Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Shocking And Inconvenient Truth

It is a statistic that should disturb even the most unflappable among us. It is also a window through which we see the bald lie in the Harper claim that his government is the best one to manage the nation's economy.

An RBC survey has revealed that three-quarters of Canadians are imprisoned by debt, exclusive of their mortgages, to the tune of an average $16,000.

That number reveals a myriad of truths. It reveals that good jobs are becoming increasingly scarce. It reveals that the precariat is extensive, and hardly limited to university grads carrying heavy debt and contending with contract work. The statistic attests to a world in which minimum wage jobs are proliferating, new jobs being created are largely part-time ones. food bank use is rising. and increasing numbers are facing retirement with little or no savings.

But of course, the wily Harper has a secret weapon at his disposal: people's greed and self-interest. Because deficit reduction continues apace, it is doubtlessly his strategy to go into the 2015 election with it eliminated so that he can make good on his promise to allow income-splitting for parents with children under 18; under the proposal, people would be allowed to split up to $50,000 of income with their partner. It is a scheme, as pointed out by Andrew Jackson and Jonathan Sas, that

will further shrink the federal tax base with little economic or social gain for most families. What it will achieve is the hamstringing of future federal governments, whose ability to make needed public investments and fund critical social programs like child care, parental leave, good pensions, or world-class public health care will be blunted.

As well, the authors go on to cite this study:

A detailed analysis for the C.D. Howe Institute calculates that 40 per cent of the benefits of family income-splitting would go to families earning more than $125,000. David Robinson of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates that 61 per cent of the benefits would go to families earning more than $100,000.

And, as Thomas Walkom points out in today's Star, while the spectacle of the Prime Minister giving non-answers to Thomas Mulcair's probing inquiries about the Senate scandal is diverting, it masks a deeper rot which the Prime Minister refuses to acknowledge: his inept handling of our economy.

Quite a legacy the man will leave, when he is finally forced from office.


  1. Harper's handling of the economy, Lorne, bears witness to the fact that you can graduate from the University of Calgary with a Masters Degree in Economics and not know anything about economics.

    1. I suspect that there are many things Dear Leader knows little about, Owen, and I hope one of them is how much Canadians are willing to be manipulated and lied to before looking for a political alternative to his inept rule.

  2. I don't believe they will be able to bring in their so-called 'income-splitting,' because it will significantly inhibit their ability to balance the budget (something that they will probably be unable to do anyway if the BofC's forecasts are any indication). I happen to be one of those people who would benefit immensely from income-splitting. But I bet it won't happen.

    1. Even if it has to be deferred, Kirby, I'm betting that Harper sees income-splitting as his winning election strategy. By promising people they can keep 'more of their own money,' the PM is betting on the triumph of self-interest over disgust with him to carry the day.

      Regarding you point about balancing budgets, I think the steady erosion of tax revenue that will be accelerated under the income-splitting will allow the Conservatives to justify further cutbacks in support of social programs and government services, They will simply plead poverty and thereby further their agenda of minimizing the role of government in people's lives.