Taxes are Essential but Justin's Race To The Bottom is a Rip-Off for 99% of Canadians!

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
1) If someone is not paying their fair share that is a fact.

No, "fair share" is actually a judgement.  It could be reasonable or it could not be reasonable, but what you say is like saying "18 is too young to drink; that's a fact".

Quote:
2) You show me EXACTLY where Broadbent says people using loopholes legally are cheating. He doesn't.

Why are we talking about those "people" at all?

Quote:
The issue is if speed kills and the speed people are going at is legal  you should get to call it -- even if it might make people uncomfortable.

But we don't talk about the speed limit, we talk about the people who choose to drive it.  We call 100kph a "loophole" that allows people to drive 100kph and then we point out that they don't need to drive 100kph, and could instead voluntarily drive 80kph.

Quote:
"Tax avoidance and evasion by the rich ultimately undermines democracy: it starves social programs and public services, increases after tax income and wealth inequality, and further concentrates economic resources in the hands of a few. The overall message to a majority of Canadians is that the rules of the economic game are rigged against them."

"Tax avoidance" is analogous to "someone who drives the whole speed limit".  Why is there such interest in someone who does what the law allows?  Again, if the speed limit is the cause of all the highway accidents (or our current tax laws are the cause of underfunded social programs) why talk at all, ever, about "those people" rather than the Highway Traffic laws or CRA laws that make it perfectly legal to do so?

As soon as he mentions "tax avoidance by the rich" he's talking about people and their sins, not laws and their shortcomings.

Quote:
The rich are not paying their fair share. I am sorry if this comes across as blame and somehow offends you.

I'm not offended.  But tell me, is this your judgement?  Or is this "just a fact"?

 

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
1) If someone is not paying their fair share that is a fact.

No, "fair share" is actually a judgement.  It could be reasonable or it could not be reasonable, but what you say is like saying "18 is too young to drink; that's a fact".

Quote:
2) You show me EXACTLY where Broadbent says people using loopholes legally are cheating. He doesn't.

Why are we talking about those "people" at all?

Quote:
The issue is if speed kills and the speed people are going at is legal  you should get to call it -- even if it might make people uncomfortable.

But we don't talk about the speed limit, we talk about the people who choose to drive it.  We call 100kph a "loophole" that allows people to drive 100kph and then we point out that they don't need to drive 100kph, and could instead voluntarily drive 80kph.

Quote:
"Tax avoidance and evasion by the rich ultimately undermines democracy: it starves social programs and public services, increases after tax income and wealth inequality, and further concentrates economic resources in the hands of a few. The overall message to a majority of Canadians is that the rules of the economic game are rigged against them."

"Tax avoidance" is analogous to "someone who drives the whole speed limit".  Why is there such interest in someone who does what the law allows?  Again, if the speed limit is the cause of all the highway accidents (or our current tax laws are the cause of underfunded social programs) why talk at all, ever, about "those people" rather than the Highway Traffic laws or CRA laws that make it perfectly legal to do so?

As soon as he mentions "tax avoidance by the rich" he's talking about people and their sins, not laws and their shortcomings.

Quote:
The rich are not paying their fair share. I am sorry if this comes across as blame and somehow offends you.

I'm not offended.  But tell me, is this your judgement?  Or is this "just a fact"?

 

Seems like the real question is if you are evading the point or avoiding it. You raised this.

Now, we unpacked Broadbent's collossal failure in your eyes -- a judgment -- of a result, not a behaviour -- that what the rich are not paying their fair share. Even though he clearly is blaming the government this is some kind of crime that you have crusaded on here for half a day.

After all the bullshit you hvae come down to how horrible Broadbent was to say that rich people are not paying their fair share Boo hoo. Waaaaaaaa. Poor rich people be accused of not paying their fair share.  Bad Broadbent who said that this is the fault of government becuase in so doing he offending some rich people. Awwwwww. So sad. (How many read the article and got offended, I wonder. Nevermind, that offence might have slowed down their counting of their money or something. We have to think about the feelings of the 1% after all.)

The rest of your post is not worth unpacking with that start.

Let's just make it a babble rule that we should not offend the rich by saying they are not paying their fair share and that we should go after anyone that says otherwise. While we are at it, should we change the site title to Freedominion -- oh, since that is taken, at least some other name that indicate that our first concern would be not insulting the rich. Now let's be clear we can slam a person like Broadbent by name but let us not insult the sensibilities of those who might think of themselves as rich and in that identity find some offence at the idea that someone thinks they are not paying their share. Wow, the horror!

Do you read the stuff you write?

WWWTT

Ok I read some comments here since last posting in this thread so I’ll try to jump in with where’s this thread is heading. 

Heres my take. We pay taxes on the income we earn because that income is a benefit from the overall system we earned our money from. Therefore, and obviously we have to return a percentage to the overall system to keep the system healthy so we can continue to benefit the system. The more you benefit the more you have to return.  Very simple. 

