Oone of Canada’s leading economists, Jack Mintz, says he supports extending Canada’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) to cover food, health care and education. This is part of the recommendations of Prof. Michael Smart of the University of Toronto published by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.
According to news reports, Prof. Smart claims that a “uniform tax” (one applied at the same rate to all goods and services) would see consumer decisions made based on the “true differences in economic costs” of each purchase, instead of the difference in tax rates.
So, does the professor forgo buying shoes because they are subject to tax, but buys eggs because they are not? I don’t get it. How many of us now buy food or receive health care because they are are not taxed?
Surely there is more to tax policy than the “efficiency” of the proposed tax. I believe there is something immoral about taxing essentials of life such as food and health care. And any jurisdiction that would implement such a tax would certainly be morally bankrupt.
Prof. Smart said that a uniform tax would bring in more revenue for governments and pay for social services. Perhaps we should also tax sex, sleep and exercise while we are at it—think of the billions that would bring in to be squandered on more social programs.
Furthermore, Canadians already pay too much tax: according to the Fraser Institute, in 2011, the average Canadian family earned $93,831 and paid $39,960 in taxes—about 42.6 per cent of annual income. Annual Tax Freedom for Day for 2011 fell on June 6, dammit!
Moreover, it doesn’t bother me one bit that the cost of not taxing food represents $8-billion per year (Prof. Smart’s estimate) in lost revenue for federal and provincial governments. Canada does not lack social services. In fact, we’re doing just fine in that area, and we have the hundreds of thousands of immigrants annually to prove it.