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Austerity coming to Ontario

Doug
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Joined: Apr 17 2001

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Aristotleded24
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Joined: May 24 2005

I guess it's a bad thing that Hudak won the election, because he is merely following through on the Common Sense Platform Part II upon which his campaign was based.

Oh, wait....


theleftyinvestor
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Joined: Jun 6 2008

A situation like this could really force the LIberals to pick one side to lean on, left or right, to keep the government afloat. One single misstep and it's a 2012 election.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

As Bay Street Bugs Bunny once said to Pete Puma, 'One lump or two, Pete?' And to which Pete replied,

Awww no thanks, I'll jus' help m'self. <proceeds to hammer himself on the head with a mallet>


Uncle John
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Joined: Feb 8 2008

I asked my kids if they wanted to pay for Ontario's current deficits in the future, and they said "No way dad!" How ungrateful of them!


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

Yes indeed, amazingly ungrateful, considering that social spending benefits children just as much as, if not more than, adults.  But I'm guessing your kids weren't told that part, right?  That education and day care actually cost something, as does health care?

Gee, why can't all social and economic policy be decided by asking over-simplified, right-wing, biased questions of little kids?

Edited to add: I didn't misunderstand your post, did I, Uncle John?  Were you maybe being sarcastic?  If so, sorry for not catching it...


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

'

Michelle wrote:

Yes indeed, amazingly ungrateful, considering that social spending benefits children just as much as, if not more than, adults.  But I'm guessing your kids weren't told that part, right?  That education and day care actually cost something, as does health care?

Gee, why can't all social and economic policy be decided by asking over-simplified, right-wing, biased questions of little kids?

Edited to add: I didn't misunderstand your post, did I, Uncle John?  Were you maybe being sarcastic?  If so, sorry for not catching it...

I'm with Michelle and most socialists on the matter. Health care and education costs what it costs and should not, and can not, be run like a business or be thrown to "market forces" wolves. Wolves tend to leave nothing behind after theyre done feasting.

However, I said most socialists. In the USA,  for example, there is private sector delivery of health services to the greater extent than most other developed countries. And they, too, know and understand that health care costs what it costs, and I think the privateers tend to push this idea to extremes. Private enterprisers and I imagine hospital boards might not be all that efficient when it comes to paying themselves or cutting corners when they have a blank cheque signed by taxpayers. So I think it's possible that there are two types of "it costs what it costs." They spend a lot more on health care in the US than any other developed country and yet have the crappiest national health statistics. I think a lot of money is wasted on health care fraud in addition to the duplication of health care admin.


Uncle John
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Joined: Feb 8 2008

Surely I am responsible for paying for the education and daycare of my children, as my parents were responsible for me (whether as an individual or part of a community). If I/we have to borrow money to do that, I/we should be responsible for paying it back. Eventually they might have their own children to support, which would be made more difficult were they to have my/our debts to pay.

The NDP has a good track record of being fiscally responsible. Why don't we focus on that, instead of imitating fiscally irresponsible Conservative policy? Loading debt on future generations without their consent is morally bankrupt.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

Ah, okay, I see where you're coming from.  My sarcasm was perhaps unjustified. :)

So you're thinking we run balanced budgets, and the community pays for what needs paying for as we spend it, right?  But by "community" I'm assuming you mean society as a whole, including corporations, which, as the price for operating in our midst and selling their goods and services to us, must pay taxes for the betterment of our society (not to mention so that they don't get an educated and healthy workforce for free), so that we don't leave debt to the next generation to pay.

I can get on board with that.


Uncle John
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Joined: Feb 8 2008

I don't see why a country like this cannot afford to pay for all the services it wants through general revenues. The problem is that people do not want to pay. Recently they asked people about medicare, and the respondents were all really concerned about it. However no one asked, "If we needed a tax increase to maintain medicare in this country according to the principles of the Canada Health Act, would you be willing to pay your share?"

TWO provincial elections ago, Ontario premier McGuinty put in a really regressive health care levy, which really stings you if you are on minimum wage. Been there. Yet McGuinty got re-elected twice. So I think if you were to say, "look, we need more taxes for health care", I think most would go for it, especially if it was way less regressive than McGuinty's scheme...


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Uncle John wrote:

I don't see why a country like this cannot afford to pay for all the services it wants through general revenues. The problem is that people do not want to pay.

