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Columnists

Restoring inheritance tax could raise education revenue

Almost 40 years ago, Ottawa quietly cancelled Canada's estate tax.

Few Canadians even knew about the tax. Those who did mostly belonged to a small number of wealthy families who were rich enough to pay it. With its cancellation in 1972, this tiny crowd was suddenly a lot richer.

U of T economist John Bossons calculated that ending the tax amounted to a windfall of about $12 billion ($62 billion in today's dollars) for Canada's wealthiest families.

The removal of the estate tax, which remains an obscure event in Canadian history, had momentous implications, depriving Ottawa of revenue and putting Canada on a path toward greater inequality.

Columnists

Wynne victory exposes fallacy politicians can't win proposing tax hikes for the rich

Photo: Premier of Ontario Photography/flickr

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Kathleen Wynne broke a number of taboos last week, proving it's possible to get elected premier of Canada's largest province while being a woman, while being openly gay and -- perhaps most surprising -- while openly defying the right-wing orthodoxy that's ruled this country for three decades.

It may be this last aspect of her victory that broke the most resistant taboo.

The rise of a super-rich in Canada (and increase in inequality)

Photo: Curtis Perry/flickr
An immensely rich and powerful class right here in Canada is quietly amassing ever greater wealth and power to hand down to their heirs, who will be still richer and more powerful.

Related rabble.ca story:

Book jacket of Capital in the Twenty-First Century
| May 8, 2014
Columnists

Increasing inequality and the rise of a super-rich in Canada

Photo: Curtis Perry/flickr

As Donald Sterling discovered last week, even billions of dollars can't spare you public humiliation when you're caught on tape making racist remarks.

For everything else, however, there's MasterCard.

Indeed, apart from the slagging the L.A. Clippers owner received from the NBA, enormous wealth can get you just about everything, while lack of resources leaves you barely able to function in society.

So the fact that there's been a massive diversion of income and wealth to those at the top in recent years seems like it should be a big deal.

Columnists

A number is never just a number: Middle-class angst

Photo: fdecomite/flickr

47

 Percentage of Canadians who self-identify as middle class. That's down from almost 70 per cent in 2002. (Source)

$1,600

The decline in median market household income between 2008 and 2011. In 2008 median market family was $49,300. (Source: CANSIM 202-0201)

5

Columnists

Are CEOs panicking over a new style of tax rage brewing?

Photo: imacgyv0r/flickr

It's rare that members of Canada's financial elite are so clumsy in revealing that their cage has been rattled.

Seemingly out of the blue this week, the head honchos of Canada's biggest companies, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, put out a media release insisting that their taxes are not too low.

This defensive posture -- who mentioned murder? -- reveals they fear others may be slowly catching on to the massive transfer of wealth to the richest Canadians that's been going on for the past 14 years due to the systematic cutting of corporate tax rates.

Photo: ptooey/flickr
| February 27, 2014
Photo: Andreas Metz/flickr
| January 16, 2014
Columnists

Why the wealthy are not like us: Capital gains, wealth and income distribution

Photo: City of Toronto Archives/Toronto History/flickr

This week's release from Statistics Canada on the income share of the wealthy generated some interesting coverage and commentary. It reported that the top 1 per cent's share of total income in Canada remained steady in 2011 in Canada, at 10.6 percent -- but still significantly higher than in the 1980s.

Most observers did not mention, however, that this oft-cited income share statistic does not include capital gains in the calculation of incomes and income shares. A capital gain, of course, is a realized benefit resulting from the disposition of an asset (buy low, sell high … unless you are a short seller, in which case you should buy high and sell low!).

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