Thursday, December 30, 2010

Harper's Christmas Gift. Tax Cuts for the Wealthy. Tax Increases for Everyone Else

Now that the NDP are backing billions more in tax cuts for the wealthy, the richest Canadians are being assured another nice chunk of our money, bringing those gifts to about 60 billion dollars, since Harper took office.

But on the flip side, those lucky enough to still have jobs, are lucky enough to have their taxes go up. Yeah!
... nearly all Canadian workers will pay more income and payroll taxes in 2011 ... The Canadian Taxpayers Federation released its annual tax calculations Tuesday and projected an average increase of 2 per cent in 2011 over 2010. The federation said Ontario residents will see the sharpest payroll tax hike, with British Columbia and Nova Scotia right behind them. While those three provinces will be particularly hard hit, the federation’s report said the working poor – regardless of region – will be seriously affected.
So the working poor will be forced to pay more, so that the idle rich can pay less. Don't you just love Neoconservatism?

And the government's response is typical.
“[The] Harper government has not increased taxes, we believe in lower taxes and we have the record to prove it – cutting over 100 taxes and lowering taxes $3,000 for an average family,” Mr. Pothier wrote in an e-mail. He added the Conservative government has kept EI premiums low with rate freezes. Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty released a statement Tuesday mentioning tax relief, though it only addressed a reduction in the corporate income tax rate.
"Tax relief". He took the words right out of George Bush's mouth.
Conservatives Know about Framing: On the day that George W. Bush took office, the words tax relief started appearing in White House communiqu├ęs to the press and in official speeches and reports by conservatives ....
And the Bush Administration knew how to sell tax cuts for the wealthy, by making it appear as though everyone enjoyed this so-called "relief". And by suggesting that the wealthy would use their tax cuts to create jobs. And when jobs continued to be lost, there was a simple remedy. Give the rich more "tax relief".
So how did Bush deal with this proven failure? Like the character in Chicago who said, "You going to believe what you see or what I tell you?," Bush in 2003 brazenly attacked the problem head-on. "That six percent [jobless] number should say loud and clear to members of both political parties in the U.S. Congress, we need robust tax relief so our fellow citizens can find jobs"—even though four-fifths of the job losses followed his 2001 tax relief. So when press secretary Ari Fleischer said in mid-2003 that "tax cuts have helped create jobs and to promote growth in the economy," he must have had the economy of the Cayman Islands in mind. (1)
And while constantly suggesting that the average American was paying less taxes, the opposite was true.
The President also kept heralding the statistic that the "average" family would get back $1,083 from his proposed 2003 cuts. This combination of populist rhetoric and actual data would be more appealing, however, if it were true. But based on data from the Tax Policy Center, 80 percent of Americans will get three-fourths less than W.'s claim of an "average" tax cut of $1,083. Filers in the middle quintile of the income spectrum—the "median" household—would receive only $227, and that before increased local and state taxes due to federal cutbacks are subtracted. And the 42 percent of taxpayers who are neither married nor have children would get a "little bitty" $50 on average, according to Citizens for Tax justice. By including in his "average" the $20,762 each of the top 1 percent of all tax filers would receive and the $89,509 returned to those 0.2 percent earning a million or more annually, Bush's figure perfectly fit Mark Twain's definition of a "stretcher"—literally true but misleading. (1)
And the Harper government has their own "stretchers" when it comes to this so-called $3000 "tax relief" that all Canadians are supposed to have enjoyed.

Again, my best advice comes from Hannah Arendt. THINK!

Are we really paying less taxes? They lowered the GST by 2% but then shoved the HST down our throats, even having the audacity to use our tax dollars as bribe money. And yes the GST portion of the HST is lower, but it has been put on things that we never paid GST on before. There is no net benefit.


Just because they say it, doesn't make it true. You just have to learn to speak Neocon. It's a bit Orwellian but a lot more complex. But to crack the code, remember that all language used is "framed" and wrapped in calculated ambiguity.


"Tax relief" translates to "please give me the shirt off your back so my chauffeur can use it to clean my Mercedes." Only they never say please.
"If Ottawa giveth, then Ottawa can taketh away." - Stephen Harper

1. The Book on Bush: How George W. (mis) Leads America, By Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN: 0-670-03273-5, Pg. 39-40


  1. Whenever I read the news or sorry Tory Talking points or watch t.v. news and want to bash my face in despair, I can always come here and feel like I'm taking a nice long hot bath filled with sanity bubbles. Thank you for my most basic touchstone of sanity.

  2. The 2% reduction in GST also only benefits the rich as only those who can afford big ticket items on a regular basis truly benefit and see a noticeable decrease.

    2% of your grocery bill is not nearly the same as say 2% off a brand new boat. ITs a "the more you spend, the more you save" benefit.

  3. Ah, but it's all a matter of perception. People will be told this is a good thing, and they'll believe what they're told. In Alberta, everyone boasts that there is no provincial sales tax, even poor people boast about it, and people from other provinces say "Wow, you're lucky!"
    I agree with Innadiated, but a 2% reduction in GST, presented as "a good thing for all Canadians" will be perceived that way. People want to believe what they are told, they don't want to question it. That's the sad truth.