But now there are programs out there to in courage changes to our system. Here’s an example. I applied to get a 10KW solar panel generation system installed on my house through the microfit program in Ontario. IEOS (or something like that) buys power back and I can get my HST back and apparently I can also avoid paying income tax on the electricity that is purchased from me. Now obviously I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity I can get! And the government wants me to! Or should want people to take advantage so that more people invest more of their own money into the system because the system will greatly benefit! And in turn people will benefit.  I believe Ed Broadbent is trying to say that people/corporations/groups etc etc that benefit more than what they are supposed to return to the system that they have benefited from are fucking everybody up the you know where! Because the programs they are taking advantage are nothing more than a bunch of bull shit scams that do next to nothing to return benefit to the system they benefited from. 

WWWTT

Oh ya and by the way I was approved go the microfit program and panels are going up next week pending weather. Real excited about this! Can’t wait till I’m hooked up to the grid!!!! 

Sean in Ottawa

WWWTT wrote:

Oh ya and by the way I was approved go the microfit program and panels are going up next week pending weather. Real excited about this! Can’t wait till I’m hooked up to the grid!!!! 

I hope your panels work out well and give you lots of low cost clean power and some cash doing it.

Rev Pesky

Said by Sean in Ottawa:

They are not paying their fair share through both legal and illegal means. Sorry again. The government is responsible for both failing to uphold the system and for keeping it unfair.

There are plenty of poor people who cheat on their taxes as well, so that at least is completely different than those who use legal methods to pay less tax.

​But there's another problem here. That is, what needs to be done to end the cheating is completely different than what needs to be done to get the wealthy to pay  more tax. You recognize that yourself as per the last part of the above statement. Thus, the solutions to those two different problems are different.

And your argument about Broadbent not conflating the two problems is just sophistry.

In fact the whole article is useless because it doesn't clearly state the point, and offers no solutions to the problem. He could have condensed the article into:

1. The wealthy don't pay enough taxes.

2. The wealthy should pay more taxes.

3. The Liberals are responsible for this.

4. There is no number 4.

Now, why does it make a difference to know whether someone's  talking about the top 1% of income earners or the top 1% of wealth owners?

If you make $250,000 a year in this country, you are in the top 1% of income earners. If you saved 100% of that salary for 10 years, you could buy a pretty decent house in Vancouver. To me that just doesn't sound like real wealth, even though I've never come close to that yearly income.

On the other hand, according to a Credit Suisse report, the top 1% of wealth owners in the world have 50% of the total wealth of the world. That's real wealth.

I don't know what the exact figure is for the top Canadian 1%, but I suspect it's not too far off that number.

That why, when one is speaking of the '1%' you have to be clear about who you're talking about. If it's income earners, it could be your dentist or doctor. If it's wealth owners, it's people like the Weston's, the Thompson's etc.

It is those wealth owners that are taking the most advantage of tax law. Cheaters, on the other hand, live at all levels of the tax system.

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

Said by Sean in Ottawa:

They are not paying their fair share through both legal and illegal means. Sorry again. The government is responsible for both failing to uphold the system and for keeping it unfair.

There are plenty of poor people who cheat on their taxes as well, so that at least is completely different than those who use legal methods to pay less tax.

​But there's another problem here. That is, what needs to be done to end the cheating is completely different than what needs to be done to get the wealthy to pay  more tax. You recognize that yourself as per the last part of the above statement. Thus, the solutions to those two different problems are different.

And your argument about Broadbent not conflating the two problems is just sophistry.

In fact the whole article is useless because it doesn't clearly state the point, and offers no solutions to the problem. He could have condensed the article into:

1. The wealthy don't pay enough taxes.

2. The wealthy should pay more taxes.

3. The Liberals are responsible for this.

4. There is no number 4.

Now, why does it make a difference to know whether someone's  talking about the top 1% of income earners or the top 1% of wealth owners?

If you make $250,000 a year in this country, you are in the top 1% of income earners. If you saved 100% of that salary for 10 years, you could buy a pretty decent house in Vancouver. To me that just doesn't sound like real wealth, even though I've never come close to that yearly income.

On the other hand, according to a Credit Suisse report, the top 1% of wealth owners in the world have 50% of the total wealth of the world. That's real wealth.

I don't know what the exact figure is for the top Canadian 1%, but I suspect it's not too far off that number.

That why, when one is speaking of the '1%' you have to be clear about who you're talking about. If it's income earners, it could be your dentist or doctor. If it's wealth owners, it's people like the Weston's, the Thompson's etc.

It is those wealth owners that are taking the most advantage of tax law. Cheaters, on the other hand, live at all levels of the tax system.

 

 

You repeat the same stuff over and over again -- both of you. But you have nothing but blather to back it up. He does not even include both issues in the same paragraph.

He connects the two things by effects rather than cause or behaviour, and no, it is not the solutions to the worlds problems in a few hundred words but the link is the two promises made by the Liberals to close loopholes and to go after tax cheats. Neither is kept and both contribute to the same problem.

I am glad that you think that saving $250,000 a year for you is not real wealth. I think you should get out more becuase it certainly is. It is real wealth to 99.x% of the population who have less and in most cases much less. To  say that saving $250,000 a year is not much is breathtaking when you consider that the median income is actually only one sixth of that and the amount people can save is perhaps 1/1000 of that. The fact that this might be the cost of just a house in Vancouver is a sign that most cannot afford such a house and ta problem there. Most places in Canada you can get a nice house for 10% of that. Regardless 2.5 million is a lot of coin. Most Canadians -- in fact more than 99% of them -- have nothing like that.

