The strangest of contradictions often occur during general elections. In this election, for example, we see already over-taxed Canadian voters rushing to vote for Jack Layton’s New Democrats, Canada’s champions the tax-and-spend principle of good government.
On the same day that I read that an EKOS poll is predicting 100 seats for the NDP on May 2, the Fraser Institute publishes a new study by senior economist Milagros Palacios and Niels Veldhuis, director of Budget and Tax Policy, which concludes, “Taxes have grown over the past 49 years to the point that government is now the largest expenditure facing a family.” And what are the NDP promising Canadians? More taxes, including a brand new carbon tax scheme that’ll add to the cost of virtually everything we buy in the country.
The Fraser Institute publishes the Canadian Consumer Tax Index, which tracks the total tax bill of the average Canadian family from 1961 to 2010, shows the “total tax bill of the average Canadian family, including all types of taxes, has increased by 1,686 per cent since 1961.” In fact, taxes “have grown much more rapidly than any other single expenditure for the average Canadian family. In contrast to the increase in taxes, expenditures on shelter increased by 1,175 percent, food by 498 percent, and clothing by 510 percent from 1961 to 2010,” according to the index.
The results of the Fraser Institute study does beg the question: why would Canadians choose to pay even more taxes?
Not even the Dippers themselves know just how much more of our taxes they’ll need to cover their billions of dollars worth of campaign promises. Jack Layton claims his platform has been “fully-costed” and signed off by an economist. Be that as it may, mere days following the release of the platform, analysts have forced the NDP to concede they might not be able to pay for $3.6 billion worth of green spending initiatives. And billions more of spending by the NDP seem not to be covered by future federal revenue unless taxes are increased even more.
I believe the New Democrats have been hoisted with their own petard. No one—least of all Layton and his team—believed the Dippers could do better than a strong third among the national parties, so they wrote their platform like a huge wish list to give themselves lots of talking points, knowing it was unlikely to attract much serious scrutiny—it never has in the past.
Suddenly, though, all eyes are on Jack Layton and his platform. Oh, oh!