We Need a Goods and Services Tax - Like CanadaPermalink +
Fri, Dec 28, 2012, 1:33 pm // John Lesow
"I don't even know what street Canada's on...."
--- Al Capone, 1929
Mr. Capone did not let geographical challenges impede his success in business. An ardent capitalist, he gave the public what they wanted. He also qualified as a liberal redistributionist long before FDR. Capone set up soup kitchens for the poor during the Great Depression. What a guy.
And he certainly had no hesitation about admitting his lack of knowledge about Canada. Even today, a lot of Americans don't know much about Canada. And could care less.
As a Canadian citizen and taxpayer, I was interested in a reference to Canada on Jean Melious' blog, Get Whatcom Planning. Jean has recently posted several articles on "Agenda 21. "
Apparently, references to Canada and the United Nations are made in Glenn Beck's latest book of the same title.
I certainly don't want my tax dollars funnelled into support of some silly new world order, so I checked out Jean's links.
Fortunately, the commentary about Canada's purported endorsement of One World Government centered around some stale statements by Jean Chretien, our former Prime Minister (1993-2003). In politics, 9 years is an eternity. I doubt if Chretien's vague support of the UN/Agenda 21 program carries much weight in Canada today. There are more important matters to attend to.
As we teeter towards the "fiscal cliff" in the U.S. we would do well to consider some tax policies of our neighbor to the north. Specifically, the Goods and Services Tax, now applied to just about everything one purchases in Canada, with the exception of groceries and medical services.
Introduced by the Conservatives in 1991, supporters of the GST claimed it was necessary to maintain the high level of government services to which Canadians have become accustomed.
As with most new taxes, the GST was reviled by most. Particularly because most Canadian provinces, with the exception of Alberta, already had their own sales tax .
In Canada, the average provincial sales tax is about 6% (like Washington). Still, adding an additional 7% federal tax on top of an existing provincial tax was a pretty good whack. Particularly on big ticket items like cars, boats, homes and RVs.
Instituting the Goods and Services Tax was a tough political sell. Dubbed by opponents as the "Gouge and Screw" Tax, the defeat of Brian Mulroney's Conservative party in the 1993 election was largely attributed to public outrage over the GST.
Although the UN loving, Agenda 21-promoting Jean Chretien campaigned against the GST in the 1993 election, he kept the tax in place after the Liberals won. Who expects politicians to keep their promises?
Besides, the GST provided a reliable revenue stream for all those great government programs that Canadians like to crow about.
Chretien's successor, Liberal Paul Martin, vowed to reduce the GST but wisely retained it during the stormy economic period in the late 90's, when the value of the Canadian dollar slumped to 62 cents U.S. and Canada was, proportionately, nearly as debt ridden as the U.S. is now.
Due to unsupportable unemployment insurance benefits, out of control transfer payments for education and health and a host of other extravagances the country could no longer afford, Canada was facing it's own "fiscal cliff."
Or, as Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin put it, "Canada hadn't reached debt Armageddon, but we could see it from there."
Fast forward to 2012.
The Canadian dollar is over par with the U.S. buck and will likely stay that way for years.
Due to prudent regulation, Canada's banks avoided the fiscal meltdown experienced by most American institutions in 2008. Fluctuations in the Canadian real estate market have been minimal. Even in these tough economic times, it is still difficult to find a shotgun shack in the Vancouver area for less than half a million. Canadians are flocking to Whatcom County and scooping up our distressed real estate at fire sale prices. A mixed blessing, for sure.
Internationally, Canada was recently ranked 9th on the list of the Top 10 Countries in the World. The U.S. came in 16th.
The reliable revenue stream provided by the GST can't claim all the credit for Canada's economic good fortune, but it has certainly helped. As well as the fact that Steven Harper's Conservative government has held sway for 8 years and counting.
As we lurch toward a possible recession in 2013, it would be a good idea if Democrats and Republicans could agree to institute a national sales tax, similar to Canada's GST.
Stop arguing about the definition of "rich." Whether you pull down $250,000 or a million a year, raising the rate to 39% on these folks is not going to pull the United States out of the fiscal mess created by current and past administrations. Even Harry Reid would (or should) admit that.
