Monday, March 28, 2011

Stephen Harper Family Tax Cut

The first Tory policy announcement of the campaign:
The Conservatives will make the first policy announcement of the campaign Monday morning – a family tax cut that will hope to woo parents with children under 18. Stephen Harper will kick off the day at a family residence in Sidney, B.C. to sell ‘Stephen Harper’s Family Tax Cut,’ a pledge that aims to snag votes from the middle class and from new families.

Mind you, that should probably read "woo parents with children under 13". Because it's going to be at least 5 years until this is actually implemented:
The Tory camp says the tax cut will not be applied until the deficit is eliminated, which is not expected to happen until 2015-2016.

So a tax cut 5 years in the future? For those keeping track, we've had 3 elections in the last 5 years.


  • Someone needs to ask Harper if this also applies to same-sex couples with kids. If he says yes, it undermines his coded messages to the base. If no, then the backwards rightwing anti-gay hidden agenda is not so hidden anymore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 a.m.  

  • It is interesting that the banks and oil companies get their tax cut up front, while the middle class has to wait until the deficit is gone. It speaks to the priorities of the "Harper Government".

    By Blogger Greg, at 11:16 a.m.  

  • Ha, it turns out I was channeling Iggy. I need to go lie down.

    By Blogger Greg, at 11:31 a.m.  

  • At least this will still happen 40 years before we meet our emission targets.

    By Anonymous CJS, at 11:32 a.m.  

  • Grits should counter with an up-front tax cut for 2011, affordable because the Corp Tax will be not be lowered. Also say it applies to same-sex couples, as Anon posted, to flush-out the SoCon anti-gay agenda.

    By Blogger Tof KW, at 11:32 a.m.  

  • The only way we are going to avoid frequent elections is with a Conservative majority.

    The Libs cannot get one. You know it.

    As for the tax cuts. Yes it is fair to criticize the timeline but the track record of the Libs is no better and perhaps even worse.

    Universal daycare was promised 18 yrs ago. GST scrap was also a major campaign promise.More recently, healthcare was to be fixed for a generation.How did that go??

    I hope that the Libs counter with their own tax cuts for families that way we can stop arguing about whether families deserve a break but rather argue about whose plan is better or more believable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:00 p.m.  

  • One other crucial reminder: Harper was held in contempt by the House of Commons for failing to provide budgetary costing for his most expensive platforms/programs, ie. prisons, planes and CEO private train cars...
    This faux 'policy' presents another opportunity for the Liberals to grill Harper for being a 'big spender' without being honest on the cost. Trot out all the quotes and estimates from Harper-appointed economic guy Kevin Page.
    Then we've got to start costing our own proposals for the public.

    By Blogger rockfish, at 12:01 p.m.  

  • For what it's worth, I agree the Libs should offer a family tax cut up front. Then contrast Harper's big business tax cut with their personal tax cut, as mentioned above.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:12 p.m.  

  • This was a far more credible dig when it was directed at Harper's 2050 c02 targets. Is the criticism really that it is improper for governments to plan things 5 years in the future (a date that would come within the purview of a term in office)? I suppose at least Ignatieff didn't use the Stalin connection.

    That we have had 3 elections in the past 5 years isn't a very effective point either because A. the same government was returned in the two elections that have occurred and B. it undergirds Harper's argument that majority governments are necessary in order to have serious long-term planning.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 12:17 p.m.  

  • .."Grits should counter with an up-front tax cut for 2011, affordable because the Corp Tax will be not be lowered. Also say it applies to same-sex couples, as Anon posted, to flush-out the SoCon anti-gay agenda."

    Nice thought.

    Problem is, most economic models suggest that a corporate tax cut will actually INCREASE government revenue.

    Read today's Globe and Mail in the Report on Business to understand what Mr. Ignatieff doesn't.

    Don't get me wrong.

    I'm not overly impressed with building jails we don't need, nor am I impressed with typical effort to buy votes in the family tax cut announcement that MIGHT come someday.

    But the effort to equate BUSINESS=bad PEOPLE=good is a weak effort that may not resonate in Southern Ontario where throngs of unemployed have seen what happens when businesses don't succeed.

    By Blogger Robert G. Harvie, Q.C., at 12:23 p.m.  

  • Oh.

    And for those keeping score.

    The Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear that it is illegal in Canada to offer benefits to heterosexual couples, but not offer the same benefits to same-sex couples.

    But good effort on the gay-bating.

    By Blogger Robert G. Harvie, Q.C., at 12:25 p.m.  

  • I happened to notice former PM Jean Chretien finance minister John Manley talking about the corporate tax cuts, that the Liberals have already voted in favor of, show continued increasing revenues to the fedral governemnt. Why are the Liberals against jobs and investment in Canada?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 p.m.  

  • It is like waiting for the promised change/get-rid-of GST. I call it the "Grits Support Tories" tax, because they loved it so much the LIEberals kept it.

    At the time it sure sounded like a good promise, yet not one of the promises were kept in their RED Book - nor any Red Book promises in consecitive Red Books.

    By Anonymous Clown Party, at 12:54 p.m.  

  • What a weasel announcement.

    promising a tax cut that he can't deliver on for at least 5 years and even then only if everything goes according to plan. "Hey Canadain families, vote for me and I'll give you a tax break... maybe... in 5 years... maybe"


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:17 p.m.  

  • 1. Greg, With Ignatieff's entitlemet spending promotion and his parroting of deliberately disengenuous NDP talking points, it sure looks like the Liberals have decided strive for gains at the expense of the NDP. But this stratgy will bleed even more votes on the right. Not hard to do the calculus on who the net beneficiary is going to be.