I think it's that Ottawa simply chooses not to raise overall taxes in order to pay for them. This is what neoliberalism looks like in a country still using an obsolete and uncompetitive electoral system. Our corrupt stooges in Ottawa with about 24% of eligible voter support under them don't have to do what the large majority of Canadians want them to. Ottawa's overall program spending is billions less than it is for the rest of Canada. It's a top-down system that pits smaller provincial economies against larger ones typically governed by Liberal and Tory governments setting the pace for everything from provincial corporate tax rates to minimum wage.

Total tax revenues as a percentage of GDP: OECD


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Ontario losing billions in funding revenue, Commission told

Quote:
"It is evident that for middle and low households the tax cut agenda is actually associated with a reduction in the standard of living and we are seeing an ever widening gap between the ‘haves' and ‘have nots' in Canada. Investing in social determinants of health will take tax money. The Nordic countries have demonstrated this."

Premier of Canada's largest province feigning impotence, too. Someone should tell Dalton Pinocchio that it's not a real medical condition.


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

Fidel wrote:

Ontario losing billions in funding revenue, Commission told

Quote:
"It is evident that for middle and low households the tax cut agenda is actually associated with a reduction in the standard of living and we are seeing an ever widening gap between the ‘haves' and ‘have nots' in Canada. Investing in social determinants of health will take tax money. The Nordic countries have demonstrated this."

Premier of Canada's largest province feigning impotence, too. Someone should tell Dalton Pinocchio that it's not a real medical condition.

The article starts with:

Quote:
Two prominent Canadian economists have told the Commission on Quality Public Services and Tax Fairness that the provincial treasury is forfeiting billions of dollars in tax revenue by failing to adopt policies that could be used to fund sustainable public services.

 

but it doesn't say what the policies are. Anyone know?


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

ygtbk wrote:

but it doesn't say what the policies are. Anyone know?

Nordic country policies and basically the opposite of everything Pinocchio McGuilty has done or not done since 2003. 

Ontario's Liberal Government have been Herbert Hooverians on taxes - they've refused to tax those most able to pay them and raised taxes and user fees for those least able to pay. 


Uncle John
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Joined: Feb 8 2008

Yeah I have to agree McGuinty's health tax levy is particularly nasty based on ability to pay. Ironically, even Harris' was less regressive than this!


Aristotleded24
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Joined: May 24 2005

Uncle John wrote:
Surely I am responsible for paying for the education and daycare of my children, as my parents were responsible for me (whether as an individual or part of a community). If I/we have to borrow money to do that, I/we should be responsible for paying it back. Eventually they might have their own children to support, which would be made more difficult were they to have my/our debts to pay.

The NDP has a good track record of being fiscally responsible. Why don't we focus on that, instead of imitating fiscally irresponsible Conservative policy? Loading debt on future generations without their consent is morally bankrupt.

I agree:

Quote:
I believe that short of severe economic downturns and severe national emergencies, for example a natural disaster, that the left should actually embrace balanced budgets. Why?

Balanced Budgets Or Social Spending? Pick One

...

“Spending Problem?”

...

Who Is Better At It?


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

Fidel wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

but it doesn't say what the policies are. Anyone know?

Nordic country policies and basically the opposite of everything Pinocchio McGuilty has done or not done since 2003. 

Ontario's Liberal Government have been Herbert Hooverians on taxes - they've refused to tax those most able to pay them and raised taxes and user fees for those least able to pay. 

So "adopt policies that could be used to fund sustainable public services" is bafflegab for "raise taxes"? Who knew?


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

ygtbk wrote:

So "adopt policies that could be used to fund sustainable public services" is bafflegab for "raise taxes"? Who knew?

 

Canada's overall tax revs as a percentage of GDP are below the OECD average. 

And never mind the EU15 avg.

And never mind still the Nordic country avg.

Still think Canadians are over-taxed? Pull the other one - it's got bells on.


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

Fidel wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

So "adopt policies that could be used to fund sustainable public services" is bafflegab for "raise taxes"? Who knew?

 

Canada's overall tax revs as a percentage of GDP are below the OECD average. 

And never mind the EU15 avg.

And never mind still the Nordic country avg.

Still think Canadians are over-taxed? Pull the other one - it's got bells on.

