A very scary PM: ‘I don’t believe that any taxes are good taxes’


dumpthemonarchy
#1
Harper needs to understand govt a little bit more. Maybe he wants to contract govt out to Fox news and Dick Cheney. This is not really a sophisticated view of the world these days. Maybe this is one of the few times he said what he thinks. Could explain why he always looks so tight.



A very scary PM: I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes - The Globe and Mail

Jeffrey Simpson
Last updated on Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2009 04:25AM EDT
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 that any taxes are good taxes.
– Stephen Harper, July 10
This assertion, from an interview the Prime Minister gave The Globe and Mail after the G8 summit in Italy, is one of the most stunning, revealing and, frankly, ignorant statements ever made by a prime minister, let alone one who keeps purporting to be an economist, despite doing so many things that economists deplore.
Think about it: The prime minister of a country is saying, “I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes.”
There is no “school,” to use Stephen Harper's word, anywhere in economics that says “no taxes are good taxes.” Not even Milton Friedman and the Chicago school think that. Nor do Mr. Harper's former mentors at the University of Calgary.
They, like right-wing politicians, might think taxes are too high, maybe way too high. They might think the private sector can do lots of things better than the public sector. They might believe taxes should be lower. But anyone who says “no taxes are good taxes” and “I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes” is wrong economically, and very, very scary socially and politically.
Only libertarian anarchists believe that all taxes are bad, and that society can get along without them. But who will pay, if not citizens, for the military on which the Harper government is lavishing billions of dollars? Who will pay for the police, the courts?
Who will provide, if not the taxpayers, the revenues to pay for the two services that even the most right-wing ideologues agree only public authorities can provide: the defence of the realm, and law and order?
Maybe the Prime Minister misspoke. Maybe he was just using a figure of speech, although he could have said something like “all taxes are a necessary evil.” But even that “necessary evil” idea is different from saying all taxes are bad, because the “evil” of taxation is “necessary,” as indeed it is in any civilized society.
Presumably, there lurks inside the Prime Minister an anger about much of contemporary society that has been built with taxpayers' money, an anger contained by the political reality that the Prime Minister can't do much about this state of affairs.
Indeed, the comment harkens back to Mr. Harper's days shilling for the National Citizens Coalition and early years with the Reform Party, when he believed that just about everything governments were doing was bad and wasteful and led to huge deficits. Since then, and especially as Prime Minister, Mr. Harper has shelved many of those views, since a distinguishing characteristic of his government has been a reluctance to cut government spending.
Not a single major government program has been eliminated since he took office, perhaps because of minority governments, or perhaps because political reality has shackled Mr. Harper's deep instincts that all taxes and, by extension, the programs for which taxes pay, are bad.
His governments cut taxes, which is in line with the Prime Minister's ideology, the problem being that the GST was the wrong tax to cut, as almost every qualified economist in the country has underscored.
Now, with deficits burgeoning, Mr. Harper insists again (the ideology returns) that he will never raise taxes, even though future deficits are going to be much larger than his government has forecast.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer and TD Economics have both destroyed the government's rosy deficit projections (and much else) in recent reports that show deficits stretching well beyond 2013-2014, when the government insists the budget will be balanced.
By ruling out tax increases, and refusing to indicate that big spending cuts will be needed, the government is shackling Canada with deficits stretching into the distance, with more accumulated debt - a strange state of affairs for a nominally conservative government.
Politically, of course, this aversion to tax from a prime minister who believes “no taxes are good taxes” has terrified the Liberals, who are afraid of being honest by telling Canadians that resumed economic growth alone will not restore Canada's balanced budget.
 
Stretch
#2
are any taxes good? just how much of you hard earned goes to the gov in taxes........ever worked it out?
what about a tax on politicians.......that would be good.....
poli= many
tics = blood sucking parasites
 
taxslave
#3
Much as I dislike giving up roughly half of my paycheque to various governments I recognize that some taxes are necessary. It is the amount we are forced to shell out and the waste by those stealing it that I object to. Government cannot be all things to all people despite what the socialists claim. We must take control of spending away from politicians who will simply buy votes with our money by promising grease to every squeaky wheel.
 
Colpy
#4
Jeffrey Simpson is a Liberal shill....always has been......

As for him, and the rest of you folks out there that are flabbergasted by Harper's statement, here's some advice:

1. Lighten Up.

2. Learn to read English.

he said there were no good taxes, not that taxes are unnecessary, or unreasonable........

Of course a Liberal quails at the thought!

i mean, without good taxes, where would he get the money to hound the average duck hunter out of his sport???

