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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Taxing food, health care and education is immoral

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.

© 2012 Russell G. Campbell


8 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. You can tell where these people’s Orwellian head is at when they use the term "lost revenue". The assumption is that "all revenue" is the property of the Government and the Bureaucrat Class and that they are doing "us" a favor by letting “us” have it.

    1. You can always create a problem and then create a national program to solve the problem.

  2. The prof has it backwards. The problem is not a lack of government revenu (taxes), it is government spending. By government I am referring to all levels of government. The only acceptable solution is for every level of government to cut spending and to live within its means. Frankly we are already over taxed.

  3. Harper is a classic conservative. He loves to spend while talking about tax cuts and as a result runs massive deficits.

    Don't worry he'll never increase taxes. Only spending will go up.

    1. Really, Anon, "massive" deficits? Are you so uninformed or just trying to be controversial?

    2. Harper has run the largest deficits in Canadian history...breaking a promise that he would NEVER run a deficit. I suppose instead of saying massive I could have said "record deficits". It's factual.

  4. God Yes! I just paid $145 for an anti-biotic, a painkiller and an antacid. I'm scrimping on food and under-employed. I listened to these two economics very dryly explain how the government could fill up its coffers and for anyone like myself, well they could send me a tax cheque once a year. And how does that help me right now especially with the rising cost of gas increasing the cost of everything. I still have to heat my house. They justify it by saying that people who make a decent living wage should be paying more. Why? Maybe they have 4 kids to support. I think they set the 1% figure (you know, the one percenters Occupy rambles about)at about $100K. I always knew that figure was a bar sliding downwards. How socialists justify taxes to pay for more government employees. So this is some kind of socialist care program? I don't think so. Everybody is tightening their belts as it is. Leave well enough alone.