Last week the Harper Spin Machine trumpeted the message that the present government has saved Canadians and their corporations $43 billion in taxes. That accomplishment was presented as if it was one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. And the opposition parties seemed to agree that, indeed, Canadians have been blessed. Murray Dobbin writes:
There was no critical comment from any of the national political parties. For so many years now, the conversation has been like one-hand clapping. Anti-government voices like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the National Post, the Fraser Institute and C.D. Howe Institute and the editorial writers in virtually every newspaper in the country repeat the mantra that tax cuts are good to the point where there is apparently no level of government impoverishment that is unacceptable.
Perhaps, he suggests, Canadians should know what could have been done with that money:
The folks at Press Progress did some of the work on such a list, allocating $43 billion in additional revenue annually.
Balance the budget: $2.9 billion
Pay down debt: $10 billion
Urban infrastructure and public transit: $9.5 billion
National child-care program: $2 billion
National pharmacare program: $3.8 billion
Reduce university tuition to 1992 levels: $3 billion
Invest in affordable housing: $1.5 billion
Invest in First Nations communities, water supply and education: $2.2 billion
Invest in long-term health care for seniors: $5.6 billion
And, say the authors, we would have enough left over to buy a Welsh pony for every child under the age of nine (cost: $2.5 billion).
It's all about the quality of mercy, not mania.