Wednesday, October 31, 2007

On self-inflicted wounds

It's really quite amazing what our government has come to. If the Finance Minister believes that tax cuts are always a good thing, then he's an extremist, if not a revolutionary. This thing called government actually exists to do real things for real people, y'know? And every time we cut taxes, we reduce the government's capacity to do anything. And it's not like there's any shortage of things that need doing -- even if you limit your options to those prescribed by our current government, those needs include big-ticket items like a wee little war in Afghanistan, and putting the Canadian Forces on a more robust, sustainable footing. Not to mention the whole "Arctic sovereignty" thing which, if it's to be done properly, will be substantially more expensive than currently envisioned.

And of course, there's a much longer list of things that need doing, like working on this whole global warming thing, this whole oil thing, and this whole "our cities can't afford to keep the lights on" thing.

Gee, $60 billion over five years? Can we think of anything else the government might be able to do with that money, like 1,500 kilometers of high-speed rail (the combined length of both the Quebec-Windsor corridor and the Edmonton-Calgary run) or maybe something like this, paying the upfront costs of solar panels so people can make real, immediate changes in how they consume energy?

Every time we give in to this low-tax fetish, we make the future harder to deal with. These surpluses, believe it or not, are a transitory phenomena, and deficits will come again. So maybe, just maybe, we should think about what we could use that money for now, while we've got it, before we just sign it away?

Added later: And is there any real reason to believe this isn't tax cuts just for the sake of tax cuts? Are Canadian taxes burdensome to industry? How can that be, if we're in the middle of an economic expansion?

I'm not even opposed to retiring burdensome or unproductive taxes, I just think that what we have here is a succession of governments who cut taxes because it would never occur to them to do otherwise.

3 comments:

rabbit said...

I just think that what we have here is a succession of governments who cut taxes because it would never occur to them to do otherwise.

And preceded by a succession of governments who raised taxes because it never occured to them to do otherwise.

Mike said...

Worse John, we have q government that gave us tax cuts in October, after they outspent the Liberals in last Spring, when they announced the real budget.

Pardon me, but increasing spending while decreasing income and spending any extra immediately to pay down extra debt, rather than save it or reinvest for later, does not strike me as very fiscally responsible.

Unless you are trying to buy a majority government with somebody else's money...

Catelli said...

Between the surpluses and these tax cuts, I keep repeating "But doesn't the GTA need $55 billion dollars to fix its sewage treatment systems?"

huh.

Guess its not a big enough problem until thousands of people get sick, we kill off all the fish in lake Ontario or some other nasty effect happens.