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How to talk about increasing government revenue, Part 2

Lard Tunderin Jeezus
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Joined: Aug 27 2001

UnionSupporter wrote:

Maybe I'll try somewhere else. Cheers

I'm hoping UnionSupporter will return to lead the discussion he started. Hopefully it can be more successful than the first thread.

As I may have contributed to the initial disruption, I won't be participating here. I would hope some self-assessment will take place, and that some of the other guilty parties would similarly bow out and lurk for a change.

Now, to get things rolling: Some food for thought. 

Even on the right, they're starting to recognise their own duplicity on the issue.


Comments

George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

Coming out of Maclean's, this smack at the Fraser Institute and the libertarian movement in Canada generally is a revolutionary piece. This paragraph seems to sum the "revenue" positioning of political parties, out there in the mind of the average voter to date:

 "The main difference of course is that while the left is generally expected to be economically illiterate, the right is supposed to know better. Their brand is economics, you might say. That is why, when it comes to the rhetorical strategies of Canada's libertarian movement, it is hard to avoid concluding that the deception is deliberate."

But surely, if we are critical of economic thought before the fall of the god finance capital, and if the progressive sees the need to get away from the political cultural atmosphere that has made the rightwing/libertarian position the one to emulate * LOWER TAXES *(try to get around) since Reagan/Thatcher times, and since the need to lower our consumptiion of the nastier sources of power (fossil fuels) and consumptiion of natural resources generally is really muddying the old straight line thinking... well, where would one start?

 

Is it proposed that we "talk about" it in terms that would meet approval out there on the hustings, as proposed to the Great Unread in an election, or as a Grand Strategy that presupposes certain outcomes required as a result of the international environmental movement of NGO s and governments acting in concert from need?

With apologies for rambling sentences and decades of events compressed into a sentence, What think you,. LTJ?Smile


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

Since LTJ is self-recused from this thread, I'll take a kick. If electability is not a concern, then introducing a carbon tax and/or increasing GST are obvious starting points. If it is, then raising the top marginal income tax rate would bring in some additional revenue and might work as a campaign theme.

All of this presupposes that more revenue, rather than less spending, is needed. Minority governments are notoriously poor at controlling spending and that's what we've had for the last five years or so. So I think you have to first make the case that taxes are too low, and convince people of that, before going on to which ones to increase.


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

ygbtk:

"All of this presupposes that more revenue, rather than less spending, is needed. Minority governments are notoriously poor at controlling spending and that's what we've had for the last five years or so. So I think you have to first make the case that taxes are too low, and convince people of that, before going on to which ones to increase.

 

If we want services maintained at their current level (medicine, education, housing, etc.) or even improved, increased revenue is not a bad place to start. Some will say lower military spending. I'd opt for the end to adventures overseas but a navy with at least the capacity of the U.S. coastguard.

We have had a government headed by a party "notoriously good at" cutting taxes (all the wrong ones, both from the perspective of mainstream economists and those people interested in maintaining some capacity to provide social welfare). Indeed, in Ontario, the Harris years (with Flaherty et al on the bridge, close to the helmsman) come quickly to mind to a great many as something to avoid repeating. The point being, taxe rates mean different things to different people, depending on their provincial and municipal experience. 

 Love to know if the downloading of responsibility for social housing (for instance)  was the same elsewhere as in Ontario (where the predictable is happening - the municipalities don't even have the tax resources to maintain social housing, let alone expand it.


siamdave
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Joined: Sep 2 2005

In Canada, we currently have a completely unnecessary national debt of some 500 billion dollars, upon which we have paid around a trillion dollars in 'interest' the last 30 or so years, and continue to pay around 30 billion per year on. You can more or less double those figures if you take provincial and municipal debt into consideration. Do you suppose that kind of money would alleviate any of our problems? The national debt is the greatest scam that has been foisted on people in history, I think - and apparently very few people understand this, and any time I try to explain this, I get greeted with sort of a thundering silence. If anyone is interested, it is explained in some more detail here - Global Financial Meltdown: Forces beyond our control, or the greatest scam ever?
http://www.rudemacedon.ca/greatest-sting-ever.html . We would have lots of revenue in Canada if we did not allow a certain small segment (senior capitalists, basically, who run the country) to steal 50-80% of the wealth 'we the people' produce. Allowing our money to be created by private businesses, and then borrowing our money supply into existence, really is dumb as a bag of hammers. Grok this, and the answer to the posed question will become obvious.


