We don’t pay enough taxes to support the basic public services we require.
We’ve been sold a lot of things over the years: the world is flat, smoking is good for you, climate change is a hoax, and other demonstrably ridiculous ideas,but one of the most diabolical of silly theories is the one we’ve been sold for years, that:
“Tax increases cause us to have less money, and tax cuts allow us to have more money.”
Most of us believe this is true. It isn’t. Actually, the opposite is true. Tax cuts are invariably flat and thus benefit the wealthy.
The 25% tax cut by Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal government in 2001 was a gift to the wealthy – let’s see, 25% of 2 million per year or 25% of $30,000 per year – who benefits more from this tax cut?
In addition, the less tax we pay, the more government revenues must be coaxed out of “flat” sources – sources where we all pay the same, regardless of income or wealth. User fees, tolls, casino revenues, medical premiums, license fees, and other flat strategies have replaced taxation as the source of government revenue.
And what do all these sources have in common? They’re flat – the poor pay the same as the wealthy.
The aggregate of what we pay these sources amounts to far more than what we’d pay under a sensible, transparent, progressive tax system.
Interest groups, right wing think tanks,and the Canadian Taxpayers Association constantly tell us we’re overtaxed. The reason they continuously rant against any tax increase is because taxation of income and/or wealth is the only source of government revenue that can be made progressive if we so choose.
Progressive taxation affects the wealthy instead of just squeezing money from the average citizen.
Our own B.C. government are masters of the flat revenue funding sources. While proudly insisting they haven’t raised taxes, our provincial government scoops 1.2 billion from gambling revenues, 862 million from the L.C.B, 480 million from ICBC, 1.23 billion from B.C. Hydro and 1.61 million in bridge tolls.
When these entities raise their rates, we all pay more each year – and we all pay the same. Jim Pattison or minimum wage renter, we pay the same ICBC increase, Hydro and ferry increase, the same tolls, MSP rates, license fee increases, and more.
We have been carefully taught to direct our frustration with our constantly diminished purchasing power on high taxes and public overspending. We take up the chant that we’re taxed too much and couldn’t possibly pay any more.
But we’re not overtaxed; we’re crippled by fee increases and taxation replacements.
If our government(s) would spend less time inventing ways to scoop flat rate revenue from us all and instead establish a fair, transparent, and progressive tax system, we would all benefit- and ordinary people would pay less.
So…it’s not unreasonable for us to actually clamber for higher taxes, instead of resisting them and paying more.