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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

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.

Wealth inequality: Going from bad to (net) worth

| February 27, 2014
Robert Chernomas

Class warfare: The U.S. economy

| 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!).

Columnists

A number is never just a number: The dominance of Canada's 1%

Photo: Benson Kua/Flickr

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$201,400

The entry point to become one of Canada's richest 1% of income earners. In other words, if you make more than $201,400 you earn more than 99% of Canadian income earners. (Source)

254,700

Number of tax filers who ranked among Canada's richest 1% in 2010. (Source)

21

The rich stay rich, according to Fraser Institute report

| November 23, 2012
Gerry Caplan

Revivals of protest in the class war

| May 14, 2012
Columnists

Andrea Horwath's bold call for higher taxes on the rich

Andrea Horwath. Photo: Michelle Tribe/Flickr

It's hard to fight a class war without a billionaire onside. Hence Andrea Horwath's dilemma.

The Ontario NDP leader has thrown down a gauntlet of sorts -- demanding, or at least politely requesting, that Dalton McGuinty's Liberal minority impose a new slightly higher tax rate on Ontarians making more than $500,000 a year.

The move is a small toe-in-the-water toward restoring the progressivity that's been stripped out of the Canadian tax system. But it's also a bold unlacing of the stays on the political bodice that has confined mainstream Canadian politicians for the past few decades.

Of course, U.S. President Barack Obama is paving the way.

Gerry Caplan

The cheating rich

| March 27, 2012
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