But thank you for providing proof that even here on babble we can have a spirited defence of the wealthy, how they are really not that well off and how we must look after their feelings. If that is the message here then this is a whole new place.

Now I agreed Broadbent did not go near far enough as I said previously -- but it is ridiculous to accuse him of having done something wrong by insulting the poor rich people who only make $250,000 a year (or even more so they can save that much) and they might be insulted that they could be accused of not paying their fair share.

Yes, I am aware that there are some even richer in terms of their wealth than those who only (poor them) make $250,000 in a year. But this poor destitute lot at a quarter million a year are actually well within the top 1% of earners so do not feel sorry too much for them.

I am stunned that we could have such a conversation here.

 

cco

It's the perennial Wall Street Journal argument laying out all the expenses (housing, private schools, Princeton tuition, a winter home in the Bahamas) the rich have, and coming to the conclusion that $1 million a year really isn't that much after you spend it all.

Rev Pesky

From Sean in Ottawa:

I am glad that you think that saving $250,000 a year for you is not real wealth.

​What I said was that if someone saved 100% of their salary...

It should be obvious that no one can save 100% of their salary. At least I would have thought it was obvious. Apparently not.

I will reiterate that I don't think $250,000 a year is big money. I've never made that much, or even anywhere near it, but if you received $250k a year for a hundred years, and saved it all, you'd have $25 million. That isn't even an hors d'oeuvre at the table of the wealthy.

So, yeah, make them pay tax, but they aren't the problem. The problem is the 1% of wealth owners who often pay very little in the way of tax because only income is taxed, not assets. Even a income level tax on capital gains isn't going to do much because capital gains only exist when someone cashes in.

Rev Pesky

cco said:

It's the perennial Wall Street Journal argument laying out all the expenses (housing, private schools, Princeton tuition, a winter home in the Bahamas) the rich have, and coming to the conclusion that $1 million a year really isn't that much after you spend it all.

To begin with, I didn't say a million a year. I said $250,000 because that puts you into the top 1% of earners in this country.

In any case, those making that amount are paying taxes, possibly not enough, but then again, they are only 1% of earners, so raising their taxes is not going to change government revenue by much. And honestly, I just can't work up a lot of righteous anger over people who make $250k a year.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

I agree with Rev Pesky that, as Piketty demonstrates, just raising income taxes on the rich will never be enough to reduce wealth inequality, or even to prevent it from increasing. For that, a progressive wealth tax will be required in addition to progressive income taxes.

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

From Sean in Ottawa:

I am glad that you think that saving $250,000 a year for you is not real wealth.

​What I said was that if someone saved 100% of their salary...

It should be obvious that no one can save 100% of their salary. At least I would have thought it was obvious. Apparently not.

I will reiterate that I don't think $250,000 a year is big money. I've never made that much, or even anywhere near it, but if you received $250k a year for a hundred years, and saved it all, you'd have $25 million. That isn't even an hors d'oeuvre at the table of the wealthy.

So, yeah, make them pay tax, but they aren't the problem. The problem is the 1% of wealth owners who often pay very little in the way of tax because only income is taxed, not assets. Even a income level tax on capital gains isn't going to do much because capital gains only exist when someone cashes in.

Here. Let me introduce you to the real world:

Income:

http://www.moneysense.ca/save/financial-planning/the-all-canadian-wealth...

Unattached individuals in the real middle earning $23,357-36,859 and families of two or more $61,929-88,074

The top 20% at that time (2011 but incomes have not moved that significantly since, and where they have moved has been within the already rich group not people joining it) Individual $55,499 and up and $125,010 and up.

As you ponder this real world where the group you say do not make that much only earn 5 times the floor of the top 20%, give your head a shake.

It is not grossly unfair to consider a line at the 1% and above. Broadbent is not proposing flat treatment from there and up -- he is proposing attention to that entire group.

Wealth:

As of 2015 a millionaire, 1-5 million included 298,000 people, less than 1%. The population and the assets have grown so it could be argued that the 1% in wealth is now 2 million. These are the people Broadbent is speaking of. If you are worried about those poor two percenters perhaps scraping by with only a million today, rest assured that the 1% Broadbent is speaking of have appreciated their net worth and they made money even as a few managed to get up there due to their Vancouver property.

Now let's try to open your eys a little more: 2.5 million live in Vancouver. They do not all own real estate in the millions. The numbers owning a home in Vancouver are less than 50% and this includes those with houses and waterfront condos but also the lowest things that they could afford that are neither of those. The median price for a Condo there is well below a million ($622,392) and Coquitlam ($471,749). Owning one of these -- with a mortgage -- does not automatically suggest that you have a net worth of $2.5 million dollars. Many who live in the wealthiest real estate of Vancouver do so becuase they are wealthy rather than have becoem wealthy becuase they live there. Yes real estate is very, very high there but not to the point that it overturns the meaning of what it means to have wealth in the top 1%.

The extremely rich 5-30 million is a small 0.01 percent of the population and above them the ultra rich with over 30 million is another 0.01%.

http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/high-net-worth/are-yo...

Now Broadbent is speaking about the 1% -- and let's get perspective again -- these are the people earnign more than 99% of the rest. There is simply no argument you can make that this is not much when it is by definition more then 99% of others.

