Believe it or not, dear Reader, there are more interesting points to consider — about taxes! “Taxes!”, the dirty word which makes our society strong.
As the provincial election campaign began, several parties announced, flat out, “we’ll cut taxes!” Those who’ve read an earlier column here, on the positive side of taxes (as the source of all our government services, and as our annual membership fee for Canadian citizenship), they’ll expect no support for this cheap campaign trick, but I’d sure consider supporting someone who promises to clean up tax collection in general, remove corruption and favouritism — that is, all the special dispensations which corporations and the wealthy get from our tax system — I’ll vote for any party which promises wiser and rational use of tax revenues.
To cut taxes is to cut funding for hospitals and health care, funding for training doctors and nurses, funds for education at all levels, and funds for infrastructure renewal. These parties are promising to cut health care, education and infrastructure? In 2022? We need to pay taxes, but they do need to be assessed and distributed with more fairness and intelligence.
Taxes are the investments we make in our pensions
I, myself, am getting a little long in the tooth and thinking about final decades — about pensions. Our taxes are investments we make in our pensions. And as far as I can see there’s no better pension plan than Canada’s. What I’ve paid in, compared to what I am getting back even now makes this the best investment — ever! Our taxes are investments in our futures, and how can that be bad?
Of course, we cannot control old-age pensions the way we might control an ordinary investment (for which we pay fees to banks and investment firms — taxes of a sort). At least with old-age security we know what we’ll get each month, and it won’t be zero, which private markets cannot guarantee. It’s not a question of the best- possible-return-on-investment, it’s a question of a reasonably good, guaranteed return that’s always positive, compared to our original and annual investment via taxes. Will the bank offer you this? Our pensions do.
Clearly, taxes are our best investment — so why would we vote to “cut taxes”? Suggesting this are the politicians who think we’re fools.
On top, the retro-conservatives don’t want any action for large-scale change — improving our climate’s trajectory, side-step the coming rain/drought chaos, launch a new green economy, or even upgrade our province’s infrastructure (energy transmission lines, city mass transit, cell networks, highways and bridges). The knuckle-draggers realize that if the provincial treasury is emptied, they won’t have to argue against these improvements. They can even privatize our healthcare system!
Imagine if our new government seriously began cleaning up the tax system, making it truly progressive, community-focused and with the public auditor’s office strengthened mightily (to end favouritism, subsidies and unjust dispensations). Imagine doing that. We can make our best investment even better right here, taxes streamlined, simpler and stimulative. We don’t have to accept less, although we are always offered less, election after election.
Yes, the political parties will issue all sorts of caveats and “special considerations” for us to weigh; they will flood the media and public discussion with false-flag issues of language, culture, even religion, as if any of these are under assault. They will put more energy into proving why they can’t do what we clearly wish and they’ll camouflage the real needs by using US-style “culture wars” provocations. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, perhaps I’m unkind to these folks who seem only able to blame others for problems rather than solve them.
Dear Readers, think hard, who you support? Are you pleased with the educational system we have, our health system … ? Ask these questions at meetings — and use the media! (The Journal’s “Letters to the Editor” are read by about 10,000 people, per issue). Insist on concrete answers. Read up on the claims of the parties … and vote. We all must remain positive, and the best way to be positive is to vote. Why follow the same old path to the same old half-solutions and baffle-gab? Go vote on the third of October. It takes about 15 minutes. It’s your future that’s up for grabs, our future.