Friday, April 11, 2014

They're Getting Worried

This week, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives put out a media release in which they insisted that their taxes were not too low. Linda McQuaig writes:

This defensive posture — who mentioned murder? — reveals they fear others may be slowly catching on to the massive transfer of wealth to the richest Canadians that’s been going on for the past 14 years due to the systematic cutting of corporate tax rates. 

After all, if corporate taxes were where they were fourteen years ago,

we’d be collecting roughly an extra $20 billion a year in taxes — enough to fund national child care, free university tuition, children’s dental care or other programs that have long existed in other advanced countries but that no one here, in these lean and mean times, dares to be caught dreaming about anymore, let alone advocating out loud.

During those fourteen years, corporations controlled the debate -- and the government:

For years now, all the oxygen in public commentary about taxes has been sucked up by a rabid anti-tax movement, funded by corporate and wealthy interests. Organizations like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the National Citizens Coalition have been allowed to hold court in the media as if they were simply disinterested outfits representing ordinary people. Their huge anti-tax bullhorn has been amplified by in-house commentators from the business press and then reiterated by Harper government spokespeople, all within the closed echo chamber known as “public debate.”

But now the public mood seems to be shifting with news that Canadian corporations have been shifting profits to international jurisdictions with lower tax regimes. Consider the case of Cameco:

which sold uranium at very low prices to its Swiss-based subsidiary, which then sold the uranium to customers at much higher prices, thereby accumulating huge profits — $4.3 billion in six years — in the subsidiary, located in a particularly low-taw tax district in Switzerland.

Because of this, Cameco may have deprived the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments of some $850 million in taxes, obliging other taxpayers to make up the difference or governments to cut programs.

Those Tim Horton types -- who the Harper government claims is its base -- don't get that kind of consideration. Revolt is in the air. And the rich are getting nervous.

Just a few words about Jim Flaherty. I was never a fan. He promoted and implemented the kinds of policies McQuaig excoriates. And his proposed solution to homelessness -- sweeping the homeless off the streets and carting them off to jail -- struck me as a particularly stupid solution to a problem. Nonetheless, he died too soon. The days ahead will be difficult for Christine Elliott and their sons. They deserve our kind thoughts and deep sympathy.


bcwaterboy said...

How sad it is that we've been conditioned, quite deliberately I think, to buy into the crap notion that low corporate taxes lead to job creation. Nothing could be further from the truth, labour costs are, and always have been the area that gets eyed for profit growth and the closure upon closure of our manufacturing base is no accident indeed. Strangling off the demand side of the equation in pursuit of cheap disposable consumption has lead to an economy that cannot sustain itself. No amount of money in a rich man's bank account is going to drive consumption and create jobs, money in the pockets of the many is the only answer to this mess. And although Flaherty's policies are in line with the race to the bottom, I can't help but notice that the man caught the attention across the political spectrum. Goes to show that respect can be earned despite differences, something harper truly does not deserve.

Owen Gray said...

I was struck by Bob Rae's short piece in the Globe this morning, waterboy. He bade farewell to a "fellow practitioner."

I'm sure Mr. Harper would not be treated with the same respect. His economics has always been about the oversupply of dead money.

Anonymous said...

"Nonetheless, he died too soon."

Seriously? This was a man who wanted to imprison homeless people. As far as I'm concerned, he didn't die soon enough.

Owen Gray said...

As I said, Anon, that proposal struck me as particularly stupid.

However, when one retires, one usually hopes to survive for more than three weeks.

ron wilton said...

Poverty certainly is relative.

The G20 hosted 21st century style slave trade of platooning hordes of desperate people from over-populated countries to their corporate bosses playfields to work for far less than the natives and still send pittances home to abandoned families will continue and flourish until we can no longer sustain or support the growing numbers of our own over educated and disillusioned next generation.

Our reaction then may be intemperate, but right now our 'kindness' is killing us.

Owen Gray said...

