A taxing situation persists

The HST versus GST-PST question has been settled in favour of getting rid of the HST.

The HST versus GST-PST question has been settled in favour of getting rid of the HST. Unfortunately for a truly democratic tax scheme to be implemented, it was the wrong question in the first place.

I am willing to pay taxes to a representative government that use such taxes for important social applications. This should be an obvious list of police, firefighters, health workers in all knowledge and skills areas, educators from pre-school through to university level, and the many others that keep our society running in a healthy and safe manner.

The taxes I mainly object to are those used to bail out or provide benefits to corporations that theoretically are operating on a capitalist system of success or failure having their natural consequences.

The HST or PST-GST question was simply asking ourselves in which manner we preferred to tax ourselves. The question should more correctly be, “Do we wish to tax ourselves more, or should corporate profits be taxed more?” Corporations have had their taxes reduced significantly over the past several decades. While it is true that personal income taxes have also decreased, it has been with other costs attached.

What has happened in general is that the rich have been getting richer and the rest of us have seen stagnant incomes, while service fees have increased, and access to services has decreased. These regressive fees have a much harder impact on the poor in society than they do on the wealthy, and the impact of reduced social services for the poor can be devastating.

In societies where there are large inequalities in wealth, with the top very small per cent controlling most of the wealth (as is now the case in the U.S., with Canada following suit), and the rest of us making do with the rest, there is also a large democratic gap (corporations dominate the political parties) and a large social demographic gap (poorer health, higher infant mortality et al).

Democracy would be much healthier if the corporations were taxed and a progressive income tax was implemented for the very wealthy in order that income is shared in a socially responsible way.

The arguments are presented that corporations and their management made their wealth and they deserve to keep it. Yes, they do have legal title to it, but then again it is the wealthy who write the majority of economic rules, including the transnational trade agreements that people in general have no say in how they are structured. That wealth is based on many other factors than the entrepreneurial spirit.

It is based on the knowledge, labour, and skills of those working for the company. It is based on the combined knowledge and skills of many generations who have come before them and provided them with a healthy society and a technical skill set in which to pursue their own economic goals.

Corporate wealth does not translate into a general improvement in society. Certainly it translates into good economic statistics, but statistics can be manipulated or chosen to display many different characteristics of an economy.

If we are given the chance again, the vote should be based choosing between taxing the income of the general population, or taxing the wealth of the large corporations and their management more. A reprise of any sales tax or services tax or value-added tax question is simply arguing about which way the majority of us wish to have ourselves taxed.

Jim Miles