As for the Vancouver tangent. People who bought or managed to keep a home in Vancouver since 2015 were likely wealthy in 2015 (the property appreciated enough to put them in that class by 2015). In other words those who have high priced Vancouver property now are included in the statistics for wealthy from 2015 and few new people have made a bucket from sub $million status in that city since 2015 -- when you consider the statistical balance of all Canada.

So Broadbent mentions the 1% who are only richer than 99% of other Canadians (poor them). The extremely rich with assets of over $5 million of the population are not a target to be ignored but they represent 2% of the 1% or in other words to balance you they would have to own 50 x the wealth as a group to make up for it.

Now here is where your logic completely blows itself apart. Broadbent criticizes the loopholes AND the offshore accounts. The proportion of money in offshore accounts is likely higher the more money you have since you cannot stash your Vancouver house in an offshore account and your Vancouver house is not an example of income tax avoided or evaded. Your entire point is a red herring. The loopholes, avoidance and evasion are for the legitimately wealthy people and are not of use to the person who sat on a house that grew in value. The group you claim is that significant are not even in the group Broadbent is targeting.

So we are left with your ridiculous argument earning or having more than 99% of other Canadians is not a big deal. Wealth is relative and this is a relative number.

Sean in Ottawa

Michael Moriarity wrote:

I agree with Rev Pesky that, as Piketty demonstrates, just raising income taxes on the rich will never be enough to reduce wealth inequality, or even to prevent it from increasing. For that, a progressive wealth tax will be required in addition to progressive income taxes.

This is quite true but we cannot divorce the notions of income and wealth from each other when it comes to tax without creating a greater ability to avoid a reasonable share of tax being paid. Income, viewed broadly, is how wealth comes to a person.

Money can be earned elsewhere and brought in creating a distortion or earned here and preserved elsewhere. If you tax income progressively, as Piketty proposes (up to the political limit he claims exists), AND you tax wealth then wealth brought into the country is not a distorting factor.

Piketty's concerns about an oligarchy being formed are already realized. The transmission of wealth from one generation to the next is significant. The idea of equality of citizenship at birth is notional and not a practical reality. Gifts and inheritences, to the individual are income, even if unearned. We would not consider this form of income equal to earned income but should not ignore it completely either. A modest tax on transfers through large gifts and inheritences with some exceptions and a basic floor is necessary to prevent an oligarchy and increased concentration of capital -- something that many have argued is damaging to an economy as well as being unfair.

All this does not mean we should ignore income or consider a quarter million a year to be unworthy of consideration. Such a suggestion is folly.

Assume a life without luxury costs a person something in the order of $35,000 (cost of living varies by location but the choice of location is part luxury and part necessity). A person making $45,000, about the median income for this country, therefore has $10,000 in discretionary income. They may use this for trips, pleasure, upgrades to their housing and food, having a family etc. a person earning $250,000 has $215,000 or more than 20 times the discretionary capital. To minimize this difference is to ignore the real gap in available income.

I considered all of these numbers before tax. While tax rates rise with income, so does the ability to use loopholes such that many have argued that the percentage of tax paid, when all is considered, does not rise much after accounting for the basic exemption.

To dissmiss the top 1% as insignificant is a failure of math. 

Income:

It is estimated that the top 1% earn close to 20% of household income earned. When you consider the basic exemption, the most basic cost of living that falls below taxation this rises much higher. A person earning $30,000 has half of their income not considered as it is too low to pay tax. Excluding income falling below the low tax cut-off, the top 1% earn over 1/3 of all income. The removal of substantial amounts of this income from the reach of the CRA, through loopholes or illegal means, is hugely significant and is more than the difference between well-funded social programs  and balanced budgets and deficits and poorly funded programs. If you consider the top 10% of earners, they earn more than half the income. Concentration is a thing so you cannot ignore the top as not significant when it comes to numbers of people.

 

Wealth:

It is estimated that the wealthiest 1% will soon have more than 50% of the total wealth. This is critical considering how little tax is paid on transfers such as inheritence and gifts as well as the lack of a wealth tax. Offshore accounts only further contribute to this problem.

Policies do not have to treat all income and wealth the same and they do not have to tax at the same rate all levels of these. Exemptions at the bottom can exist for all income and wealth. However, if we want a sustainable and fair system policies have to consider and cover wealth and all transfers in the calculations.

Broadbent was arguing that the government has failed to address this in any meaningful way while the situation is growing more urgent.

The urgency here is compounded by the aging population, increases in non-taxable wealth transfers and a new smaller inherited generation coming up so far ahead of others of the same generation at the start of their lives. This means that the slope towards concentration may well become exponential.

At the end of the day, this does not entirely benefit the wealthy. What they gain in a percentage of wealth they lose in the health of the economy and its ability to be sustained in the concentrated form. Business opportunites dwindle as fewer customers can participate. They also lose in the creation of a less stable society with more desperate people in it, aware that their economic lot in life is largely predetermined and very unfair. So called class mobility is something that has been sacrificed to the idea that the greatest economic priority is to make the rich richer and hope for crumbs to fall off the table.

