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September 2, 2010

Life and Taxes, Part 2

A follow up from yesterday, Taxes, Part 2. Now, fair warning, I do vote NDP, it may colour my views a bit. Yeah, yeah, an accountant NDP. Laugh it up.

The benefits of taxation:
I have an issue with libertarians. I mean, sure, there are a few things that I think the government would be better off buggering off about, like that horrible ACTA bill, but for the most part, libertarians don't really get the whole picture. You never see a poor libertarian, after all. They're all mysteriously wealthy. IE, the ones with the least to lose from implementing their system, and screw the rest.

Taxes go from (ideally) the rich to the masses. That is why a stepped system exists: Those who can afford to help others are basically forced into donating to charity. Look outside. If you're anything like in Canada, you will likely note a street outside your house, paid for by taxes. If you're in the suburbs, or even some urban places now, you will note trees alng the sidewalks. That's taxes too, albeit at the municipal level. You will note that you can see outside, that it isn't covered in smog. Taxes on emissions keep it that way. If its winter, that snowplow that just re-filled your driveway was also paid for with taxes, and no matter how much that annoys you, you will still be thankful when you have access to the highway on your way to work. Notice how there isn't too much garbage piling up on the driveway? That's taxes too. Hundreds of everyday conveniences we take for granted are paid for by our taxes. Notice the lack of people robbing your house. Yup. Cops are paid for by taxes too. So is the fire department.

And I'm sure even some (weaker) libertarians would agree, emergency services, yeah, that's okay spending (some disagree, but I maintain they are insane). But what of secondary emergency services? This is a big difference between the States and Canada. In the States, prisons are private, profit aiming machines. Really, 20 years for some relatively harmless drugs? It's a slap on the wrist here. We focus instead on more dangerous crimes, and rehabilitation, and by keeping it to more sinister folks, are able to keep prisons from being (too) overcrowded and forcing dangerous murderers to go free because another person was found smoking a joint... This is inherent in the way taxes are spent, it shows the priorities of the country. The USA focuses on money, Canada, on people. This is further exemplified in hospitals and health care. It should not be considered a surprise to most that the USA ranks #37 on health care in the world (according to the World Health Org), a ton of room for improvement. When you're closer to Croatia than Canada in quality of healthcare, you need to get that looked at. Of course, it's a pre-existing condition. :p I'll lay off the massive paragraphs on how much better our healthcare system is, though, it isn't very Canadian to pour salt on wounds (even if salt is an antiseptic).

 So there's a few things that taxes go to that support us. But of course, most people would say "Yeah, I love my inherent health insurance, and my roads, and my firefighters. It's one of two things I hate: Either the military spending, or the gov't employment spending."

Now, I can't speak for military, because it is such a hotly contested section. Fairness issues, plans, secret societies, it's just a whole can of worms. Instead, I move to tax money sent to white-collar workers. Tax dollars wind up making Gov'ts (all three levels combined) into the number one employer in Canada. And all those people still pay taxes, to employ yet more people. Most of them have decent living wages, you know, 40k a year, rising up to just over 110k when you hit the highest levels (again, thank you CRA for posting your wage rates online for that factoid). Not quite the hundreds of millions CEOs in private industries make, but you know, not too bad either. And it gets half taken back in taxes anyways. :) The leaders, they get probably get a bit more than that highest bracket, but much like the States, the real money isn't the tax dollar wage, but the bribes they get. Oh, sorry, "campaign contributions". Gotta be politically correct here. The money is spread thin across a huge number of facets. And it is vast sums of money. In 2006, the CRA took in 222.2 billion dollars (Citation Here). Taking into account economic growth and inflation, it is likely close now to 365, or a billion dollars a day collected. A billion dollars. A day. For Canada, not the States. Now, I can begrudge them paying 0.04% of a single day's income to the prime minister as his yearly wage (assuming it is the same as the President's: 400k), but with that much coming in, how much really is going to the (as Sakurita put it last post) "fat cats", and how much is coming back to us, just in forms we ignore? Next time you go to a public park, stand there for a second, and ask yourself as you watch the children playing in it, one taking a puff from a healthcare-funded inhaler, but all laughing with safe streets and clean fields, just out of government-funded school, looking forward to government subsidized university and dreaming of getting into government funded spacesuits or doctor coats, or even just the child tax benefit to offset loss of income from pregnancy, and ask youself: have your tax dollars been well spent?

We all may have issues with them, but I would still say having taxes is still better than the alternative.


  1. Funnily enough I'm studying for an economics test right now.
    This thread will be of relevance to me through my studies. Followed!


  2. Best of luck on that test! Thanks for dropping by!

  3. i'll have to look up NDP later on today...

  4. NDP = New Democratic Party. They're the "Far Left" group in Canada, usually they get a dozen or so seats, enough to be considered but not powerful. The one time they were in power was how we got our healthcare system we're so proud of.