Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PM Bashes Taxes? How Scary!

A Globe and Mail columnist finds Stephen Harper's anti-tax rhetoric "very, very scary":
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.
If anything - there's absolutely no reason for Jeffrey Simpson to be scared. Judging from the budgets, tabled by Harper government (20% spending increase over the first three years and then another ~10% increase for 2009/10,) his anti-tax rhetoric is nothing more than a figure of speech. Even if Stephen Harper truly believes that no taxes are good taxes (oh, I wish he did!) - he certainly lacks the courage to defend those beliefs in Parliament. So it's time to let go of this 6 year-old "Harper is scary" mantra.

Then - if there are good taxes - then how come the Liberals too used to oppose certain taxes, be that the GST back in early 1990s or the new taxes on income trusts in more recent days? And, when they did come up with their carbon tax proposal (which they tried to position as some sort of a "good tax") - how come it was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters? Let's face it - people hate taxes and Stephen Harper is no exception. Most likely, when he said "I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes" - he meant just that - that he personally hates taxes. That doesn't mean we can look forward for a truly Conservative budget anytime soon.

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