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

Okay, dave. That would be nice. But while we educate the Great Unread about the necessity of destroying the debt - right now as the unemployed grow like Topsy to an expected 10 per cent countrywide next year - what can we put forward productively in a thread titled "how to talk about increasing government revenue"?

The old Cons (pre Reagan and Mulroney) believed in balanced budgets. From Reagan's time, the bastards get elected by promisiong the Great Unread LOWER TAXES (and then entering into their privatization program with the excuse of balancing the budget).   Seems to me, if we can educate folks about the Cons big con, we might begin to get elected as well as speak to your DEBT quest. 

Do you think the Great Unread are up for such a shock to their expectations?


siamdave
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Joined: Sep 2 2005

This is what I find so puzzling, Victor - as far as I can see, EVERY problem we have today is related to, not so much the debt directly, as the system which allowed it to be imposed on us, and continues to drain us for 30-60 billion per year - and yet most other people, apparently such as yourself, don't see this as anything more than a minor nuisance of some kind. A massive crime is ongoing here, and every problem we have is related to that crime, very closely - stop the crime, stop the problems. This is, I think, very much what the old metaphor of 'rearranging the deck chairs' speaks to. Can you explain to me why you think the current system we have, in which private banks create money and lend it to us, including 'our' government, is not really a problem (it might do you some good to at least have a quick read of the article I mention, to have some figures to work with - i.e. there is about 3 trillion of Canadian debt outstanding (gov, business, consumer), which forms the basis of our money supply, and the bills and coins 'we' have in our pockets total about 50 billion - less than 5% of our money. The private banks have no realistic controls on how much money they create as debt, thus the bubbles and crashes, and the interest on that money causes systemic inflation, which means normal citizens continually fall further and further behind, as we all know that nobody keeps up with inflation. I call it a crime, because the government very deliberately chooses to let private banks create our money, at great profit, rather than using the Bank of Canada to create that very same money, debt-free- the national debt should not have happened at all, thus all of the money that has been paid in interest is just a great fraud, and theft - and if 'we the people' had that trillion or two dollars that has been stolen, we would not need to be talking about ways to increase revenue. We don't need to increase revenue - we need to take back what has been stolen, and stop the bleeding. I am well aware that trying to educate people about this is extememly difficult, but I am still puzzled about why so many people, including so-called progressives, refuse to even think about this most important aspect of our lives.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

I think it was a form of bailout for our increasingly deregulated banks which were losing money on foreign stocks investments, oil and has speculation, and Canary Wharf real estate fiasco in the late 1980's. I think if the feds were to revert to creating any significant share of the money supply as GCM, the banks could end up in financial trouble. We've just bailed them out again with taking risky and possibly "toxic" assets off their hands to the tune of $75 billion just weeks after the last election in October '08.


Erik Redburn
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Joined: Feb 26 2004

siamdave wrote:
I call it a crime, because the government very deliberately chooses to let private banks create our money, at great profit, rather than using the Bank of Canada to create that very same money, debt-free- the national debt should not have happened at all, thus all of the money that has been paid in interest is just a great fraud, and theft - and if 'we the people' had that trillion or two dollars that has been stolen, we would not need to be talking about ways to increase revenue. We don't need to increase revenue - we need to take back what has been stolen, and stop the bleeding. I am well aware that trying to educate people about this is extememly difficult, but I am still puzzled about why so many people, including so-called progressives, refuse to even think about this most important aspect of our lives.

 

Reading COMER eh?  Interesting group.  It is a crime for sure, one of the worst, but only part of a whole intersecting series of financial cons now, one of which was to allow the corporations and those who profit from them to escape paying taxes and convert the middleclass into debt slaves.

The trillion and half bailout of US "investment" banks is another even bigger scam IMO.  The supposedly evil public debt has just been massively re-expanded with scarcely a word of protest from conservative or progressive alike, but with almost none of it going towards those who need it.  (theyre calling it the resurrection of "Keynesianism" but really just another variation of "trickle down" BS)  Workers are still being thrown out of work and loans to small businesses foreclosed and almost noone blinks an eye.  It's also the worst thing to do financially, where we are, keeping the impossible to pay debt chains viable (long as they can keep squeezing us) and financial bubbles inflated, while dumping the costs on those who bailed them out in the first place.  

