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Archive for 'income tax'

Flaherty’s Legacy: Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky

This piece was originally published at the Globe and Mail’s online Report on Business feature, EconomyLab.   There are two reasons why it is difficult to comment on the legacy of a finance minister. 1) It is a tremendously challenging job, anywhere, any time. Stewarding one of the largest economies in the world through a […]

Tony Blair and the Corporatization of Social Democracy

Tony Blair, by any sensible yardstick, is a douchebag. Recently, The Guardian, under the headline “Toxic”, detailed Blair’s “downward spiral”. This included the revelation that he may have been having an affair with Wendi Murdoch, the now ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Blair was once good pals with Murdoch and Wendi and is godparent […]

Canada’s (not so incredible) shrinking federal government

Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years.   (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958). Total federal government spending as a share […]

Why Is Tom Mulcair Opposed to Tax Increases?

A recent online article suggests that Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is opposed to increasing federal tax rates. I find this quite surprising. According to the August 8 article: Mulcair seemed surprised when he was asked if taxes would go up under an NDP government. “You’re the first person who’s ever asked me that,” he […]

Funding Cuts to Alberta’s PSE Sector: There Are Alternatives

It has recently been reported that the University of Alberta wants to “reopen two-year collective agreements” with faculty and staff “to help the university balance its budget…” This appears to be in direct response to Alberta’s provincial government announcing in its March budget that there would be a “7% cut to operating grants to universities, […]

Fairness by design: a framework for tax reform in Canada

A new CCPA (National) report by Marc Lee and myself argues that Canada’s tax system needs a “fairness” overhaul and presents a framework for progressive tax reform. Those of you who have been following our tax work so far will find this study a great complement to the BC Tax Options Paper. Tax policy is […]

Incomes Flat in “Recovery Year” of 2010

Today’s Statscan release of income data for 2010 allow for a backward glance at the state of the recovery. What is most striking is that – following two years of flat income growth in 2008 and 2009 – there was no meaningful economic recovery for most Canadians in 2010. Median earnings (half earned more, half […]

Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.  My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link. Points I raised in the address include the following: -Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts […]

Tax Shifting

Earlier this week, the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab published a piece by Stephen Gordon arguing that high income and corporate taxes won’t generate much revenue.  Gordon used used the metaphor of Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s (finance minister to the Louis XIV, the “Sun King”) that the art of taxation was like plucking feathers from a goose: “ obtain the […]

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession.  Its focus was almost exclusively […]

The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax […]

Still Progressive and family friendly: evaluating Québec’s income tax policy

University of Sherbrooke economist and fiscal specialist Luc Godbout with Suzie St-Cerny and Michaël Robert-Angers has just published a timely research paper evaluating the net fiscal impact on households of Québec’s income tax system.Timely because, as discussed here be Armine Yalnizyan recent data from stats can shows that though globally income inequality has risen during […]

False Consciousness, Part I: On Elections and the Middle Class

The following appeared in the National Post today. We’re in the last week of a federal election campaign, and every party wants you to believe they’re there for the hardworking families of a middle class under enormous pressure. That’s you, right? The idea of the middle class resonates, because it is a notion we all […]

Income Splitting: A Bad Idea Returns

Since the Conservatives are promising income splitting, it may be worth revisiting some classic Relentlessly Progressive Economics posts on the subject. Some of the links we posted four years ago no longer work, so my Ottawa Citizen op-ed is reproduced below. While the population totals and tax thresholds have changed slightly, the analysis stands. The […]

An Alternative Budget: Making Jobs, Not War

This piece was initially posted on the Globe and Mail’s online business feature, Economy Lab. Join the comments section! For 18 years I’ve been part of a national project in participatory budgeting called the Alternative Federal Budget. Each year dozens of national and community organizations representing millions of Canadians convene over a six month period, […]

What to do about Household Debt?