And Good Lord! Without good taxes, how could ione possibly channel tens of millions of bucks to Liberal "entrepreneurs"bag men and gangsters.

Idiotic
 
SirJosephPorter
#5
Dumpthemonarchy, that is really one of the reason why lately conservatism has been synonymous with ‘borrow and spend’. Conservatives do not like any taxes, they especially don’t like taxes on the rich.

They are always trying to cut the taxes (witness the huge tax cut for the rich that Bush enacted as soon as he got in power). When you don’t have tax revenue coming, the only way you are going to spend is by borrowing. That of course shoots the budget deficit through the roof.

Thus Bush inherited healthy surpluses, he converted that into huge deficits. Harper inherited health surpluses, he converted that into huge deficits. Indeed, if you look at almost any conservative leader, he has managed to shoot the deficit through the roof. Can you think of any conservative leader who has balanced the budget? I cannot.

And one of the main reasons for that is that conservatives don’t’ like taxes, they try to cut taxes. When you don’t have taxes, you have to borrow to spend. So just as left is known as ‘tax and spend’. Right is known as ‘borrow and spend’. In economics, as in anything else, it is the centre that is the sensible one.
 
Colpy
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorterView Post

Harper inherited health(y) surpluses, he converted that into huge deficits.

As demanded by the Liberals.............

Oh, how soon we forget!
 
#juan
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

As demanded by the Liberals.............

Oh, how soon we forget!

Oh we won't forget that Harper was handed a 10 billion dollar surplus and Harper is now running a 7 or 8 billion dollar deficit that will grow as long as Harper's mob is in there. Btw Colpy this can't be blamed on the Liberals. The conservatives apparently thought they could cut corporate taxes and cut the GST with no effect. Give them a few more months. They will eventually catch on....
 
SirJosephPorter
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by #juanView Post

Oh we won't forget that Harper was handed a 10 billion dollar surplus and Harper is now running a 7 or 8 billion dollar deficit that will grow as long as Harper's mob is in there. Btw Colpy this can't be blamed on the Liberals. The conservatives apparently thought they could cut corporate taxes and cut the GST with no effect. Give them a few more months. They will eventually catch on....

Indeed, Bush did the same thing. He was handed a 100 billion $ surplus, he shortly converted that into a 500 billion $ deficit, by giving tax cuts, mainly to the rich.

When you lose tax base, the only way you can raise money is by borrowing it. Hence the borrow and spend philosophy of the right.
 
Machjo
#9
Actually, it would be possible to have a tax-free society and still have government revenue.

Remember, the government owns all not yet exploited resources on crown land. As such, we need to buy those resources from the government before we can dig them out of the ground.

Looking at it that way, the government could choose to drop all taxes and rely instead on money gotten from the resources it sells on crown land (and fines and fees for services of course, which, likewise, are not the same as taxes as such).

Now a problem I see with this is that people could then decide to just import the resources from abroad, which would mean the need for a resource tariff (which is a tax). For example, a car import would have to come with a list of all resources put in it, along with the weight of each, each resource to then be tariffed (taxed) according to its weight. This would ensure that a any foreign resource, be it in its raw form or in a finished product, would not undermine the price for the crown resources in the Canadian marketplace.

Now there I see a dilemma. Without the tariff, the government could sell the resource at no more than world market prices, which would certainly limit government revenue considerably. And if it introduces the tariff, well, then it's not a tax-free society anymore, bringing us back to square one. Though granted, that last option is optional if the government were willing to accept extremely low revenue. So in theory at least, a tax-free society is in fact possible.

Another problem of course is which level of government do crown resources belong to? IF provincial, then we'd have to expect provincial governments to share these resources with the federal and local governments. If federal, then the federal would have to share with the provincial and local.

But I could see a combination of revenues from resources,fines, and government service fees being the only sources of government revenue, saying quite simply perhaps that those who need a certain service but are below a certain wealth level are exempted from paying. All they'd have to do is prove their net worth.

This could even work in a private sector setting. For example, we could place a law stating that all schools in the country, be they publicly or privately owned, religious or secular, are to be registered as public schools (by public here, I'm not referring to ownership, but access, meaning that they'd be obligated to accept any child whose parents register him to that school). Each adult member of society could be expected to give a certain amount of money to the school of his choice (a kind of sponsor a child scenario whether you have a child attending school or not), and each school would be required to accept any enrollee of the right age. If the parents can pay, the school reserves the right to charge them. If not, the school must accept the child for free.

This would make for resouce profits, fines, fees, and school donations replacing taxes.
 