Sean in Ottawa

While I disagree with other posters here, I am happy that they are engaged in this conversation becuase I think this is of critical importance and more than much of the political posturing of the day to day stuff we often see.

cco
Sean in Ottawa

Interesting article. I think wealth is relative. When speaking about fairness in a community paying taxes the wealth is relative to that community which is why I found the conversation so strange given that we are talking about an exclusive set of the top 1%  -- by definition.

A percentile as definition adjusts to changing wealth rates in the overall population and is better than a focus on a particular income level alone. If $250,000 were no longer in the elite levels, then they would no longer be in the top 1%.

One way wealth is relative is that people socialize mostly in their economic strata which is not hard to predict. Unfortunately people assume that what they see as the norm is the norm for the entire population. There is a certain group struggling to own real estate in Vancouver and many do not understand that the vast majority of Canadians are not even in that universe.

People make statements about what makes sense to them not realizing that what is normal and possible or a struggle is not the same for others in different economic situations.

The media were very unhelpful earlier this year when they confused household and individual income to the point that they reported incomes in general at double what they really are for an individual. If you ask most Canadians today what the median income is, I think the average would be wrong by a factor of 100%. This is tragic for policy since it is the people who are wealthier, and do not know it, who are behind much of the policy we have.

When it comes to policits, I think most in the range helped by the Liberals think that theya re in the middle -- even the ones in the top 10%. They have no clue what people are actually making because they do not think about it.

The same is true about presumptions about minimum wage. Most people who work 35 hours a week use that math to calculate the take home pay of people on minimum wage. They do not even think about the fact that many earning minimum wage are working involuntary part time -- and many cannot do anything about it due to changing schedules. This means those people are living on perhaps half of what full time workers imagine they are earning.

The false assumptions of many in socisety is a real obstacle to creating better tax, employment and social policies. This place is a reflection of likely the top ten percent in knowledge and awareness and we see this knowledge is often faulty. Imagine what the other ninety percent think the reality is for their fellow Canadians.

Rev Pesky

From Sean in Ottawa:

Here. Let me introduce you to the real world:

How about if I introduce to my real world. I have a yearly income of about $19,000. That would put me pretty close to the bottom of all income earners. So I don't need you to tell me about the 'real world'.

​Yet I still can't get excited about someone who makes 250k/year.

As it stands now, the top 1% of income earners pay about 22% of the total income tax. How much do suggest they should pay? Even if you doubled their tax payments, that wouldn't make that big of a dent in the overall budget.

But that's income earners, not wealth owners.

If you put a 2% tax on assets (above $5 million, so granny wouldn't have to sell the family home), you could pay the whole federal budget without any income or corporate tax. 

Another interesting thing about assets, is you can't hide them like income (or capital gains, for that matter). Everything on this planet is owned by somebody. There is on such thing as an asset that isn't owned, so everybody fills out a balance sheet, and pays a flat tax on their assets above $5 million.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Yes, in the same sentence.  The conflation comes in when he ascribes the same blame to a rich man who misreports income (a crime) and the rich man who pays as little in taxes as tax law demands (not a crime).

But it is the wealthy who have corrupted government to ensure the tax system  (and the financial system) favored them but that isn't enough so they also hide their wealth off-shore.

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

From Sean in Ottawa:

Here. Let me introduce you to the real world:

How about if I introduce to my real world. I have a yearly income of about $19,000. That would put me pretty close to the bottom of all income earners. So I don't need you to tell me about the 'real world'.

​Yet I still can't get excited about someone who makes 250k/year.

As it stands now, the top 1% of income earners pay about 22% of the total income tax. How much do suggest they should pay? Even if you doubled their tax payments, that wouldn't make that big of a dent in the overall budget.

But that's income earners, not wealth owners.

If you put a 2% tax on assets (above $5 million, so granny wouldn't have to sell the family home), you could pay the whole federal budget without any income or corporate tax. 

Another interesting thing about assets, is you can't hide them like income (or capital gains, for that matter). Everything on this planet is owned by somebody. There is on such thing as an asset that isn't owned, so everybody fills out a balance sheet, and pays a flat tax on their assets above $5 million.

The top 1% earn 11% of the total declared income earned. Meaning the amount they pay in tax is only double the average. This might sound normal but consider the fact that basic personal, age and dependent exemptions run at 25-50% of the incomes of the median wage. This means that the system is not nearly as progressive as it sounds. The lower income levels are crowded meaning these exemptions add up to a lot of people. Given this, the tax paid by the highest filers should be more than double if the progression did not stop at the most basic of exemptions. The top ten percent make something close to 40% of income earned in Canada. the Liberal middle class tax cut went mostly to them.

Now let's look at your contradiction. You say top 1% pays 22% of tax paid -- then you say if you double that it would not make a dent: let's see 22% x 2 = 44%. Looks like a huge amount. I am not proposing that but your point collapses on first analysis. The same can be said about the top ten percent. they pay over half the taxes and earn nealry 40% of the income. Over half the taxes. This means the dent would cover the entire tax bills for the other 90% plus wipe out the deficit. Still think these numbers don't mean much?

Now we have not addressed either business income, wealth or inheritences. I do not suggest a doubling and do suggest addressing all of these. But it is wrong to say this money is insignificant. It is also wrong to compare percentage of population to percentage of taxes paid without looking at the percentage of income earned. Given the issue Broadbent raised was in the context of hidden income and wealth you have to look at that as well since the govenrment is ignoring all of it.

