Sunday, January 08, 2006

Screw you, Scott in Montreal: Harper

Now it all makes sense. Harper said yesterday a Conservative government would repeal the recent Liberal tax cut people like me just started benefitted from.

“We will be doing our tax plan, not the Liberal tax plan,” (Harper) said, singling out the Tories’ promise to cut the GST to five per cent from seven per cent as the centrepiece of the initiative that involves selected personal and business tax cuts. “We can’t do both. And our tax reduction will save a lot more money for Canadians than the Liberal plan.”

One of the measures implemented from the Liberals’ November mini-budget reduced the marginal tax rate for persons earning less than $35,595 to 15 per cent from 16 per cent. At the time, the Liberals promised further cuts in the income-tax rates down the road.

So instead, I'm supposed to make do with paying 1% less on the GST. I know they always try to get it played as a 2% cut, but I note that only the first 1% cut would be enacted this year. The other half would come at some time over five years (in other words, towards the end of his mandate, at the point he would call us back to the polls again.)

So basically, this is a big screw you to working families like mine, who can't benefit from any capital gains tax cut on donations to charities because we are struggling just to keep up with mortgage payments and other bills. It's a pretty meagre portion of my paycheck that goes into non-grocery purchases, let me tell you. At least Jack knows the score on this, and I thought he had the best take on it:

"I was shocked to learn that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives apparently are willing to increase the income taxes on the lowest income people in our community in order to pay for all of their other tax cut promises that they have been throwing around. This to me is shocking and the fact that this has come forward should give every Canadian citizen pause as to what kind of an agenda is here and certainly it is the wrong way to go."

Layton said his party's tax policy calls for no increases in taxes, supports an increase in the basic personal exemption and a reduction in the lowest income tax rate that is now coming into effect.
(emphasis mine)

That's a turnaround from conventional wisdom for you: the far right-wing pledging to raise taxes at a time when the government is awash in money, and the left-wing pledging to lower them. Of course we can see that it depends which rung you find yourself occupying on the social ladder. As one of the families Layton is talking about, I assure you the proposed GST cut would be felt very little in this household in comparison with having my income taxes bounced back up.

Plus, with the currently hot economy, it's the wrong time to take measures designed to increase consumer spending anyway. With interest rates already on an upswing to cool down the economy, cutting the GST could therefore put even more upward pressure on interest rates; this at a time when Canadians are overwhelmingly more indebted than perhaps ever before.

There is no doubting it: Harper would look out for those who are already better off. That's the only segment of the population he really cares about (as long as they don't want to marry their same-sex partner, that is).

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GoodGrief said...

Agreed. Being on a fixed income pension, and trying to raise two teenage kids on my own with no support is difficult at the best of times, so I can emphathize with your situation Scott. Like you, very little of what we spend goes for anything but food, school expenses and bus tickets and forget saving anything. I'm running a 10 year old car with 175k and can barely make my bills on a monthly basis. Mr. Harper's position leaves me out in the cold, but I don't think he's trying to appeal to the likes of us.

TrustOnlyMulder said...

re: the difference between the Liberal tax cut just implemented and the proposed Tory GST cut.

The Liberals do not tell people that the top 10% earning Canadians pay over 54% of the income tax revenue (which is 89Billion total). And they fail to tell you that the bottom 50% of earning canadians pay only 4.4%. StatCanadas numbers not mine.

The 1% cut Martin implemented comes to about $233Million in savings to the lowest 50% of earners, but by my estimates, the Tory GST cut will save over $4 Billion in GST payments by Canadians, which even at a modest assumption of 10% being paid by the lower 50%, comes to over $400M at 1% GST cut and over $800 Million for the full 2% outlined in the Tory plan.

So when you listen to Liberals saying their tax cut is better for lower income people, get out a calculator, go to the CCRA website like I did, Go to StatCan website like I did, and do the math yourself. Don't slam politicians for bragging about their tax cut during elections. Just do your homework.

Scott in Montreal said...

trustonlymulder, about that homework assignment: to recoup the difference between the Federal tax cut on my last paycheck, I'd have to go out and spend $1000 every two weeks on 6% GST-taxable stuff. That amount alone is much more than my take-home pay, so you can take your Conservative talking points, together with that self-righteous attitude, and try selling it someplace else, thanks.

Gazetteer said...

Sheesh Scott,

Don't you know that what you've really got to do is belong to a tiny special interest group that, when Little Stephen promises you a tax break (how about a 30 dollar credit per broken songwriter's pencils per year) he get's another headline.

Ka Ching!

(not that you would actually get it, but oooooh those promises of the suddenly pseudo-pink one)

Anonymous said...

Je crois qu'en réduisant les taxes sur les produits et services de un pourcent (comme le veut Stephen Harper et son parti),on fait économiser de l'argent a tout les Canadiens (aussi bien les riches que les pauvres)mais en réduisant les impots directement sur le revenu des contribuables (comme le propose les libéraux),on peux mieux cibler les personnes qui en ont vraiment de besoin et réduire l'impôt des gens à faible revenu pour leur permettre d'acheter les biens essentiels et de moins réduire l'impôt sur le revenu des gens riches pour équilibrer un peu les choses et que l'écart se réduise un peu entre les deux extrèmes de la société.

Il est certain que les Canadiens paient trop de taxes et/ou d'impôt...encore faut-il trouver la bonne façon de les réduire.

P.S:Sorry,i felt more comfortable writing in french and I really wanted to put my two cents.

Scott in Montreal said...

Merci Anonymous, je vais essayer a traduire votre message.

Here is a rough translation of the above comment by Anonymous:

I believe that by reducing the GST by one percent (as proposed by Harper and his party) it saves money for all Canadians (rich and poor alike), but by reducing the amount of income taxes (as proposed by the Liberals), one can better target the tax break at those who need it more and reduce the tax burden on the less wealthy which allows them to buy the true essentials. And having smaller tax breaks for the wealthy would balance things out a bit so that this gap between society's extremes of rich and poor would then be narrowed.

Surely Canadians pay too much in both income and consumption taxes. Again, we have to find the best way to reduce them.

(Sorry if it isn't exact)

babzog said...

The GST tagets all Canadians. Don't forget - the lowest income earners don't pay income tax, so tax cuts do not affect them. Harper has also said other tax custs will come as they can be afforded so sit tight - I predict you'll get an income tax cut in addition to the gst cut, just give it a couple of years. Overall, most anylysts are saying that the Tory proposal is (marginally) better for lower income earners but not so good for middle income earners (like me). So, yeah it sucks for me to lose the cut for '06, but I'm still voting for the Conservatives because they actually *have* a credible platform, amongst other things.