Tonington
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

Idiotic

Idiotic is cutting taxes without commensurate cuts in program spending, and increasing spending. The author may be a shill, but if you remove your partisan glasses you'd see that on this point he is absolutely correct.
 
Machjo
#11
Actually, even the fee system could be broadly used. For example, cruise lines and oil ships might want to hire naval escort vessels. This could be a source of income for the Navy, while making the system more user-pay.

Even the police could charge for its services to those who could afford it, while being required to serve the poor for free. The same could apply to hospitals if we wanted to go that route.
 
Polygong
#12
Saying that taxes are bad is like saying paying for anything is bad. We all live with the benefits of government, and that costs money. It is debatable what the government should and should not cover, but for what you expect government to cover, expect to pay, you want it all for free?

Perhaps someone should look at a list of countries ranked by level of taxation. Look at the countries with the lowest rates of taxation. I seriously doubt you would like to live there
 
Machjo
#13
As for helping the most destitute, I suppose we could say that any poor person would ahve the right to go to any construction company and request a hostel room. Not the most luxurious accommodation, but better than nothing, with the construction company being required to provide for at least his most basic needs. This of course would mean more overhead costs for the construction company, which would be passed on to customers buying houses, apartments, shops, etc. Or companies could all agree to fund it together to not give anyonean advantage over the others.
 
Machjo
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by PolygongView Post

Saying that taxes are bad is like saying paying for anything is bad. We all live with the benefits of government, and that costs money. It is debatable what the government should and should not cover, but for what you expect government to cover, expect to pay, you want it all for free?

Perhaps someone should look at a list of countries ranked by level of taxation. Look at the countries with the lowest rates of taxation. I seriously doubt you would like to live there

I'm not saying taxes are bad, especially when we have debt. I was just exploring the theoretical possibility of government getting revenue from other sources. THough granted even then, we'd still be paying, just in a different way. Right now, we're paying through taxes being filtered through a corrupt bureaucracy.

Under the other system I was playing with above, the private sector would have certain obligations to society which would add to overhead costs that would then be calculated into the price of goods and services, thus simply pushing prices up. Since the private sector would be providing the services though, it would likely strive to do so in the most efficient and least bureaucratic manner possible.

By the way, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan used a system similar to what I'm proposing with regards to their military. Their tax base was quite low in fact, but the Nazi Party controlled all resource imports. Any company that wanted to buy resources had to buy them through the government, at which stage the government could negotiate a deal with them. For example, the government sells a certain car compnay X amount of steele, and that car company will give the government X number of tanks in return. Of course this simply would have added to the cost of car production, thus pushing car prices up in the German market. But then again, it would also have meant that Germans not buying cars would have been contributing less than others to the war effort.
 
Tonington
#15
Also, surely has Harper as an economist has heard of pigovian taxes? He hasn't cut any of the taxes on fuel (which he promissed), tobacco, or alcohol, which netted the federal government $16.7 billion in 2004-5.
 
SirJosephPorter
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

Actually, it would be possible to have a tax-free society and still have government revenue.

Machjo, what you are describing here is the ultimate in private enterprise, or the Propertarian society, which I told you about a while ago.

While there is a workable model of Proeprtarian society, nobody has tried it before, and it is uncertain how it would work in practice.
 
Machjo
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorterView Post

Machjo, what you are describing here is the ultimate in private enterprise, or the Propertarian society, which I told you about a while ago.

While there is a workable model of Proeprtarian society, nobody has tried it before, and it is uncertain how it would work in practice.

I wasn't saying I supported it necessarily, but merely that it would be theoretically possible to a considerable degree. I also agree of course that public property is necessary too.

Actually though, Sweden has an interesting model. I remember reading once (and this surprised me) that while Sweden had more government control over the economy than the US, the government owned a smaller percentage of the national GDP in Sweden than the US.

That alone is proof that a socialist country can function without massive government ownership of property.
 
Colpy
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Idiotic is cutting taxes without commensurate cuts in program spending, and increasing spending. The author may be a shill, but if you remove your partisan glasses you'd see that on this point he is absolutely correct.

True enough....but the hypocrisy of the Liberals.....crying for more spending.....and complaining about deficits!!!

Harper could not have foreseen the collapse of his tax base....

AND, anyone complaining about deficits that approves of $400,000 for the Toronto Gay Pride Day has their head firmly stuck up their own ***.....
 
Walter
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

anyone complaining about deficits that approves of $400,000 for the Toronto Gay Pride Day has their head firmly stuck up their own ***.....

Or thomeone elthe's, thailor.
 
Machjo
#20
Similar occurred in Nazi Germany, whereby taxes were lw and most property was privately owned, yet the government had temendous control of the economy.