It's been fifty years since the Youth Rebellion of the '60's, Ron. I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar phenomenon now.

Last week, kids in Montreal were in the streets.

Anonymous said...

"However, when one retires, one usually hopes to survive for more than three weeks."

So, if a politician devises anti-citizen and anti-human legislation, then they are entitled to survive in order to enjoy their ill-gotten games - paid for by the taxpayers that they have deceived?

Owen Gray said...

No, Anon. But, as Marc Antony said, "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft' interred with their bones."

Flaherty will not escape his legacy.

Anonymous said...

They are too low. I say sock it to them.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention. The Westons recently gave 22 million to the Fraser Institute. They should definitely be paying more taxes if they can afford to do that.

Owen Gray said...

They also know that they're grossly outnumbered, Anon. When the tide turns, they'll be caught in the undertow.

Owen Gray said...

But, of course, the Fraser Institute will work very hard to see that doesn't happen, Anon.

Anonymous said...

And would these foreign workers be temporary....Harry Bloy.
April 8/2014

Corporations are bottomless pits of greed. Every time they all line up at the trough and squeal for more money? Harper gives them another $60 billion in tax reductions.

Harper has been sneakily working on the TPP, which is another corporate give-a-way. This gives those parasites a hell of a lot more power.

This is all about globalization. First comes the NAU though. We already have the European Union. This is why, Harper's next election win must be rigged too. And, it will be.

Tories may have broken election rules, with US Republican campaigners in Ontario
April 9/2012

Owen Gray said...

The Fair Elections Act is all about guaranteeing their longevity, Anon.

Unknown said...

Speaking of foreign workers I wonder what all BC workers who voted for the Clark Liberals think of this:

"Being a temporary foreign worker in British Columbia got a little easier this month; the province made newcomers officially eligible to receive settlement help and assistance in the case of a crisis." -from;

These large corporations that are not paying taxes and cheating instead of paying as often as they get away with it, under Harper its equivalent to using a sieve to hold water, will love this. If they cheat on taxes why would they hire Canadians at market value when they can hire foreign temps and pay then less than the minimum wage and the BC government supplies a safety net for them?

Five years from now there will be no high paying jobs in BC. The foreign workers will fill the fisheries, logging lumber, mining and oil and gas sector industries.

I refused to vote Liberal so do not blame me.


Owen I was not a fan of Flaherty or his policy either, but it is very sad he parted the way he did, Amen.

Owen Gray said...

BC's new policy represents what has been a trend for the last ten years, Mogs. The wealthy insist that we privatize profits and socialize losses.

It's having your cake and eating it, too,

Anonymous said...

Owen: My great great grandmother was left a widow with 10 children in Suffolk, England, by her husband who was manager of a major brewery but died at age 58 of cancer. She knew there was no way for her to survive in England (it was definitely a land for the rich in those days). She took what she received from his estate and bought a 1/2 section in the Midnapore area south of Calgary through the CPR Land Company in London and arrived in Canada with the kids in 1884. Came across to Calgary by rail. Some 130 years later Canada has become what England was in my GGGrandmother's day. I am now finding Canada much too expensive to live in and am looking at places like Costa Rica to spend the rest of my days. What is even scarier is that my father's family immigrated from Ireland in 1927 for the very same reason: real opportunities only existed for the very wealthy -- and this only 87 years later!!!

The consolidation of wealth in fewer and fewer corporations has made it impossible to turn things around, and our current crop of opportunists who call themselves politicans working for all Canadians are too busy facilitating this consolidation and using their power to continue the reduction of corporate taxes under the guise of creating jobs. It boggles the mind that those who vote - in limited numbers - can even believe the rhetoric coming from the Harpo Party or the media that supports them.

Owen Gray said...

Your great grandmother arrived from England, Anon. My great grandfather arrived from Ireland, fleeing hard times and settling in the Eastern Townships.

Today they would be admitted as temporary foreign workers -- and then they would be sent back home.