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It's counterintuitive, but tax the rich, not the poor

Photo: Eric L/flickr

Take some money from the wealthy, give it to the poor -- why not do it? Basic accounting suggests that another $1,000 for a student with a $10,000 yearly income puts them further ahead than the same amount does for someone earning $100,000. After all, it gives the student a boost of 10 per cent, and the affluent person only one per cent.

In Canada, the small amount of income redistributed to the poor has long been a matter of public debate. Lately, the poor have been losing. The low-tax, small-government crowd, both Liberal and Conservative, have had control of the federal government for decades.

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Columnists

Can we stop subsidizing executive stock options and enriching the rich?

Photo: Ahmad Nawawi/flickr

If you're a top executive at a major corporation, no need to read further; you'll know all this.

But if you're an ordinary person, you may not. You've probably heard of "executive stock options" -- a perk that allows corporate executives a special deal on purchasing the company's stocks.

And you may suspect that these stock options are connected to the rampant greed and corruption that have plagued the corporate world in recent years. If so, you'd be right.

Even leading business thinkers agree.

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Columnists

Alberta rejects the Canadian legacy of tax injustice

Photo: Don Voaklander/flickr

Rachel Notley led the Alberta NDP to victory on May 6 calling for higher taxes on corporations to pay for more teachers and better health care. Interestingly, in 1990, Bob Rae led the Ontario NDP to victory pointing to corporations that paid no income tax.

The federal NDP is calling for higher corporate taxes, hoping it will become an election issue in October, a rallying point for Canadians fed up with the underfunding of health care, and other government services.

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| February 17, 2015
Columnists

Canada's choice: Austerity or prosperity

Photo: Jamie McCaffrey/flickr

Imagine for a moment two societies living side by side. One has discovered and uses the wheel effectively -- a technology that makes life easier for workers and boosts the economy for everyone. Prosperity reigns. The society next door is well aware of the wheel and watches as its neighbours move inexorably ahead -- wealthier, more efficient, healthier and with more leisure time for cultural activities. But it is not those who do the work in this society who reject the wheel -- it is the governing elite, the priests, the official advisers and scribes who have incorporated a moral objection to the wheel into the state religion. Use of the wheel is thus proscribed by faith, not reason. All practical arguments in its favour are rendered useless.

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Columnists

Accepting Nova Scotia's tax review is better than the alternative

Photo: michael_swan/flickr

Another big report, another display of our witlessly shallow politics, which this time has outdone itself almost to the point of comedy in its haste to pour sulphur on the head of Laurel Broten and her tax and regulatory review.

Tory Leader Jamie Baillie comes up with the ultimate neo-con cliché ("job-killing carbon tax") and sees nothing but "major tax increases" and a retro attempt to "tax our way to prosperity."

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Photo: Rick Eh?/flickr
| November 26, 2014
Photo: Book_Maiden/flickr
| November 20, 2014
Photo: Andrea_Nguyen/flickr
| October 10, 2014
Columnists

Memo to Nova Scotia's Tax and Regulatory Review: Raise taxes!

Photo: Phillip Ingham/flickr

Here's something else that would advance our cause in Nova Scotia if we could only talk about it without the pious platitudes: taxation.

As it turns out the provincial government has its Tax and Regulatory Review on the case. This could be a very useful exercise if it actually goes to the root of the matter. But will it? Or is it meant to chow down on the prevailing dogma: that the only way forward is to reduce taxes, especially business taxes, and to avoid at all cost the heresy of topping up taxes for the highest earners.

Hopefully the review committee, led by public policy expert and former Ontario cabinet minister Laurel Broten, will take account of the problems with this creed.

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