The way they "restructured" the auto sector is the prime example of this.  Management walked away with their bloated salaries intact and golden parachutes ready, while thousands more jobs were lost, no plans were made to adjust the ailing industry towards smaller more fuel efficient vehicles (or hybrids or electrics or more public transit contracts) and even workers pensions are put in doubt.  One case where low interest rates were more of a problem than solution, given the collapse of the dotcoms right before the crippling wars.  The 30 billion we're still paying a year for "debt" already paid will only go up.  (serious public deficits began with corporations and rich guys refusing to pay their taxes back in the sixties and seventies, not the over-expansion of social services, but theyd never admit to that either) 

Next step will the next round of massive "downsizing" in the public sector while more families end on the streets.  Been a wild ride though, all the way down.


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

It certainly is not "a minor nuisance" in my books, siamdave.  It is one more way in which this generation (well, the two or three generations now on the scene) are destroying opportunity for those who follow.

But I really need to know how we can extricate ourselves from this relatively new Conservative road to hell, not just bemoan the enormity of the crime.  We are borrowing what we consume from the kids coming down the line. 

It is indeed a huge question, why progressives and "regressives" alike fail to seek the meaning of debt even in economic terms, let alone in this larger context.  Perhaps something to do with the mystery of life itself?  Suzuki wonders why "think of the grandkids" didn't work to waken the "born to shop" crowd.  Maybe Homo sapiens sapiens isn't all that "sapiens"?Undecided But when did you last hear a media source complain that its readers/viewers were  insensitive as that bag of hammers? Hubris doesn't describe life elsewhere in the animal kingdom. 


Erik Redburn
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Joined: Feb 26 2004

George Victor wrote:

It certainly is not "a minor nuisance" in my books, siamdave.

 

Who ever said it was only a "minor nuisance"?  I for one clearly stated it was a crime, only one that should be seen in context of other financial manipulation and more recent twists. 

COMER has some potentially useful ideas, which Layton unfortunately rejected again after that silly economist, Summerville, so dazzled him by joining up briefly.  Using the Bank of Canada to pay down "our" debt by converting it into bonds(as they used to do routinely) is actually quite brilliant.  Bringing back monetary reserves to fight inflation, instead of interest rates alone, and using capital accounting to get a more honest take on our national debt are just common sense.


Erik Redburn
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Joined: Feb 26 2004

Best way to do it though is the most straightforward.  Remind the public again and again how many services government does provide them still (not just "wasted" as coporates always insist) and how much cheaper, accountable and accesible these services usually are than coming from the private sector, which is after all only accountible to their shareholders. (the verdicts are already coming in)  No need to get all hard line about it all to start. 

Next progression can involve reminding people how many jobs have been lost and how the civil servants can't Possibly be responsible for growing costs or inflation, given that they haven't had a pay raise above the official inflation rate in decades now and their own numbers keep being cut.  Unlike all the overpaid and under worked CEOs who needed the downsizing most...  Can even go into how cutting Some services ends up costing more in other areas, if the need is real.  For example, too few health inspectors or fisheries officers can mean poor potentially dangerous products, lost business for everyone, and even collapsing fish stocks harming local communities (a real economic costs to real people) well beyond the usual business cycle.   

Just needs to be heard in public more often, as more and more people are going to be recptive to it after thirty years of class warfare from the top down.  Give others courage to speak out against the dictatorship of the bean counters, offer more personal public perspectives on what's being lost.   Then onto less direct ideas about how social safety nets benefit all workers, even those who pay more than they receive presently, by giving them more freedom from the tyranny of bad bosses and small minded bureaucrats. 

It shouldn't actually be too complicated if the debate isn't lowered into either/or generalities about capitalism versus communism, which has never existed in the purely ideological forms that cloistered academics prefer to joust with anyhow.


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

Erik:

"Who ever said it was only a "minor nuisance"?  I for one clearly stated it was a crime, only one that should be seen in context of other financial manipulation and more recent twists. "

 

If you take the trouble to shift your ego back to post #6 (by siamdave), you'll find the reference to "minor nuisance".