Now, let's ge to the straw man argument about assets: nobody suggested not to include them -- not me and not Broadbent. However, the idea that you cannot hide assets is laughable since that is the news story that provoked the entire conversation including Broadbent's article. there are lots of ways to hide assets. Really, you should look that up.

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

From Sean in Ottawa:

Here. Let me introduce you to the real world:

How about if I introduce to my real world. I have a yearly income of about $19,000. That would put me pretty close to the bottom of all income earners. So I don't need you to tell me about the 'real world'.

​Yet I still can't get excited about someone who makes 250k/year.

As it stands now, the top 1% of income earners pay about 22% of the total income tax. How much do suggest they should pay? Even if you doubled their tax payments, that wouldn't make that big of a dent in the overall budget.

But that's income earners, not wealth owners.

If you put a 2% tax on assets (above $5 million, so granny wouldn't have to sell the family home), you could pay the whole federal budget without any income or corporate tax. 

Another interesting thing about assets, is you can't hide them like income (or capital gains, for that matter). Everything on this planet is owned by somebody. There is on such thing as an asset that isn't owned, so everybody fills out a balance sheet, and pays a flat tax on their assets above $5 million.

Since you posted your income -- let's look at that as well. Take the income you have and subtract a minimal cost of living. How much is left? Now do the same with earnings of $50,000, $250,000 etc. There is a good reason we do not tax right to the bottom and the tax system does not count that as taxable income.

Consider it like a business for a moment. The cost of living is an expense -- anything above that call it profit. The top 1% pays more on overall income than they earn but they do not pay more on the profit margin of that -- the amount beyond a cost of living.

If you set the cost of living at say -- the living wage and tax above that you will see just how progressive we are when we consider all income but how regressive we are when you consider income above the cost of living.

This is not just a point of volume as you tried to limit it to that -- it is also a point of principle.

It is also true that the countries with more progressive earnings taxes also have lower gaps in wealth. So some of this must be cumulative.

And what we are talking about is not that unusual in terms of increases.

Also, while you consider the percentages of taxes paid also consider the benefits. Many studies have shown that the benefits from government spending also flow to the top. This makes sense since some of that is investment in things you have to earn enough money to benefit from (think airports for a moment), or things that your benefit is relative to your earning (think security and infrastructure).

Also consider the greaer good arguments -- money in the hands of people who will spend it flow throught hte economy more than in the hands of a person who does not need to spend it. That is the trickle up theory which despite propaganda is more valid than the trickle down theory.

Also think about other taxes: many others are flat but a few are pear-shaped like real estate taxes. In Ontario, real estate mill rates are higher for apartment buildings (commercial) than for private homes (residential) based on value even though that it is easier to service apartment buildings. The cool thing is that most renters have no idea the amount of real estate tax is included in their rent so they have no idea how much they pay. Some get a bit of this back at the very low end but the middle who are still renting get nothing back and pay more for the value they have.

Rev Pesky

From Sean in Ottawa:

Now let's look at your contradiction. You say top 1% pays 22% of tax paid -- then you say if you double that it would not make a dent: let's see 22% x 2 = 44%. Looks like a huge amount.

And if all the taxes collected were income taxes, that would be a huge amount. But the 22% refers to the total income taxes collected, not total taxes collected. In fact, doubling the taxes collected would only give you about another 13% of the federal budget. 

But that would require a doubling of that tax rate. Is that what you're suggesting?

Right now the rate in that category is 33% of income. That would move to 66%, while the next category down pays about 22%. That would mean that someone making 200k/year would have a higher take home than someone making 250k/year. Are you trying to convince me this makes sense?

Rev Pesky

From Sean in Ottawa:

Consider it like a business for a moment. The cost of living is an expense -- anything above that call it profit. The top 1% pays more on overall income than they earn but they do not pay more on the profit margin of that -- the amount beyond a cost of living.

Fine. Give me a number. Tell me how much the top income earners should be paying.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
That would mean that someone making 200k/year would have a higher take home than someone making 250k/year. Are you trying to convince me this makes sense?

How is that possible with a marginal tax rate? 

If your neighbour's gross income is 200k and yours is 250k you'll still pay the same taxes on your first 200k as your neighbour does, and your taxes on the remaining 50k are not going to be 100% (or >100%, which they would need to be if you were to be left with LESS then your neighbour after taxes).

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

 

Right now the rate in that category is 33% of income. That would move to 66%, while the next category down pays about 22%. That would mean that someone making 200k/year would have a higher take home than someone making 250k/year. Are you trying to convince me this makes sense?

You seem not to understand how taxes are collected on income. It just does not work that way.

NorthReport

Norway again, eh!

What’s MADD’s position on fines based on income so that we have fairness in our system?

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/11/17/norwegian-billionaire-tobacco-heiress-given-38750-drunk-driving-fine.html

 

Rev Pesky

I'll reiterate. 

Fine. Give me a number. Tell me how much the top income earners should be paying.​

And add the number for asset taxes.

NorthReport

They should be paying enough so the everyone in Canada and I mean everybody who lives here is actually getting housing food, medical and dental, a pension, and whatever education they want. It’s not rocket science. You can do the math.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
You can do the math.

