Stephen Harper once said in an interview when asked about taxes: “You know, there’s two schools in economics on this, one is that there are some good taxes and the other is that no taxes are good taxes. I’m in the latter category. I don’t believe any taxes are good taxes.”
What school in economics would believe that no taxes are good taxes? Without revenue how do we pay for roads, schools, healthcare, policing, etc.?
There would be anarchy.
All politicians campaign on lower taxes, but NO taxes? That's absurd. I'd prefer a politician campaign on better use of our tax dollars, not on eliminating them.
However, while Harper would like to reduce taxes so he can eliminate all social programs, including health care, he doesn't really believe in eliminating taxes. In fact he's been raising them with his HST and payroll taxes. He just cleverly let's someone else take the blame.
In Lawrence Martin's new book Harperland, he talks about the GST and how Stephen Harper gambled making that an election issue in 2005-2006, because for the most part Canadians believe that taxes are the price we pay for living in a country with public health care, public education, etc.
Martin suggests that the gamble paid off, but that's not true. A poll conducted right after that election, showed an overwhelming majority of Canadians who switched their vote, did so to punish the Liberals for the Sponsorship Scandal. Few stated that it was because of lowering the GST.
While technically not an economist (graduated from program but never worked a day in the field), back in the Reform Party days, Harper was in favour of the GST. When their members wanted it's removal, it was Harper himself who pitched it's merits. He only wanted to eliminate exemptions.
But now he has to play to his base, the anti-tax crowd.
But I wonder if they have really thought about what an end to taxes would mean. They ascribe to the theory of everyone taking care of themselves, but they would lose an important status in society.
Our birthright or immigrant standing assures our citizenship, but being taxpayers gives us leverage. We hold the government to account based on that fact. We have a vested interest in the country.
What if we can no longer say "I'm a taxpayer and I have rights." What if the only sure thing left is death?
Something for the anti-tax cult to think about.