I agree that if you take, say, Sweden as a reference point, there's lots of room to raise the top marginal income tax rate on employment income (by 10% or so) and the GST (again by 10% or so) for Canada to be comparable. The Swedes pay a lot more consumption and income taxes on labour than we do. On the other hand, they only pay 30% income tax on investment income, and that only at the Federal level, so Canadians actually pay more on that piece. See:

http://www.taxrates.cc/html/sweden-tax-rates.html

However, my point was that testimony to the Commission (which is really just the Public Services Foundation of Canada dressed up) used such a careful euphemism rather than just saying "raise taxes".

I don't see a lot of Canadians pointing at themselves and saying "raise taxes on me", but I wouldn't be surprised to see Canadians pointing at other Canadians and saying "raise taxes on him". It's how it usually goes.


Uncle John
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Joined: Feb 8 2008

Oh no you can't lower corporate taxes or capital gains taxes any more. Not in Canada. That would be right wing fascism.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Compare tiny Sweden's economy with Canada's. Canada is, as the American military once said about it, a northern icebox of natural resource wealth to be raided at corporate America's convenience. We are exporting massive, simply massive amounts of oil and natural gas and hydroelectric power to the northern states. 

We would not have to lower corporate taxes or taxes on natural resource exports if there wasn't this race to the bottom mentality engrained in Ottawa. And it's been a case that none of the larger, more influential provincial economies are willing to challenge capital at the same time, like Dalton Hoover's government in Toronto spending us into a bottomless hole in setting us up for austerity in the process.

In Ontario the Liberals are basically copying taxation models of the 30 some-odd bankrupt US states in refusing to tax the wealthy and profitable corporations. That was Herbert Hoover's approach to taxation during the depression era, and that gov't actually did raise taxes while claiming to be practicing Keynesianism. It wasn't true, though. 

Canada has much more room for raising overall taxes than tiny Nordic country economies do. Their corporations raided resource wealth long ago and left them with little room for taxing timber and mineral and profits that were looted from their countries by marauding capital long ago. Today they have the most efficient taxation models in the world. It doesn't mean we have  to follow them to a tee on the consumption side, although that is one more possibility among several. Bags of room on taxation in Ontario and the rest of Canada. We should not have to be gutting public services Herbert Hoover style. We've lost somewhere more than $6 billion in wages from circulating in Ontario's economy since the loss of so many full-time, unionized manufacturing and related sector jobs since 2003 in order to prop-up a higher dollar and the fossil fuel industry in the prairies. Smaller government and pulling even more money out of Ontario's economy is not going to raise our standard of living or contribute to a more competitive economy Nordic style. The results are in - and more generous social spending is now thought to contribute to economic competitiveness not subtract from. There is a valid alternative to Margaret Thatcher's TINA.


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

@ Fidel: so which taxes would you raise? HST in Ontario to 25%? (I can't see that being a vote-getter.) Top marginal rate increase? (Brian Topp is floating this right now.) Or would you raise corporate taxes only and leave HST and personal income tax alone? If you follow the Sweden link I posted you'll see that Swedish and Canadian corporate taxes are actually pretty close (once you count provincial tax in Ontario) - they're both around 25% right now.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

I would support removing HST from necessities and leaving unrestricted ITC's alone. If I was looking for votes in the conservative bastion of Ontario among voters still voting and during what is sure to be neoliberal economic meltdown part III or IV or whatever in the next year or two, I would support what the ONDP is promising to, which is to spend more in health care and public services while costing less than the other two parties' platforms overall.

Federally, I think the NDP could raise overall tax revs in general and replace what was removed from social transfers since 1995. I think that would be a good place to start for our first NDP government in Ottawa.


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

@ Fidel: that's kind of a nonspecific answer to the question of which Ontario taxes you would raise. You can see here:

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2011/ch2h.html#c2_secH...

that Ontario spending has increased by 66% since 2002-2003, faster than can be accounted for by a combination of inflation (running around 2.5% over the period) and population growth. So assuming counterfactually that Ontario has a revenue problem, not a spending problem, what taxes would you raise?


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

ygtbk wrote:

@ Fidel: that's kind of a nonspecific answer to the question of which Ontario taxes you would raise. You can see here:

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2011/ch2h.html#c2_secH...

that Ontario spending has increased by 66% since 2002-2003, faster than can be accounted for by a combination of inflation (running around 2.5% over the period) and population growth. So assuming counterfactually that Ontario has a revenue problem, not a spending problem, what taxes would you raise?

