You know that you are doing something right when the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) starts making up new pejorative terms. Last Friday’s Toronto Sun included the following op-ed on the Taxers (with a capital “T”):
Calls for new and higher taxes are coming from the usual tax-hike proponents (AKA Taxers); public sector unions, lobby groups like the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the NDP, David Suzuki and his ilk, and media like the Toronto Star.
I feel that the CTF is failing to give credit to private-sector union hacks like Jim Stanford and me, who also frequently make the case for higher taxes. The op-ed continues:
In fact, in the Fraser Institute’s annual Consumer Tax Index, it shows the average Canadian family’s tax bill is now higher than food, clothing and shelter – combined. Families keep 10% less of their hard-earned cash than they did 50 years ago because their income is paying to fund the large and growing size and cost of government. This clever report clearly shows how, as a percentage of an average family’s total income, taxes have climbed from 33.5% to 41.7% over 50 years.
But 41.7% minus 33.5% does not equal 10%. It does not even equal 9%. The correct answer is 8.2%. The CTF appears to have adopted the Neil Reynolds method of rounding numbers.
Playing with numbers
Re “Don’t raise taxes, rein in out-of-control spending” (April 23): Kevin Gaudet mentions only one piece of evidence: The Consumer Tax Index. This Fraser Institute report overstates the average family’s tax bill by assuming all taxes, including corporate and resource taxes, come out of household income. In fact, corporate taxes come out of corporate profits, only a small fraction of which appear in household income as dividends.
The Fraser Institute also counts Canada Pension Plan premiums as a tax. Its own numbers show essentially all of the increase in “taxes” since 1961 occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as the Canada Pension Plan and Medicare were introduced.
Should we eliminate public pensions and health care to lower taxes back to 1961 levels? Gaudet knows Canadians would not support that tradeoff, so he instead claims we can magically cut public spending without affecting public services.
Erin Weir, Toronto