Taxes, equality and what we're prepared to do

An Environics survey commissioned by the Broadbent institute finds concern about inequality and interest in increasing taxes.

We asked: “Would you personally be very, somewhat, not very or not at all willing to pay slightly higher taxes if that’s what it would take to protect our social programs like health care, pensions and access to post-secondary education?” Two-thirds (64%) of Canadians said yes. Almost one-quarter (23%) are “very willing” to pay more  taxes to save social programs; 41% are “somewhat willing” to pay slightly more tax … 

An overwhelming majority of Canadians (83%) are in favour of increasing income taxes on the wealthiest and those at high-income levels are just as supportive of this proposal. Canada used to have an inheritance tax but it was scrapped in the 1980s. Our research shows that most Canadians (69%) support the introduction of a new 35% inheritance tax on any estate valued above $5 million. Finally, the majority of Canadians want corporate Canada to play its part too. Almost three-quarters (73%) of Canadians support gradually increasing corporate tax rates back to 2008 levels—even a majority of Conservative voters support this measure.

You can quibble with what these numbers really indicate, but the findings roughly match what Innovative Research found on a couple of questions last month.

The federal government must take action to close the gap between rich and poor in Canada.
Strongly agree 40%
Somewhat agree 29%
Neither agree nor disagree 13%
Somewhat disagree 8%
Strongly disagree 8%

We need to raise taxes on the rich and big business to ensure they pay their fair share.
Strongly agree 42%
Somewhat agree 24%
Neither agree nor disagree 12%
Somewhat agree 9%
Strongly disagree 11%

At the same time, Innovative Research also asked a series of philosophical questions about economics and the role of government.

Is the main role of government to create equal opportunity so that everyone can compete on their own to be the best they can be; OR to redistribute wealth so that the poor and disadvantaged have more than they would if left on their own?
Create opportunity 62%
Redistribute wealth 28%
Don’t know 10%

Generally, do you think people who don’t get ahead in life should blame themselves or the system?
Themselves 50%
The system 19%
Don’t know 32% 

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