Taxers of the World Unite

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.

Of course, there are even more serious problems with the underlying Fraser Institute figures, as noted by the following letter printed in today’s Toronto Sun:

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

8 comments

  • When you have the likes John Mortimer on the board (president of LabourWatch) what do you expect the quality and transparency of argument is likely to be over at the CTF? Take a look at the bio of their members. Petty resource and venture capitalists, financiers and union busters.

    What a rogues gallery.

  • Great letter Erin. Dialectics works wonders, good logic trumps bad reasoning. With patient exposition, eventually people will grasp that your point is superior.

  • In response to a headline from Europe today, where the debt crisis is spreading beyond Greece, many are asking just this question, how will governments deal with the aftermath of the great recession.

    Many within the progressive movements have stated that workers and citizens have not been up in arms with the current global economic system and its nasty unravelling over the past couple years. However, reading those headlines this morning, about how investors are shorting Portugal and making money on pushing up the lending rates to these countries, reminded me of the research I did during the thirties.

    It could one day be more than Tax federation being pissed of at progressive for suggestingw e should raise taxes rather than cutting. When you have people losing their pensions, having 20-30% cutbacks in public sector salaries, mass layoffs and a whole host of austerity being downloaded on those that did not create the mess. Potentially the massive backlash that one would seemingly predict from this meltdown is simply delayed.

    For all the talk of recovery, it surely is not a recovery when one has developed countries being thrown into the financial abyss. This is all quite serious, and there is only so much the EU and the IMF can do to ward off these countries from the jaws of austerity, and who says these countries citizens will just accept these measures. This is exactly how pissed off people in the 30’s put into power some quite radical solutions.

    I just cannot believe the financial community despite the gigantic role they played in can on one day, influence peddle their way out of serious regulation outcomes from a G20 meeting and on the same day, watch as financiers credit default swap their way into revenue made off the back of taxpayers in these countries.

    Such an amazing day!

  • It’s important not to confuse cause and effect. Credit spreads for Portugal and Greece are going up because there’s increasing concern that they could default on their debt, despite being part of the Euro zone.

    In other news, (1-0.417)/(1-0.335) = 0.8766, which is less than 0.9. If your take-home pay was $0.665 before and it’s now $0.583, it has dropped by ($0.665-$0.583)/$0.665, or 12.33%.

  • Very intriguing that in his op-ed Kevin Gaudet of the Taxpayers Federation blames the NDP (and the CCPA, public sector unions, David Suzuki, TStar, etc) for the introduction of the HST in Ontario and BC. My impression was that the federal and provincial NDPs in both these provinces are campaigning strongly against the HST by their respective governments. I’m fascinated to hear more details about this extensive conspiracy. Am I wildly out of the loop again?

  • Toby you are wildly out of the loopy.

  • Another contradiction is that, while the CTF cites the HST as evidence of rising taxes, the Fraser Institute would count it as a slight tax cut for households. Since the Fraser Institute assumes all taxes are paid by households, it would assume that all of the HST’s input tax credits for business will flow to households. These input tax credits plus the personal income tax credits will cost more than the additional sales tax collected from consumers.

  • Mystified by the Ever Decreasing Corporate Tax Rates!

    By 1910 the mention of a graduated in-come tax was appealing. “The best way for the Rockefeller-Morgan insiders to eliminate growing competition was to impose a progressive income tax on their competitors while making sure the law contained built-in escape hatches for themselves. Actually, very few of the proponents of the graduated income tax realized they were playing into the hands of those they were seeking to control.” Nelson Aldrich (also established Federal Reserve Bank), the insider‟s Senatorial agent and maternal grandfather of David Rockefeller, was instrumental in getting a Constitutional amendment (the 16th, never legally ratified) allowing Congress to impose an income tax.

    How Exxon paid zero taxes in 2009

    http://www.oil-price.net/en/articles/How-Exxon-paid-zero-tazes-in-2009.php

    Erin Weir wrote about the “Goofy Oil Industry” and the Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith seeking apology from Stelmach government for oppressing the victimised Oil industry. Before becoming the leader of the Wildrose, Danielle was the Alberta Director for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

    It is no surprise PM Trudeau is so vilified in Alberta since he tried to secure the oil supply for Canada at the time of world crisis. While Diefenbaker who killed the Avro project is a hero.

    Here is a story that was buried for over sixty years!

    The Plot to Seize the White House [Hardcover]
    Jules Archer (Author)

    http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Seize-White-House/dp/B0006COVHA

    Check out the customer review by reader Lion Kuntz – A key event in the History of Corporate Crime.

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