    2. Rockfish, is it possible this whole 'contempt for parliament' thing is going no further as a campaign issue (which is nowhere) because everybody but for party loyalists understand this was a pure political maneuver by the opposition containing as much attendant lack of integrity and righteousness as the transgressions on which they were rendering judgment?

    By Blogger Patrick, at 1:18 p.m.  

  • "Grits should counter with an up-front tax cut for 2011, affordable because the Corp Tax will be not be lowered. Also say it applies to same-sex couples, as Anon posted, to flush-out the SoCon anti-gay agenda."

    Umm, the corporate tax rate has already been lowered, as of Jan 1. I realize that this isn't the party line (because the Liberals couldn't have been bothered to show up to vote against that tax cut when it was enacted 4 years ago, maybe they don't know about it), but that's a fact. For Iggy to keep his promise, he'll have to increase the corporate tax rate.

    Also, Iggy's already spent the revenue that he thinks he's going to derive from increasing the corporate tax rate (I say "thinks", because no non-partisan economics thinks that it will derive anywhere close the amount of revenue that he thinks he'll get). He doesn't have the room to cut individual taxes, frankly he probably can't even finance his current spending promises.

    Say what you want about the Tory proposal, but it's a heck of a lot more credible that what you're proposing.

    By Blogger Carl, at 1:22 p.m.  

  • Patrick, the Conservative "promise" is so conditional it lacks credibility. Why do families have to wait maybe 5 years (minimum) for a break, whereas the banks and corporations get their cash up front?

    By Blogger Greg, at 1:26 p.m.  

  • Greg, unfortunately for foes of the CPC, they're the only party currently with any credibility when it comes to cutting taxes.

    But yes, I'm not one for promises occuring in five years. And I wouldn't argue with those who roll their eyes at this pledge. However, you're surely smart enough to be aware the sophistry contained in the remainder of your argument stimulates the same ocular response.

    By Blogger Patrick, at 2:07 p.m.  

  • There's a solid impolitic answer to your question, Greg - its good policy. Corporate profits go in one of four broad directions: higher dividends (which help attract more capital), plant expansion, R&D, and higher wages. I don't generally buy into the Laffer curve argument, but it seems to hold fairly well for corporate taxes - which are essentially a tax on jobs and productivity.

    The corporate tax rate was cut by a third between 2000 and 2008, yet revenues soared from 23 billion to 40 billion. They dropped, obviously, during the recession, but are still well above 30 billion dollars - and that doesn't include the impact of corporate tax cuts on other tax revenues.

    The same does not hold for sales or income tax cuts, at least at the relatively low levels that currently prevail (maybe if the top marginal rate was 90% you could encourage tax evaders to file with cuts). If you cut the income tax or the GST, you will get modest increases in consumption that amount to very little in the grand scheme of things.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 2:09 p.m.  

  • Long term planning is all good, but do we really need long term planning for tax cuts? From a policy perspective, there's no benefit in announcing this now, as supposed to 3 years from now, when we have a better idea of the economic outlook.

    It's somewhat valid in that it tells us something about Harper's priorities - tax cuts when we can afford it.

    But it's hard to treat this as a firm policy position when we don't even know WHEN they'll be in a position to do it. Furthermore, it seems unlikely Harper will even be PM in 5 years.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:23 p.m.  

  • Unless Jack and Duceppe agree after they form a coalition of losers,
    Lib campaign promises are simply meaningless.

    Not only that, it is hard to say who would be leading the coalition of losers.
    The recent 'no one belives Ig' poll also polled on who would best lead the coalition, it was Layton with a 3 point advantage.

    I'm trying to imagine Ig as PM and Dippers in cabinet, and 65+ Quebec MPs calling the shots,
    without hurling my eggs and toast.
    It's Dec 2008 all over again.

    Who will toss Ig under the bus so as to become PM:
    Bob Rae? Jack Layton? Thomas Mulcair?

    By Blogger wilson, at 2:48 p.m.  

  • Tax cuts?

    Tax cuts???

    Our debt is over half a trillion dollars, and goes up by a thousand bucks every second.

    Tax cuts?

    How about some SPENDING CUTS!!

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 3:07 p.m.  

  • "Long term planning is all good, but do we really need long term planning for tax cuts?"

    Au contraire. Markets (and individuals) respond to expectations of the future. Clarifying what the tax/spending mix will look like after the return to surpluses is hardly inconsequential. Elections are a fairly appropriate time in which to talk about issues that will come up in the next term.

    A stronger argument against tax splitting would emphasize its regressive nature. Compare any single earner family to a double earner family with the same income, and the latter is poorer. Not poorer in cash, but in well-being, because none of the domestic production of the single-earner family is taxed.

    The real gap between the rich and the poor today is not in their incomes, but in how far they have to work in order to get a given income. That is why running in marathons, or being a gourmet cook are increasingly becoming status symbols - they say, I'm so well-off I can earn a decent living AND do all this cool stuff (any old plumber can buy a BMW).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 4:35 p.m.  

  • "From a policy perspective, there's no benefit in announcing this now"

    nonsense, Grit:

    soon as this election's done, I plan to sow my seed wildly and reap the fiscal benefits!

    By Anonymous Quebec Harpermaniac, at 7:23 p.m.  

  • Have you read who'll benefit from this futurama 'supposed' tax cut?
    Ward and June Cleaver and maybe Bruce Carlson and the future ms. carlson...

    By Blogger rockfish, at 12:37 a.m.  

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