Just some "napkin" figures, but I'm coming up with a 114% tax rate.

Now we just need a government with the courage to impose it.

WWWTT

Rev Pesky wrote:

From Sean in Ottawa:

Here. Let me introduce you to the real world:

How about if I introduce to my real world. I have a yearly income of about $19,000. That would put me pretty close to the bottom of all income earners. So I don't need you to tell me about the 'real world'.

​Yet I still can't get excited about someone who makes 250k/year.

As it stands now, the top 1% of income earners pay about 22% of the total income tax. How much do suggest they should pay? Even if you doubled their tax payments, that wouldn't make that big of a dent in the overall budget.

But that's income earners, not wealth owners.

If you put a 2% tax on assets (above $5 million, so granny wouldn't have to sell the familey home), you could pay the whole federal budget without any income or corporate tax. 

Another interesting thing about assets, is you can't hide them like income (or capital gains, for that matter). Everything on this planet is owned by somebody. There is on such thing as an asset that isn't owned, so everybody fills out a balance sheet, and pays a flat tax on their assets above $5 million.

thats already in place on the most expensive thing people are likely to own, real estate. Sounds like you’re suggesting an increase. 

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
You can do the math.

Just some "napkin" figures, but I'm coming up with a 114% tax rate.

Now we just need a government with the courage to impose it.

Countries like Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands, seem to have been able to do it without an overly onerous tax rate.

Rev Pesky

From Mr. Magoo:

How is that possible with a marginal tax rate? 

Yes, you are right, and I was wrong. My own fault for not doing my homework.

In order to learn a bit more, I created a spreadsheet where I can input various income levels, and compare outcomes for changing tax rates at the top. This time I did get it, and checked my figures with a CRS tax calculator. 

What it boils down to is that anything less than a very large increase in the top tax rate isn't going to do much. The current rate for above 202k/year is 33%. If you have an income of 500k/year, and double the top rate to 66%, you would pay an additional 98k in taxes, so it would take 10,000 such taxpayers to make a $1 billion extra in revenue.

To my mind that's not really a solution. A much better solution would be to increase the incomes of poorer people. Another response would be to continue raising the rate at steps above 202k/yr.

Right now the top rate is 33% for all income over 202k/yr, but there's no reason one couldn't have higher rates farther up the ladder. So perhaps an increased rate at each 100 or 200k step above the current top.

Still, I don't think it would make that much difference in revenues, and of course, it doesn't solve the problem of tax evasion.  

Rev Pesky

From WWWTT:

thats already in place on the most expensive thing people are likely to own, real estate. Sounds like you’re suggesting an increase. 

If you read my piece, you would have seen I suggested a $5 million deductible, which would mean most people who own homes wouldn't pay tax on that asset. House prices are high, but very few people own homes worth more than $5 million. So for those people there would be no increase.

Of course, while for the average citizen the family home is probably the most expensive thing they're likely to own, for the very wealthy the family home is only a small part of their wealth. They may own stocks, bonds, factories, etc. 

Remember the figure I posted up thread, showing a very small group of people own 50% of the wealth of the world. Obviously that's more than family homes.

Here's some information, in a Huffington Post story about a report from the CCPA:

Wealth Inequality trumps Income Inequality

The report by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that the country's 86 richest individuals and families — or 0.002 per cent of the total population — are getting exponentially richer and now have accumulated as much wealth as the country's poorest 11.4 million.

...The point of the exercise, says economist and author David Macdonald, who used Statistics Canada data and research from Canadian Business magazine, is to show that if income inequality is a policy and social justice concern — wealth inequality is worse.

In fact, the super-rich list of Canadian residents has little to do with income in the traditional sense, he said. None of the 86 are company CEOs — often the poster children of the Occupy crowd for their unseemly salaries and bonuses.

..."We often focus on income inequality but that's a socialist paradise compared to wealth inequality," said Macdonald.

"The top 20 per cent only get half of all the income, but in terms of wealth inequality, the top 20 per cent have 70 per cent of all wealth. It's much more extreme...

Which is why it's really important to be clear about the difference between the top 1% of income earners, and the top 1% of wealth owners.

WWWTT

Rev Pesky wrote:

From WWWTT:

thats already in place on the most expensive thing people are likely to own, real estate. Sounds like you’re suggesting an increase. 

If you read my piece, you would have seen I suggested a $5 million deductible, which would mean most people who own homes wouldn't pay tax on that asset. House prices are high, but very few people own homes worth more than $5 million. So for those people there would be no increase.

Of course, while for the average citizen the family home is probably the most expensive thing they're likely to own, for the very wealthy the family home is only a small part of their wealth. They may own stocks, bonds, factories, etc. 

Remember the figure I posted up thread, showing a very small group of people own 50% of the wealth of the world. Obviously that's more than family homes.

Here's some information, in a Huffington Post story about a report from the CCPA:

Wealth Inequality trumps Income Inequality

The report by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that the country's 86 richest individuals and families — or 0.002 per cent of the total population — are getting exponentially richer and now have accumulated as much wealth as the country's poorest 11.4 million.

...The point of the exercise, says economist and author David Macdonald, who used Statistics Canada data and research from Canadian Business magazine, is to show that if income inequality is a policy and social justice concern — wealth inequality is worse.