They have cut services and raised taxes and user fees since 2003, no question about it. And they plan on freezing spending and reducing the deficit. The Liberals are panicking over the deficit which they themselves created with help from Ottawa no less.

The Liberal Government's problem, ygtbk, is that they have expenditures of around $124 billion and revenues of almost $109 billion. That's an annual budget deficit of about $16 billion. Do you see a problem with this and the fact that they are talking abour further public sector job cuts as well as reduced services? 

The ONDP's platform is to increase provincial spending more than they would reduce taxes while, at the same time, costing anywhere from quarter-billion less than the Liberals plan to $2.6B less than the Tories' plan for cradle to grave socialism for profitable corporations and rich people.

Uncle John wrote:
Oh no you can't lower corporate taxes or capital gains taxes any more. Not in Canada. That would be right wing fascism.

That's right, there is no need to lower corporate taxes in Ontario, either. Non-financial corporations in Ontario are awash in cash to the tune of somewhere more than $450 billion. They are sitting on stacks and stacks of cash with no indication that they intend to invest in or create jobs in Ontario. Why would we want to give them even more money? Would it be so they can sit on an even larger pile of cash while the government in Toronto slashes public services and full-time jobs? Did sucking billions of dollars more out of the economy during an economic depression work for Herbert Hoover and Americans in the 1930s?


RevolutionPlease
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Joined: Oct 15 2007
In my sliver of the world, it looks like a whole lot of us could afford a few more dollars in taxes toward the social determinants of health.

Freedom 55
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Joined: Mar 14 2010

RevolutionPlease wrote:
In my sliver of the world, it looks like a whole lot of us could afford a few more dollars in taxes toward the social determinants of health.

 

Mine too.


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

@ Fidel: I'm not sure if you're unwilling to answer my question or unable to answer my question. You say you want to emulate the Nordic countries to "preserve" Ontario public services (this despite a massive run-up in provincial spending and debt since 2002-2003) but you are unable or unwilling to say which Ontario taxes you'd raise. Surely it can't be that difficult.


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

Star Exclusive: Ontario To Face Sweeping Cost Cutting - by Linda Diebel

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1119065--don-drummon...

"It's as if Premier Dalton McGuint gave economist Don Drummond the province of Ontario tied up in a nice big bow. In a careers brimming with plum positions, Drummond calls this one his 'dream job': McGuinty put him in charge of a commission on the public service with the power to effect all our lives in Ontario...

His nickname is Premier Drummond, but Darth [Vader] Drummond might soon fit the bill - His report -already in the premier's office waiting for Drummond's final sign off in a few days - goes far beyond expected cuts and covers sweeping recommendations that would consolidate ministeries, overhaul others and change the health care system as we know it...

'I was always very clear at TD [Senior VP and Chief Economist] about what I was trying to do and what they expected of me,' he continues. 'Here was the cost of my group and I knew that if you wanted to survive, I had to make more money for the bank than was the cost of my group...There wasn't a bit of ambiguity about my value to the bank.'

And he wants to bring that discipline to how the province does its business. After full evaluation of each program,

'if it's not going well, it's gone."

Welcome to Bankster-Rule in Ontario...


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

ygtbk wrote:

@ Fidel: I'm not sure if you're unwilling to answer my question or unable to answer my question. You say you want to emulate the Nordic countries to "preserve" Ontario public services (this despite a massive run-up in provincial spending and debt since 2002-2003) but you are unable or unwilling to say which Ontario taxes you'd raise. Surely it can't be that difficult.

ONDP's fiscal framework doc

Fyi, Ontario is not a Nordic country with federal powers for taxation and spending. It's a northern province living beyond its means within a federal fiscal straightjacket and in debt to the tune of more than $250 billion.

 


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

Fidel wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

@ Fidel: I'm not sure if you're unwilling to answer my question or unable to answer my question. You say you want to emulate the Nordic countries to "preserve" Ontario public services (this despite a massive run-up in provincial spending and debt since 2002-2003) but you are unable or unwilling to say which Ontario taxes you'd raise. Surely it can't be that difficult.

ONDP's fiscal framework doc

Fyi, Ontario is not a Nordic country with federal powers for taxation and spending. It's a northern province living beyond its means within a federal fiscal straightjacket and in debt to the tune of more than $250 billion.

I agree that Ontario is a province and not a country. Having said that, how are your comments in posts #11 and #13 in this thread to be interpreted?


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