Four years ago, Stephen Harper declared: "I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes." We've come to expect that kind of piffle from the prime minister. But, Devon Black writes, these days all politicians are singing from the same hymnal:
The “Read my lips — no new taxes!” approach to politics is so popular right now that even Thomas Mulcair hopped on the anti-tax bandwagon last week, promising no new taxes if the NDP forms the government after the next election.
The problem is, of course, that we need things which we can't afford to pay for on our own:
We all benefit from things like hospitals, schools and roads, which are paid for by taxpayers. But instead of defending taxes as mildly unpleasant but fundamentally necessary, our politicians seem hell-bent on cutting them down to the lowest level possible.
We have lost the sense that we are all in this together. Conservatives, who have dominated debate in this country for thirty years, have been mesmerised by Ayn Rand and made selfishness a virtue. It sounds catchy. But that vision quickly breaks down:
That reasoning is attractive on the surface, but even a moment’s consideration should give us pause. Paying a few dollars less in income tax might be nice, but we can’t buy clean water or effective electrical grids on our own.
This vision of a low-tax, low-government society is a fundamentally selfish one that would leave all of us worse off. Taxes aren’t government theft; they’re a collaborative investment in our country. Individually, none of us can afford to pay for all the services government provides. Together, our taxes help shape Canada into one of the best places on Earth to live.
The next time the prime minister touts the advantages of lower taxes, ask yourself: Could the good people of Calgary -- his "hometown" -- clean up from this year's flood on their own?