 

As for your dependence on the media to get out your ratiional message to people of common sense and goodwill, their audiences are heading to security of income and pension. We will soon need structural change, Erik,


siamdave
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Joined: Sep 2 2005

George got in ahead of me, but he is right, Erik - it has less to do with the actual message, there are all kinds of things that need to be said - the quesition is - HOW do we get the message out, in any useful amount? Here on Rabble we are mostly, as the saying goes, preaching to the choir, which may be of some small interest at times, but does absolutely nothing towards getting the message out to most Canadians, who rely entirely on the mainstream media for their daily indoctrination reinforcement, and either do not know, do not care, or actively oppose any exhortations by such as we here to wake the f*** up. etc. We are very much in the position, for instance, of the boy in the story of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' - some people know it is BS and support it because they gain from it, others have no freaking idea but are not going to oppose authority, others believe authority without checking anything (and many of these are 'good citizens' who really want to do the best for all) - so what do you do?


Doug
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Joined: Apr 17 2001

I'm liking this website from the US.

 

http://www.governmentisgood.com/index.php

 

Before we can make the case for spending more on government, we really have to make the case for what it does already.


Erik Redburn
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Joined: Feb 26 2004

George Victor wrote:

Erik:

"Who ever said it was only a "minor nuisance"?  I for one clearly stated it was a crime, only one that should be seen in context of other financial manipulation and more recent twists. "

 

If you take the trouble to shift your ego back to post #6 (by siamdave), you'll find the reference to "minor nuisance".

 

Riiight, and you just happened to decide to mention it again right after my post, several posts on, where I had just pointed out "its a Crime" but...not the only finanicial problem we're facing and only part of the bigger picture.  (therefore a broader analysis is needed now)  And then toss out another personal insult despite my phrasing my question as "who ever said that..."?   But I suppose I might have ignored it earlier, if you haven't been stalking around after me and derailing my every thread right up to this.

Quote:

As for your dependence on the media to get out your ratiional message to people of common sense and goodwill, their audiences are heading to security of income and pension. We will soon need structural change, Erik,

Aren't you the one saying "we" were arguing that pensions be put at risk in favour of a revolution?  I must say it gets confusing the way you shift gears every second post.  And keep resurrecting issues from other threads, plus or minus your own conributions.     Anyhow, to the point, "their audience" is not all heading to social security, certainly not those who'll be footing most the bills for the next generation or two -if other more creative solutions aren't found.


Erik Redburn
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Joined: Feb 26 2004

siamdave wrote:

George got in ahead of me, but he is right, Erik - it has less to do with the actual message, there are all kinds of things that need to be said - the quesition is - HOW do we get the message out, in any useful amount? Here on Rabble we are mostly, as the saying goes, preaching to the choir, which may be of some small interest at times, but does absolutely nothing towards getting the message out to most Canadians, who rely entirely on the mainstream media for their daily indoctrination reinforcement, and either do not know, do not care, or actively oppose any exhortations by such as we here to wake the f*** up. etc. We are very much in the position, for instance, of the boy in the story of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' - some people know it is BS and support it because they gain from it, others have no freaking idea but are not going to oppose authority, others believe authority without checking anything (and many of these are 'good citizens' who really want to do the best for all) - so what do you do?

 

I agree that we have to start going beyond the "already converted" but theres a couple questions still at play here and little real agreement by leftists-progressives on what exactly should be done about it, where we are now.  IMO how to present this argument to the public is also a necessary question, after all these years of neo-conservative propaganda.   The neo-right itself must have worked hard to reform and rebrand their old arguments when they first starting gearing up to resell the old laisssez faire pig to the poke again.   I do not agree with Georges low assessment of the "great unread" however, as its again a matter of cjhoices given.  Do you know any billionaires willing to present the other side?  Thats one reason why were all kinda huddled here together hoping more people are starting to tune in here instead of the crap on tv or radio.  I'm all for pushing tyhe line about bringing broadcasters into line with ehat was established previous generrations, starting with how we, all the people, "own" the airwaves.   Can't really be any other way in practice, really, even with no possible consensus on prefered content in a democracy there can be on the right of everyone to access it.  (minus a few congenitally dishonest hate mongers perhaps)   That too would be an interesting angle to explore IMV.


Erik Redburn
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Joined: Feb 26 2004

Doug wrote:

I'm liking this website from the US.

 

http://www.governmentisgood.com/index.php

 

Before we can make the case for spending more on government, we really have to make the case for what it does already.

 

That is a good start.  Then we can move onto how its become more difficult to provide such services to every tax payer (all of us really) with a few vastly overpaid billionaires unwilling to pay a larger share of it than their vastly underpaid employees.  Or am I skipping a step again?  :)


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