear Somalia is lovely this time of year. Or did you have some other example in mind?

        • I think before government nationalized these there were many illiterates, people died at 40 (or as children), etc.

          If there were no public health insurance, less people might die due to incompetence (nmaybe), but many more would die in hospital parking lots due to lack of insurance.

      • I'm just waiting for their outrage when they go into Tim Horton's (or Starbucks) and find out their cup of coffee now costs $89.95. After all, if we are all expected to pay for everything we might possibly use, minimum wage will have to increase to about, oh I don't know, $80,000/year?

        I wonder how to get the terrorists and other enemies to pay for the military. . .

        • "After all, if we are all expected to pay for everything we might possibly use, minimum wage will have to increase to about, oh I don't know, $80,000/year?"

          Folllowing this logic the price of coffee should have dropped after the Conservatives brought in the universal childcare benefit. Afterall, that's $1200/year less that Tim Horton's must pay it's employees for each child they have under six, right?

    • If it helps, you could view income tax as user pay for using Canadian currency. Given how the Mint keeps losing stuff we better get the money from somewhere.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but it mostly is. The people who see the most benefit from the services taxation provides (a strong transportation and communications infrastrustructure, strong legal and justice system, lack of poor and diseased accosting them for assistance) are the well off, who are taxed more accordingly.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but it mostly is. The people who see the most benefit from the services taxation provides (a strong transportation and communications infrastrustructure, strong legal and justice system, lack of poor and diseased accosting them for assistance, educated workforce) are the well off, who are taxed more accordingly.

  12. Harper is just being provocative. He is goading Iggy into a response, ANY response, about taxes. An op-ed piece from Iggy would be fine.

    The stuff Iggy said a few months ago about taxes is getting old. Harper needs some fresh pro-tax talk from Iggy, so that his words can be used in the next round of 'just visiting' ads.

  13. The tax on income trusts is a good tax though, right? 'Cause I forget what calamity was going to ensue if we left those things untaxed, but there was definitely an oncoming calamity, and anything that avoids a calamity is good in my books.

  14. There wouldn't have been a need to tax income trusts if we didn't tax corporate earnings. The income trust tax was levied to remove the incentive of corporations to restructure themselves as income trusts (for some reason deemed undesireable). Harper would probably argue he implemented a bad tax to eliminate the unintended consequences of an even worse tax.