It’s a funny old economy we live in. The release of today’s national balance sheet accounts has aroused great concern about the rise of the ratio of household debt to personal disposable income to a new record of 148%. Mark Carney and our banks want – quite rightly – to discourage further borrowing to prevent […]

Memo to Energy Minister

Memo to Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert: Royalties are not taxes Already “under attack for allegedly being rude and dismissive when he was health minister,”[1] current Energy Minister Ron Liepert conceded he hadn’t read the Parkland Institute’s new report on vast oilpatch profits but that didn’t stop him from dismissing it: “This is a not […]

Bank Economist Proposes Higher Tuition Fees

A globeandmail.com article posted last night discusses a recent report on post-secondary education in Nova Scotia.  The report itself, released yesterday, was written by BMO’s former Chief Economist, Tim O’Neill.  According to the article, O’Neill’s report calls for “complete deregulation of tuition fees” in Nova Scotia.  Moreover: He believes that higher tuitions are more equitable because they […]

How About Monetary Policy?

Today’s Toronto Star features an op-ed by John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. (I once had the chance to hear John speak at a press conference in Toronto and found him to be an oustanding public speaker.  But I digress…) In the piece, he argues that “we” (I think he means both […]

BC’s carbon tax turns two

With all of the attention focused on the HST implementation on July 1, most people seemed to miss the next increment of that other much-hated tax, BC’s carbon tax. As of July 1, the carbon tax is now $20 per tonne of CO2, or about 4.6 cents on a litre of gasoline. And like any […]

It’s Not Just About Size: What Makes Up Our Tax Bill Matters

The Fraser Institute and the CCPA do not typically see eye to eye, but they seem to agree that personal income taxes take up a relatively small fraction of the average tax bill — about 13 – 14%. According to the Fraser Institute’s recent report on the average Canadian family’s tax bill, the average family […]

Reining in speculation in the housing market

This morning federal finance minister Flaherty announced a number of measures ostensibly aimed at reining in speculation in the housing market.  His announcement was typically well-timed to coincide with the Vanier Institute’s annual report on the state of Canadian family finances, which reports record high levels of household debt, growing inequality and housing prices increasingly out […]

The “Right” Stimulus Debate

We are now into full blown Budget consultation mode, with MPs of all parties going through a bit more than the usual pretence of listening before the actual Budget is finally put to bed by the government a few days hence. For once, even the Conservative inner circle seem a bit unsure of where to […]

Ontario’s Health Premium

Yesterday, I appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park. The committee is reviewing the Ontario Health Premium, as required by the legislation that implemented this levy. My assessment of the premium starts from the premise that the Government of Ontario needs more revenue not only for healthcare, but also […]

New Brunswick Tax Reforms: Pig in the Poke

As Andrew Jackson has written recently on this blog, the New Brunswick government is proposing a set of truly dreadful tax reforms. The proposals include: a 10% flat tax for personal income, or a two-tier rate at 9% and 12% reducing the corporate income tax from 13% down to as low as 5% a carbon tax […]

Dion’s Green Plan or Mintz’s Tax Plan?

There is a lot of the colour green all over Dion’s Green Shift plan.  But after reading it, the greenery appears almost as superficial as the green shift caps that Liberal MPs wore awkwardly with their business suits at the launch yesterday. Dion’s plan is really a proposal for a tax shifting budget and doesn’t […]

Gordon Campbell’s response to the Census inequality findings

Browsing through the letters to the editor in the two big Vancouver dailies this morning, I came across a letter from BC Premier Gordon Campbell responding to the recent Census findings of declining median incomes for workers in this province. The letter was published in both newspapers: a longer version under “Purchasing power and globalization” […]

Statistics Canada Abandons the Class War?

In contrast to last week’s Census release highlighting stagnant individual earnings, today’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) release trumpets rising family income. The political right critiqued coverage of last week’s release for emphasizing individual rather than family income and for not capturing the tax-and-transfer system’s equalizing effects. In particular, the Prime Minister indicated […]

Kesselman on Income Splitting

There has been so much discussion of income splitting on this blog that we already have two posts entitled “Income Splitting Redux.” Adding to the mix, the Institute for Research on Public Policy has released a major paper by Jon Kesselman on the subject. He cites my Ottawa Citizen op-ed among many other sources. I […]

Taxing the Rich

Niels Veldhuis of the Fraser Institute takes me to task today in a Letter to the Editor in response to the story, ‘Tax the rich more in Canada, study urges” (Nanaimo Daily News, Dec. 12). He claims that “the story focusing on the report by Canadian Labour Congress economist Andrew Jackson is seriously misleading… the […]