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As support for carbon taxes falls, have Canadians finally reached their tax limit?

May 2018

So a recent Abacus Data poll shows the Ontario NDP virtually tied with the PCs in the upcoming election.  In one sense, this should be taken with a huge grain of salt, given how American polls showed Hillary with a 90% rating just days before the election.

However, I’m not going to take for granted that Doug Ford has no need to worry, not even with the specter of Bob Rae’s disastrous government for those who remember it.

A recent Ipsos poll revealed that 72% of Ontarians are against carbon taxes, a shocking turn of events given that two years ago, when carbon taxes were only a proposal, Canadians supported the idea by a margin of 56% to 44%.

Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford has stated he will axe the carbon tax currently in the party platform written for former leader Patrick Brown for the upcoming election, along with axing the existing carbon tax that Kathleen Wynne enacted earlier this year once elected as Premier.

Some political commentators are questioning what the PCs will do to fill the hole in their financial figures that the carbon tax would have provided. My question is why do we need that money in the first place? Isn’t the whole idea of a carbon tax to “save the planet” (sarcasm alert), not as a new revenue stream for the government?

Let’s face it everyone: we’re taxed to death already and many of us will never get ahead if we have to pay any more taxes.

The average Canadian pays 42.5 % of their incomes in overall taxes and for most of us, our paycheques just aren’t keeping up with what the government expects us to pay.

That said, along with the waste that occurs at every government level, maybe we have to accept that the government simply can provide everything to everyone for our entire lives.

Does the government need an ever increasing amount of money to run its operations or can it get by on less, just like everyone who else who doesn’t have the force of law behind them to extract more and more money out of the pockets of others?

If you’re not making enough money to buy the essentials (forget about the things you simply want, not need), you either ask your boss for a raise, get a second job or a better paying primary job.

However, if you are unable to find additional revenue sources, your choices are either to go into debt, which can lead to other problems if you aren’t able to pay off those debts, cut back on any expenses you can to save money, or you simply don’t buy those things.

Of course there are social service agencies that can assist you with some things, but if they’re government run, we still have the problem of can the taxpayers really afford it?

For all Ontario households with debt, if you ever hope to get out of debt, eventually you will reach a point where you have to prioritize what you really need to buy as opposed things you would like to buy.  Currently, Canadians on average spend $1.63 for every dollar they make, with average debt levels anywhere between $5, 000 to $11, 000 per household.

Ontario currently has a debt of around $311 billion, making it the most indebted sub-sovereign borrower in the world.

The federal government debt is around $653 billion.

Now some debt is good, like mortgage debt, because it allows us to buy things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford and the house/property is an asset that appreciates in value.  That said, for long-term mortgages, the amount of money paid in interest can be quite shocking..

Many left-wing politicians and political commentators are constantly going on about making rich people and rich corporations “pay their fair share,” but they fail to specify exactly what that means. What exactly do they consider a “fair share”? Is a tax-rate of 60% of total income enough or should it be 70%. Is 85% enough or should the rich just hand over every penny they make and then get in line at the nearest soup kitchen?

Does that example sound ridiculous?  Just as ridiculous as the fact that Canadians pay around 1, 800% more in taxes since 1961; an increase that has far outpaced the normal rate of inflation and certainly corresponding increases in household incomes.  There’s no comparison to the level of taxation Ontarians paid in 1961 as to what they pay now.

As many political commentators have said, governments generally don’t have revenue problems; they have spending problems. We have all been living beyond our means for too long and one day we are going to have to reconcile with the fact that our governments are going to have to cut back on their expenses and start paying down their debts. If most people ran their finances the way governments do, they would have declared insolvency a long time ago.

I still shake my head that legendary socialist politician Tommy Douglas believed that government debt was bad because the interest that must be paid on those debts uses up money that could be used to pay for the social programs that we all love.  It’s money that is literally shoveled into a blast furnace. In Ontario, if debt was a ministry, it would have the third highest budget of any ministry, behind health and education.

Tommy got it, so why don’t we?  Does anyone else see the irony?

It’s debatable whether the financial decisions Mike Harris made in the 1990s were effective or detrimental, but at least he recognized we had to do something.

Bottom line, Ontarians are going to have to accept the idea that eventually cuts are going to have to be made in provincial (and federal) government spending, whether it’s cuts to services or public service jobs, if we are ever going to return to a balanced budget and start paying off the accumulated debt.

It should be noted that cuts can easily be made by not filling job positions vacated by voluntary retirements or resignations, cutting programs and services that are “nice-to-have,” not needed or ones that are better left to the private sector like employee benefits, or simply getting better value for money spent, like not paying $650, 000 designing a logo for the new Ontario Cannabis Store that my daughter could have done with her crayons for $1.25 from the Dollar Store.

There is lots and lots of waste in government and that should be tackled first before anyone even considers raising taxes.

Some things to think about if you’re considering voting NDP.

Sources:  https://globalnews.ca/news/3691159/canada-taxes-incomes-fraser-institute, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/charles-lammam/canada-taxes_b_3211957.html, http://torontosun.com/2017/07/05/why-carbon-pricing-is-losing-popularity/wcm/a1b1bb38-8e3c-438b-83d3-e49523b540a2, http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/how-crushing-is-ontarios-312-billion-debt-really, http://www.debtclock.ca/, http://www.debtclock.ca/provincial-debtclocks/ontario/, https://www.straight.com/news/1078331/ndp-surges-forward-new-ontario-election-poll-maybe-doug-ford-wont-become-premierhttps://globalnews.ca/news/3933617/average-canadian-consumer-debt-ipsos-poll, 

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/as-support-for-carbon-taxes-falls-have-canadians-finally-reached-their-tax-limit/

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