Harper’s Evil Genius, Martin’s Potatoheadedness

So Stephen Harper has fired the first serious shot across the Liberal’s bow, saying he would immediately reduce the GST to 6%, then lower it to 5% over 5 years. Now this is a sexy election platform, particularly during a christmas election. Harper can parade around shopping malls, and meet & greet people, then hold up their shopping, saying “If the Conservatives were in power, this single mother of 3 could have saved $40 on her Christmas shoppping. With that savings, she could buy herself something nice as well.” or something to that effect. But I sense props! And while it doesn’t make a whole lot of economic sense (it won’t have as large an impact on the poor, as say, upping the tax-exemption level), it sures makes for excellent soundbites. Because who likes the GST?

Meanwhile, Paul Martin has responded in the way that he always does: with a fairly sensible, but completely uninteresting response. He’s possibly the least interesting leader in a long time. Even when he’s doing something good, he doesn’t make a big enough deal about it to let people care, or get excited. Total Potato-head. Lots of starch, little excitement. But I digress. He’s targeting his tax cuts at the middle-class by reducing personal income tax levels. Which should keep more in your wallet to begin with.

In the meantime, Gille Duceppe continues to champion the GST idea that I think makes a lot of sense – add more items to the list of goods that are GST exempt – children’s clothes, books, etc. Jack Layton, of course, doesn’t think any taxes should be cut. He thinks more should be spent on healthcare and education. Which, you know, I’m all for. Although I’m not convinced just blindly flinging money into either will really help anymore in Canada. There needs to be some systemic overhauls in how we approach both.

8 Replies to “Harper’s Evil Genius, Martin’s Potatoheadedness”

  1. I’ve got to stop worrying about stuff when I wake up in the morning. Canada is nothing like the States, the right win isn’t even close to be a cohesive unit like it is down there. Already the CD Howe and Fraser Institutes have come out against the proposal. I appreciate their integrety but seriously, isn’t that shooting your friends in the back?

    Anyways, I’m pretty fucking happy!

  2. I’ve got to stop worrying about stuff when I wake up in the morning. Canada is nothing like the States, the right win isn’t even close to be a cohesive unit like it is down there. Already the CD Howe and Fraser Institutes have come out against the proposal. I appreciate their integrety but seriously, isn’t that shooting your friends in the back?

    Anyways, I’m pretty fucking happy!

  3. Since by reducing gst to 5% from 7%, that would mean for every $100 the single mother spent she would have saved $2 under this proposed GST reduction. Are you saying that the average single mother of three spends $2000 (40/2$ = 20, 20x$100 = $2000) on christmas shopping? Thats quite an expenditure for a single mother of three in the first place, especially since the savings is only a measly $40 of that. As well you mention there needs to be systemic overhauls in the system, but you don’t mention anything about what that might mean. Because of this, I find your post neither insightful nor worthwhile, since systemic overhauls could mean pretty much anything. I don’t know… maybe you’re able to disect the entire medical system we use today and re-engineer it in a way that satisfies everyone, but your post doesnt make me a believer.

  4. Since by reducing gst to 5% from 7%, that would mean for every $100 the single mother spent she would have saved $2 under this proposed GST reduction. Are you saying that the average single mother of three spends $2000 (40/2$ = 20, 20x$100 = $2000) on christmas shopping? Thats quite an expenditure for a single mother of three in the first place, especially since the savings is only a measly $40 of that. As well you mention there needs to be systemic overhauls in the system, but you don’t mention anything about what that might mean. Because of this, I find your post neither insightful nor worthwhile, since systemic overhauls could mean pretty much anything. I don’t know… maybe you’re able to disect the entire medical system we use today and re-engineer it in a way that satisfies everyone, but your post doesnt make me a believer.

  5. Hi Mack.

    No, I’m not saying that the average single mother of 3 spends $2000 on christmas shopping. What I am saying is that the GST cut is good electoral politics – it’s largely ineffective, yet people will like it. It’s the kind of thing that people think is a good thing before they think about it. Also, with Harper’s drive to be seen as the “everyman” is this campaign (viz. the Conservative’s terrible advertising campaign with the “stand up for canada” sign at the end), standing amongst the middle-class and showing how much good his tax cut could do, even by picking an extreme example (especially by picking an extreme example), Harper can score major points.

    As for systemic overhauls, I mean that the entire system of how we approach funding and providing education and healthcare should be re-examined. A nice place to start might be to at least follow the Romanow report. But also to look at some of the Scandinavian (did I spell that right?) models for funding, education in particular. In a specific example for each, I think looking at greater spending on “preventative” health care, such as fitness, diet, education may go a long way to reducing “reactive” health care costs. I also think that there should be a fairly simple way to recoup the costs of post-secondary education. My gut says something as basic as adding, say, 2% tax to everyone who attended university would probably pay for everyone’s education. It’s possible that something so simplistic won’t, but it’s a direction. But most basically, education must be made a priority, not an afterthought like it currently seems to be , like in the current election where it’s a complete non-issue (Although I’d argue that the Liberal childcare plan is an educational plan, seeing as there’s a focus on early-childhood education included in it).

  6. Hi Mack.

    No, I’m not saying that the average single mother of 3 spends $2000 on christmas shopping. What I am saying is that the GST cut is good electoral politics – it’s largely ineffective, yet people will like it. It’s the kind of thing that people think is a good thing before they think about it. Also, with Harper’s drive to be seen as the “everyman” is this campaign (viz. the Conservative’s terrible advertising campaign with the “stand up for canada” sign at the end), standing amongst the middle-class and showing how much good his tax cut could do, even by picking an extreme example (especially by picking an extreme example), Harper can score major points.

    As for systemic overhauls, I mean that the entire system of how we approach funding and providing education and healthcare should be re-examined. A nice place to start might be to at least follow the Romanow report. But also to look at some of the Scandinavian (did I spell that right?) models for funding, education in particular. In a specific example for each, I think looking at greater spending on “preventative” health care, such as fitness, diet, education may go a long way to reducing “reactive” health care costs. I also think that there should be a fairly simple way to recoup the costs of post-secondary education. My gut says something as basic as adding, say, 2% tax to everyone who attended university would probably pay for everyone’s education. It’s possible that something so simplistic won’t, but it’s a direction. But most basically, education must be made a priority, not an afterthought like it currently seems to be , like in the current election where it’s a complete non-issue (Although I’d argue that the Liberal childcare plan is an educational plan, seeing as there’s a focus on early-childhood education included in it).

  7. Well, it’s sortof like a 2% pay raise, right? It doesn’t hurt, and I think he’s playing to the fiscal conservative crowd, who want to see better fiscal governance and more accountability. If anyone is going to bring that to the federal government, shouldn’t it be a convservative party? (or other right-of-center party)

  8. Well, it’s sortof like a 2% pay raise, right? It doesn’t hurt, and I think he’s playing to the fiscal conservative crowd, who want to see better fiscal governance and more accountability. If anyone is going to bring that to the federal government, shouldn’t it be a convservative party? (or other right-of-center party)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.