Monday, October 16, 2017

Canadians might have accepted tax reforms with Kelly McParland

The liberal party rode into power on public enthusiasm for Boy leader Justin Trudeau and some nostalgia among liberals for PET.  Since then we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and it has.
That both the PM and his finance minister are paid up members of the Tax Avoidance industry set up for the lucky few who inherited vast wealth should have made them shy of evoking making it an issue.
After all the problem been addressed is that the Hoi Polloi have discovered a pressing need for shelters to convert a good income stream safely into investment capital able to support the creation of real wealth  without owing more in taxes than any such wealth may ever be worth.  Blocking those readily available tools immediately attacks the successful young entrepreneurial class as it has always done.
And few are rich yet.  Likely they are deep in debt and have drained family equity to boot.  Thus they will get very angry and it is fully justified. These are the folks who most need to be staked just as we provide student loans to the unlendable.  Some are meant to fail but success returns wealth ten fold and then a steady stream of taxable income for a vast number.
They also foolishly jacked up the marginal rate for those earning over 90,000 and got little in return.  What is now fifty years of empirical application should have told them as much, but then they are still reading 1930's economic dogma.  Now they have incensed the folks they desperately need to support them in the next election representing almost a third of the population.  Not all of them were conservatives either.
A lot of damage has now been done to the liberal brand and their direction is now downward.  Reversing it will be difficult.......
Kelly McParland: Canadians might have accepted tax reforms if Liberals hadn't ignited a class war 

Canadians could have accepted the rule changes, if they'd been explained in honest terms. But someone in Ottawa decided it was better to take another whack at the rich 

Prime Minister Trudeau takes part in a roundtable in Toronto as Minister of Finance Bill Morneau looks on. 

September 28, 2017

10:07 AM EDT 

There’s talk that Bill Morneau is less than thrilled with political life, that after just two years in Ottawa he’s wondering what could have possessed him to quit the private sector for a seat on Justin Trudeau’s front bench.

Maybe it’s just talk. It could be the finance minister loves his job and the challenges it presents, and even now is planning to relocate permanently to the capital, where he could move in next door to Mike Duffy and both could pretend they actually live in Prince Edward Island. 

It would be hard to blame the man if he is indeed having doubts, though. His first 24 months must have come as something of an eye-opener. Elected office is supposed to be about giving back to society via a life of “public service,” one in which, as finance minister, he could contribute directly to the betterment of Canadians by strengthening the economy, supporting job creation and reforming an unwieldy and often unfair tax regime. 

It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, Morneau has spent his rookie years abandoning pledges and implementing policies that have no hope of achieving the promised results. The $10 billion cap on borrowing was jettisoned almost immediately. The promise of a balanced budget by 2019 has been shelved. The “middle class tax cut” proved to be a windfall for people earning up to $90,000 a year. A new top tax rate, intended to soak the rich, hasn’t produced anywhere near the promised billions. 

And now the finance minister finds himself faced with a full-scale revolt against his plan to increase taxes on some small business operators. Everyone from farmers to dentists, shop owners to ranchers — not to mention doctors, lawyers and provincial premiers — is up in arms, accusing him of persecuting “hard-working” entrepreneurs. His personal wealth is being thrown in his face, even though he’d probably be a whole lot richer if he hadn’t taken leave from the family firm to devote four years of his life to public employment at a fraction of his usual stipend. Even his wife is being dragged into it, seeing as how she’s a member of the super-rich McCain family. 

It’s no doubt discouraging, though it shouldn’t be entirely unexpected. Politics is politics, and it doesn’t change its nature for the well-intentioned. But what’s striking about the conflagration confronting Morneau is the degree to which it’s due largely to the ineptitude of the sales job they used to roll out his tax plan, rather than the content of the plan itself. For a government and party as fixated on image as the Trudeau Liberals, it’s astonishing how amateurishly they’ve handled the whole affair. It’s nearly as badly as how they handled the bungled electoral reform initiative, or are now mishandling the inquiry into missing and murdered women. 

The approach fit snugly with the Trudeau team belief that you never lose by stoking class resentment
From the start, the Liberal strategy has been yet another righteous crusade to make “the rich” pay “their fair share.” Canadians were assured the plan was to close “loopholes” that had somehow crept into the tax regime, and which were being exploited by “wealthy folk” who use “fancy accounting schemes.” Anyone who dared challenge the proposal wasn’t just an honest taxpayer seeking to raise reasonable concerns, but part of the moneyed elite, feeding “misinformation” to credulous Canadians too dim to understand the issue for themselves. 

The approach fit snugly with the Trudeau team’s belief that you never lose by stoking class resentment. Disparaging “the rich” has been an integral strategy of Trudeau’s handlers since his ascension to the leadership. It must have seemed a slam-dunk in this case. Salaried workers don’t incorporate. Civil servants don’t incorporate. Union members don’t incorporate. Only rich people incorporate, because they have the means to put aside some assets (and what else does “rich” mean if not the ability to live beyond the next paycheque?). Progressives certainly don’t incorporate. 

Except, as it turns out, they do. And plenty of them aren’t “rich,” as Canadians understand the term. Trudeau is rich; Morneau is rich. The family doctor may drive a decent car, but that doesn’t make her a tax-dodging plutocrat. 

By playing the class resentment card, the prime minister and his finance minister opened themselves up to legitimate questions about their personal wealth, their privileged backgrounds, their use of tax avoidance measures, and their reliance on accountants to sort it all out. The fact that Morneau has had no ready answer to questions in the House of Commons about his use of measures that he condemns when used by others suggests Trudeau’s top aides didn’t anticipate the storm that’s now arisen. If so, it’s mighty peculiar. How could such cocky political operatives be caught so flat-footed? When you build your government on a foundation of imagery, shouldn’t you be more sensitive to the image being projected? 

If Morneau had stuck to the substance of his plan, he might have run into less trouble. It appears very likely that existing tax measures are being abused by a relatively small group. It’s probably not unreasonable to change the rules to stop the abuse. Canadians could understand that, if it had been explained to them in honest terms. But someone in Ottawa decided it was better to take another whack at the rich, on the assumption that Canadians are so riddled with resentment they can be sold almost anything if it’s positioned as another cheap effort at envy politics.

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