But pols have been surprisingly silent about introducing a national sales tax similar to Canada's GST. Even if you are a class warrior and hate the rich, it could be argued that a Goods and Services Tax is, in fact, an indirect tax on the rich. Most of the rich people I know like to buy expensive stuff.
Moreover, consumption taxes give all citizens "skin in the game" as our president likes to say. More than half of Americans pay no income tax at all. Compared to most industrialized countries, we are undertaxed.
Given the results of the last presidential election, plus previous judicial endorsement, it's a pretty good bet that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Why not earmark the revenues from a national sales tax to pay for it?
Prices and taxes are higher in Canada, but with a steady stream of funding from the GST, income taxes have been held in check over the past few years and recently the Harper government was able to lower the GST rate by two percentage points to 5%
Canada's universal health care system remains relatively intact, we still have a functioning government pension program and a stable banking system.
Canadians can thank the Liberal and Conservative governments for putting aside their ideological arguments 20 years ago and supporting the GST.
The Democrats and the GOP could take an economic history lesson from Canada as we approach the "fiscal cliff."
Mon, Jun 17, 2013, 6:00 am // Wendy HarrisIn what is becoming a hallmark of the Linville administration, the mayor is seeking funding for an off-site wetland mitigation program that has not yet been approved.
1 comments; last on Jun 17, 2013
Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 1:53 pm // John ServaisEdward Snowden is a very courageous patriot, in the opinion of the publisher of NWCitizen.
3 comments; last on Jun 14, 2013
Sun, Jun 09, 2013, 10:37 pm // John ServaisIntersection art - the painting of a design on the actual streets - is being developed in the Happy Valley neighborhood.
1 comments; last on Jun 15, 2013
Sat, Jun 08, 2013, 4:21 pm // John ServaisOver at the Political Junkie, Riley Sweeney has a report on one criteria the Herald uses to reject letters to the editor.
1 comments; last on Jun 10, 2013
Thu, Jun 06, 2013, 6:30 pm // Dick ConoboyD-Day forgotten.
Mon, Jun 03, 2013, 10:05 pm // John ServaisCity Council passes long-debated ban 4 to 3. It is effective in 2014.
Sun, Jun 02, 2013, 1:41 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein various comments are compiled and compounded, and citizens encouraged to act
2 comments; last on Jun 11, 2013
Fri, May 31, 2013, 7:20 pm // Wendy HarrisIdeologically Stubborn Council Majority Ignores Existing Industrial Zoning for Slaughter and Meat Processing Operations
2 comments; last on Jun 01, 2013
Fri, May 31, 2013, 5:43 pm // John ServaisLuba Pekisheva has been given a confusing run around in our Whatcom County courts for over three years. Judges, prosecutors and clerks have all participated.
Fri, May 31, 2013, 12:01 am // Guest writerJeffrey Margolis urges us to request the Nooksack South Fork Valley be included in the Coal Port environmental study.
3 comments; last on Jun 02, 2013
Fri, May 24, 2013, 1:18 am // Guest writerMarian Beddill provides a general guide for the public, with a look at the history of water rights in Washington state.
4 comments; last on May 26, 2013
Wed, May 22, 2013, 11:12 am // Guest writerBy Guest Writer Nicole Brown. This is a call to action for county citizens as the county tries to ram through the slaughterhouse rezones.
7 comments; last on May 26, 2013
Mon, May 20, 2013, 12:48 pm // Dick ConoboyYou can give your money, normally dished out to fireworks manufacturers and distributors, to organizations that help our disabled veterans. Change the way we celebrate Independence Day.
Fri, May 17, 2013, 5:44 pm // John ServaisTuesday morning and nothing in today's Bellingham Herald. Nor online. We provide the basics to fill in this latest omission by our "daily" newspaper.
9 comments; last on May 23, 2013
Thu, May 16, 2013, 12:55 pm // Wendy HarrisThe public process on the revised waterfront plans is an empty charade
1 comments; last on May 17, 2013
Wed, May 15, 2013, 11:23 pm // Wendy HarrisThe political censor police are listening to you
5 comments; last on May 16, 2013
Mon, May 13, 2013, 3:50 am // Dick ConoboySome very important issues with respect to the University Ridge private dormitory project in the Puget Neighborhood will not be considered in the approval process.