Going back to Sweden, though taxes were high, it was mainly money directed at the welfare state, provision of services, and thus little of that money goes towrds government acquisition of property.

To take another example from social democratic Sweden, private healthcare can co-exist with public healthcare, and the government gives out school vouchers, an idea associated more with the right in Canada.

I think we can make a distinction between Swedish 'social democracy' and its support of the welfare state for the most part, and Canadian 'labour socialism' with its emphasys on catering to labour unions and establishinfg crown corporation, mainly economic statism rather than the welfare state, with money going towards acquisitions. This was clearly evident under Trudeau, and others in the past. Air Canda, PetroCan, the CBC, etc.
 
Machjo
#21
I'm just pointing out, SJP, that things aren't always as they seem. A country with high taxes does not necessarily have much ownership of property, and vice versa. Likewise, a country with low taxes does not necessarily have to give up control over the economy through the private sector. There are many, many shades between the so-called 'right' and 'left'. Some so-called 'right-wingers' might find the Liberal Party too far to the right of them on some issues, just as some on the left might find even the CPC too far to the left on some issues. Thigs aren't always as they seem. The NDP opposes 2-tier health care, yet socialist Sweden support its. In Canada, school vouchers are viewed as right wing nutcase ideas, while socialist Sweden is one fo the few countries that use that very system!

These are just some examples of how right and left labels can blind people from the truth of a matter.
 
Machjo
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

AND, anyone complaining about deficits that approves of $400,000 for the Toronto Gay Pride Day has their head firmly stuck up their own ***.....

My God man. And think of the NDP, that champion of the poor, defending this while some are sleeping in the streets. You could provide training in a trade or profession for a good few unemploeyed people struggling to find work right now with that money. Hmmmm... and who's the most vocal proponent of thsi again?

Oh, of course, the champion party of the poor!
 
Machjo
#23
That's got a nice ring to it actually:

Champion Party of the Poor (CPP)
 
SirJosephPorter
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

I wasn't saying I supported it necessarily, but merely that it would be theoretically possible to a considerable degree. I also agree of course that public property is necessary too.

Actually though, Sweden has an interesting model. I remember reading once (and this surprised me) that while Sweden had more government control over the economy than the US, the government owned a smaller percentage of the national GDP in Sweden than the US.

That alone is proof that a socialist country can function without massive government ownership of property.

That is true about Sweden, Machjo. And who told you that Sweden is a Socialist country? It’s system is Social Democracy, not Socialism.
 
Machjo
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorterView Post

That is true about Sweden, Machjo. And who told you that Sweden is a Socialist country? It’s system is Social Democracy, not Socialism.

Social democracy is a moderate form of socialism.

By the way, then, are you saying now that a voucher system is now social democratic? I thought in Canada it was supposed to be reich wing.
 
Machjo
#26
So then by Canadian standards, is Sweden a far right country?
 
darkbeaver
#27
If we had a functioning national bank we could perhaps eliminate taxation.
 
SirJosephPorter
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

So then by Canadian standards, is Sweden a far right country?

Machjo, it is nonsense to compare one country with another in each and every aspect. No doubt some things are more right wing in Sweden, some more left wing compared to Canada.

As far as liberal – conservative spectrum is concerned, I would say that Canada and Sweden are at about the same level.
 
SirJosephPorter
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

Social democracy is a moderate form of socialism.

Depends upon how you define Socialism, Machjo. I think Social Democracy is more Democracy than Socialism. I think Canada is also a Social Democracy. USA will come close to the Social Democratic model if they manage to pass the health care legislation (which appears unlikely as of now).
 
Machjo
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorterView Post

Depends upon how you define Socialism, Machjo. I think Social Democracy is more Democracy than Socialism. I think Canada is also a Social Democracy. USA will come close to the Social Democratic model if they manage to pass the health care legislation (which appears unlikely as of now).

As far as the welfare state is concerned, Canada doewsn't even compare. Sure Sweden has shrunk its welfare state model to a considerable degree, yet even today all Swedes continue to have full access to free post-secondary education, whether university or trade schools, etc. Tehir cradle-to-grave welfare system still exists in all its forms. Looking at it that way, their government is very much to the left of ours.

Yet, they do have a two-tier healthcare system and have a voucher programme. They're moderate socialists who are far from dogmatic and always willing to experiment with various blendings of socialism and capitalism, unlike the dogmatism we see from Canada's NDP, opposed to a two-tier health system, opposed to anything capitalist. Or the Liberal Party, essentially just a tad to the left of the Conservatives, who are pretty much dogmatically anti all that is socialist no matter what.
 

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