How can you spot Canadians? They have “Tax me!” stamped on their foreheads. Well, not true — but it might as well be true.
According to Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco, Canadians are hit with “the highest income- and profit-tax rates in the industrialized world as a percentage of GDP.”1 “When one takes into account all the increases in personal income tax, goods and services, property and hidden taxes, Canadians now work six months a year to fill government coffers — a 55-day jump since 1961.” (And you thought slavery was banned!)
However, according to news reports, Canada’s Finance Minister Paul Martin is reluctant to cut taxes. Why? Because tax cuts would “sacrifice key programs” and “we would feel the pain from not investing in … the infrastructure of the new economy.”
Tragically, many Canadians believe that government spending on economic-social programs — health care, education, old-age security, unemployment insurance, utilities, welfare, etc. — constitutes a good investment. In truth, such spending is an assault on individual liberty, prosperity, health care, education, etc., and more. (In contrast, and leaving aside how the funds should be raised, government spending on the police, military, and justice system is necessary for individual liberty and prosperity.)
|When the government extorts your money to spend on health care, education, etc., dear taxpayer, it deprives you of making spending-investment decisions with your money.|
When the government extorts your money to spend on health care, education, etc., dear taxpayer, it deprives you of making spending-investment decisions with your money.
When you control your money — your property — in a free market economy, companies compete to provide you with the best products and services at the lowest price. The provider you choose is directly accountable to you — not the government. Whatever money you save on one service is available to invest in your other needs and interests. This entices you to be more productive, responsible and knowledgeable, and entices providers to be more creative, cost-efficient and customer-oriented.
When the government controls your money, factors other than your rational judgement and interests will dictate its spending decisions, such as appeasing various pressure groups, expanding its power, etc. When the government can extort your money virtually at will, and the service provider is directly accountable to it — not you, no real incentive exists to provide you with the best value for your money. It’s no accident that costs for public education, health care, etc., rose dramatically while quality sunk.
Imagine how morally outraged you’d feel if a private company forced you to purchase its inferior services. A government that forces you to pay for its dumbed-down education system, or that pyramid (or Ponzi) scheme called the Canada Pension Plan, is no less immoral. It amounts to supplying you with a “value” while rendering impotent your basic means of identifying and achieving your values — your independent, rational judgement.
Granted, economic-social spending by the government is not justified solely in terms of serving your interests. Much of it is justified in terms of redistributing wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots” (or what Martin calls “equalization”). Even services like health care operate according to Marx’s dictum: “from each according to ability to each according to need.”
In essence, forced redistribution of wealth punishes those who are ambitious, productive, successful and self-responsible, while rewarding the opposite — an utter perversion of justice. This naturally entices people to be nonproductive and irresponsible; and it’s no accident that welfare schemes have generated a growing class of whining, miserable and seemingly helpless dependents — who are now your masters.
Under voluntary charity, those who are truly in need through no fault of their own — a relatively small minority — would be well taken care of by the generosity of a free and prosperous majority. (Interestingly, the same leftists who declare Canada to be a compassionate, generous nation would object to this claim most vociferously.) Morally, there is no difference between a man who robs you on the street because you have what he needs or wants, and a government that accomplishes the same thing.
So, gentle taxpayer, the real reason Paul Martin won’t cut your taxes is that you have no right to your own money; and not only are you incompetent to make investment decisions in your best interest — your interests are subordinate to the needs and desires of others; you are effectively a slave to the collective, which, in practice, means that you are a slave to those who rule the collective.
So if you passively accept Martin’s (implicit) view of you, then you deserve to be heavily taxed (and to even have “Tax me!” stamped on your forehead) — only don’t pretend that it constitutes a “good investment” or fulfils some “noble” purpose.
1. Taxed to Death, The Financial Post Magazine, February 1999
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