9 comments; last on May 30, 2013
Fri, May 10, 2013, 10:22 am // Wendy HarrisThe City Planning Commission Advocates "Free Market Capitalism" Approach to Waterfront Planning.
1 comments; last on May 12, 2013
Fri, May 10, 2013, 12:07 am // Wendy HarrisA recent letter by the Parks Department fails to contain reassurance that the geese will be safe from extermination this year.
Wed, May 08, 2013, 9:53 am // Dick ConoboyAmbling University Development has proposed building private, off-campus dormitory buildings in the Puget Neighborhood. Their revised proposal was submitted on 29 April.
Mon, May 06, 2013, 2:40 am // Guest writerPaul deArmond is remembered by his sister Claire. He was a Republican-at-Large.
2 comments; last on May 08, 2013
Sun, May 05, 2013, 3:45 pm // John ServaisHelp fund a scientific study looking for links between diesel locomotives, coal trains and unhealthy air.
Sat, May 04, 2013, 1:09 pm // Guest writerWendy Scherrer reminds all who support modest sized grade schools to try and attend the meeting Wed, May 8, in the evening.
3 comments; last on May 10, 2013
Fri, May 03, 2013, 11:16 pm // Wendy HarrisThe Humane Society is bringing herding dogs to control Silver Lake geese, but it is not an optimal situation for success.
Wed, May 01, 2013, 11:31 pm // Wendy HarrisThe County Parks Department has allocated funding for playground equipment, but has not allocated funding for wildlife management planning.
1 comments; last on May 03, 2013
Sun, Apr 28, 2013, 10:30 pm // John ServaisNew York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, has a masterful short article that explains why austerity is not working.
3 comments; last on May 23, 2013
Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 7:05 pm // Wendy HarrisThe only urgency underscored by the Silver Lake geese is the urgency of enacting a comprehensive wildlife strategy.
4 comments; last on Apr 29, 2013
Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 11:58 am // John ServaisThe Gristle in today's Cascadia Weekly is devoted to a tribute to Paul de Armond. Tim Johnson gets it right.
Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 6:52 am // Riley SweeneyRiley attends Tea Party training and runs afoul of Rep. Overstreet
1 comments; last on Apr 22, 2013
Sun, Apr 21, 2013, 1:59 pm // John ServaisWell known political writer has died.
5 comments; last on Apr 23, 2013
Sat, Apr 20, 2013, 11:52 am // Wendy HarrisThere will be no due process for the Canada geese, or the public, before the County Parks Department lethally removes the geese from Silver Lake
4 comments; last on Apr 24, 2013
Sat, Apr 13, 2013, 9:19 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein we see how the Ds do the work the Rs can't get away with
7 comments; last on Apr 17, 2013
Sat, Apr 13, 2013, 3:47 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the people who call capping a clean-up say toxics safe enough for day care.
1 comments; last on Apr 25, 2013
Wed, Apr 10, 2013, 11:24 pm // Wendy HarrisThe Waterfront District Sub-Area Plan needs policies that favor adaptive reuse and preservation of historic waterfront structures
Mon, Apr 08, 2013, 12:56 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein we complain about the City and Port stealing from the public
6 comments; last on Apr 13, 2013
Sat, Apr 06, 2013, 3:59 pm // Dick ConoboyDangerous fireworks likely to continue being sold in Bellingham for this 4th of July
1 comments; last on Apr 06, 2013
Sat, Apr 06, 2013, 2:06 pm // Wendy HarrisThe city's proposed new Economic Development Chapter is based on an outdated economic theory
1 comments; last on Apr 06, 2013
Fri, Apr 05, 2013, 4:59 pm // Wendy HarrisNew slaughterhouse proposal "wishes away" current agricultural zoning restrictions.
10 comments; last on Apr 21, 2013
Thu, Apr 04, 2013, 12:48 pm // Dick ConoboyIt seems that for Apple products, you do not really own that hard drive... as a journalist recently discovered.
2 comments; last on Apr 13, 2013
Mon, Apr 01, 2013, 4:00 pm // Wendy HarrisGovernment agencies responsible for the GPT project have completed review of the scoping comments.
Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 10:36 pm // Wendy HarrisA beneficial reuse provision in the Waterfront District Sub-Area Plan would allow construction materials that are contaminated with bioaccumulative toxins.
Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 9:59 pm // Wendy HarrisThe City Planning Department has included a technical document in the waterfront proposal without disclosing important impacts.
1 comments; last on Mar 30, 2013
Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 4:01 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the Cattlemen define 'small scale' as an unlimited number of facilities of up to 50 million live pounds per year.
3 comments; last on Mar 26, 2013
Sat, Mar 23, 2013, 11:53 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the rate base gets a soaking while officials keep big-bubble toking
7 comments; last on Apr 08, 2013
Tue, Mar 19, 2013, 10:05 am // John ServaisThe Bellingham Herald article today is wrong. There is no hearing tomorrow, March 20
Sun, Mar 17, 2013, 9:42 pm // John ServaisWendy Harris writes about the proposed $8 million concrete bridge along the Bellingham waterfront - using Greenways funds to build.
3 comments; last on Mar 20, 2013
Tue, Mar 12, 2013, 11:50 am // Dick ConoboySeveral complaints to the city seem to have occasioned a postponement of a height variance hearing until a complete development proposal is submitted.
1 comments; last on Mar 12, 2013
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 7:37 am // Guest writerGuest writer Shane Roth writes in favor of the reconveyance of Lake Whatcom land back to the county.
1 comments; last on Mar 11, 2013
Fri, Mar 08, 2013, 1:54 am // Guest writerDelaine Clizbe guest writes. Whatcom County has 7,100 acres of park land, with 1,900 acres actually developed. Yet we keep adding land, and not developing our parks.
16 comments; last on Mar 12, 2013
Wed, Mar 06, 2013, 11:05 am // Dick ConoboyYou are not likely to escape the coming transfer of $billions from your pocket to the health insurance industry. You will get little, if anything, in return.
4 comments; last on Apr 05, 2013
Tue, Mar 05, 2013, 4:20 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein it's even worse when the legislation is about sausage
Sun, Mar 03, 2013, 5:17 pm // Dick ConoboyDo we need to recreate the sounds and sights of the battlefield when doing so brings pain and suffering to our combat veterans?
Sat, Mar 02, 2013, 9:03 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the ironies of life are explored and the necessities of life are contemplated
2 comments; last on Mar 12, 2013
Fri, Mar 01, 2013, 5:19 pm // Wendy HarrisA variance request pending before the City could create a loophole for developers seeking to avoid compliance with development standards.
5 comments; last on Mar 07, 2013
Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 7:39 am // Riley SweeneyRiley details upcoming merger between PeaceHealth and a much more conservative entity
1 comments; last on Feb 26, 2013
Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 7:54 pm // Dick ConoboyThere is a private sector development proposal to house approximately 600 students in the Puget Neighborhood on 11 acres to the east of Nevada St.
5 comments; last on Feb 27, 2013
Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 6:51 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein artists have to eat, too!
Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 4:01 pm // John ServaisRiley Sweeney has posted a great video clip of Sen. Doug Ericksen flouting rules and legal procedures at a Senate hearing in Olympia.
Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 3:47 pm // John ServaisThe election created a new park district with taxing power - but with NO control over Chuckanut Ridge - the 100 acre woods.
1 comments; last on Feb 23, 2013
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 10:40 pm // Wendy HarrisAn "Updated Preferred Alternative" reduces the number of waterfront jobs and expands the boundary of the waterfront district.
New Linksthe Oatmeal
Current InterestCommunity Wise Bellingham
Friends of Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
League of Women Voters
Paul Krugman - economics
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Herald Politics Blog
Bham Politics & Economics
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesBellingham Police Activity
Chuckanut Community Forest
Citizens of Bellingham
City Club of Bellingham
Community Wise Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
Futurewise - Whatcom
Jail - local mega plans
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Reduce Jet Noise
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary Building
WA Conservation Voters
Port of Bellingham
US - The White House
WA State Access
WA State Elections
WA State Legislature
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That? - climate
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good LinksAl-Jazeera online
Foreign Policy in Focus
Innocence Project, The
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Middle East Times
New American Century
Paul Krugman - economics
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Talking Points Memo
War and Piece
NwCitizen 1995 - 2007Early Northwest Citizen
Internet At Its BestTED
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Register
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph
The Crisis Papers