Rhys Kesselman, Canada Research Chair in Public Finance and a professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy, has an op-ed in the Globe and Mail discussing the Harper government's new tax policies, clearly designed to benefit the highest wage earners.
Neoconservatives love to talk about "lower taxes", but they don't really mean lower taxes for everyone. They have designer tax cuts, allowing claims for gym memberships. We can expect fitness centres to tout this tax break, locking more and more people into expensive contracts.
They design "family" tax benefits, to only target their version of the "family", no single parents allowed.
And while they move toward a zero tax for corporations, they raise taxes on workers with a payroll tax, and implement user fees. Most of these fees are again a transfer of funds from the public, to the private sector, who take over services once provided by the government for free.
Jim Flaherty has tapped into George Bush's favourite line of "tax relief", using a median figure, but when broken down, only the wealthiest citizens reap any real benefit.
The wonderful Linda McQuaig, again reminds us that this systematic transfer of wealth to the top, is hurting everyone. And yet to hear the neocons talk, those who are suffering the most, are the ones hurting the economy.
I watched Bill Maher this week, and one topic of conversation was Republican rhetoric, that not only defies logic, but also defies history.
Sarah Palin suggested that Paul Revere rode to the British camp and told them that they must uphold their second amendment right to bear arms, despite the fact that there was as of yet, no such amendment on the books, and indeed, no constitution.
Another Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, suggested that U.S. soldiers fought in WWII so that Americans wouldn't be forced to have healthcare. Silly Obama. He should have known that before touting his socialist ideas.
But as Maher reminded his audience, they are the kind of people who would probably get elected, because despite the fact that what they spout is pure nonsense, they spout it with conviction, never changing their story.
The Conservatives just keep chanting "low taxes, low taxes, low taxes" and we believe them, even if logic and the increased difficulty of stretching our pay cheques, prove otherwise.
Another argument made by the neoconservatives, is that cutting taxes for the wealthiest, drives down the price of consumer goods (that's the "job creation" part - jobs in Third World countries).
And yes we can now buy cheap TVs and DVD players, but the cost of housing is on the rise and food through the roof. We can buy cheap crap but basic survival is getting very expensive.
The Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party was never a populist party, but perhaps the most top down party in the history of Canada. They tapped into the populism of social credit for support, but their platform was written by Stephen Harper, right from the National Citizens Coalition handbook (Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada, by William Johnson, McClelland & Stewart, 2005, ISBN 0-7710 4350-3).
It is a party run by and for the corporate sector.
But darn it all if they don't sound convincing when they pretend that they work for us.