In fact, the super-rich list of Canadian residents has little to do with income in the traditional sense, he said. None of the 86 are company CEOs — often the poster children of the Occupy crowd for their unseemly salaries and bonuses.

..."We often focus on income inequality but that's a socialist paradise compared to wealth inequality," said Macdonald.

"The top 20 per cent only get half of all the income, but in terms of wealth inequality, the top 20 per cent have 70 per cent of all wealth. It's much more extreme...

Which is why it's really important to be clear about the difference between the top 1% of income earners, and the top 1% of wealth owners.

Ya you know what? From my perspective, this accumulated wealth vs income argument is a borderline strawman. You can only be wealthy several ways.

1)inheritance

2)you win the lottery(or some other good luck)

3)Through theft or other illegal means (victims are created or people are victimized)

4)Work(or providing a service/skill/labout etc) This can also require having capital to operate a business.

5)Income earned through accumalated wealth(interest, stocks, investments etc)

Or a combination of the above. Keeping in mind that many wealthy people and high income earners have a strong element of luck when they earned their wealth. As well, many people believe that corporations not paying their fair share is criminal!

When we purchase material goods, everyone pays HST or some other retail tax. And then there's property taxes. When you purchase a new home in Ontario, you pay HST(but can apply for a rebate) then annually pay taxes on it.

It almost sounds like you want to retroactively tax wealth that wasn't fairly taxed from the start?

I believe there are limits and what you're suggesting just goes way too far and encourages people to not even bother trying to earn anything at all! After all, why should anyone go bust their ass everyday going to work when someone else can just stay at home and still have the basics covered?

Now I believe that the tax laws in Canada are criminal and must be changed! Corporate tax rates must go up! And AFTER this is corrected, lets see what happens in a say 5 years. Then lets look at what's happened discuss then adjust tweek if neccessary.

NorthReport

Wouldn’t a 10% inheritance tax solve the wealth redistribution problem in about 10 years, end the Trudeau, etc. tax haven offshore dynasties, and put us all on a much more equal financial playing field?

I think many of our problems in society can be helped through wealth redistribution so why don’t NDP governments do it? Also why did Jack Layton have to back off on implementing an inheritance tax in the NDP platform when he was leader?

Rev Pesky

From WWWTT:

Corporate tax rates must go up!

It is a bit of a truism that corporations don't pay taxes, they collect taxes. But it's close enough to the truth.

For the most part, when companies have to pay more tax, they raise their prices to account for the tax increase. So whoever is the consumer of the output of the corporation is paying the tax. If the company is in an export business, it is consumers elsewhere who will pay the tax, but it's also true that most often offshore consumers have the option of buying from someone else who isn't paying the higher rate of tax.

Higher rates of corporate tax don't necessarily increase revenue, nor decrease inequality.

Rev Pesky

From North Report:

Also why did Jack Layton have to back off on implementing an inheritance tax in the NDP platform when he was leader?

I suspect it was because Ed Broadbent's 'ordinary Canadians' don't relish the idea of working and saving only to have the goverment move in after their death and take their money.

Remember, a riding like East Vancouver, which is so solidly NDP it would take a miracle for some other party to win there, has a lot of people who own their own homes. Those homes would constitute an estate of $1 million or more, and most would be passed on to the children. You're not going to win votes their with estate taxes.

WWWTT

NorthReport wrote:

Wouldn’t a 10% inheritance tax solve the wealth redistribution problem in about 10 years, end the Trudeau, etc. tax haven offshore dynasties, and put us all on a much more equal financial playing field?

I think many of our problems in society can be helped through wealth redistribution so why don’t NDP governments do it? Also why did Jack Layton have to back off on implementing an inheritance tax in the NDP platform when he was leader?

portugal has an inheritance tax and I believe it’s around 10%. Now for the offshore tax havens, I’m not sure how to approach this? Actually I’m lying. If it was up to me, NATO or the UN should set up an offensive military invasion fleet/force and invade every single one of those island nations and seize their accounts and that would be the end of that!  Don’t expect Justin or his capitalist brother Trump to come up with any realistic solutions 

WWWTT

Rev Pesky wrote:

From WWWTT:

Corporate tax rates must go up!

It is a bit of a truism that corporations don't pay taxes, they collect taxes. But it's close enough to the truth.

For the most part, when companies have to pay more tax, they raise their prices to account for the tax increase. So whoever is the consumer of the output of the corporation is paying the tax. If the company is in an export business, it is consumers elsewhere who will pay the tax, but it's also true that most often offshore consumers have the option of buying from someone else who isn't paying the higher rate of tax.

Higher rates of corporate tax don't necessarily increase revenue, nor decrease inequality.

so in other words we should just give up?

cco

Rev Pesky wrote:

For the most part, when companies have to pay more tax, they raise their prices to account for the tax increase. So whoever is the consumer of the output of the corporation is paying the tax. If the company is in an export business, it is consumers elsewhere who will pay the tax, but it's also true that most often offshore consumers have the option of buying from someone else who isn't paying the higher rate of tax.

Companies don't set their prices based on their own calculation of the minimum fair profit for what they're selling. It's that whole "what the market will bear" thing, i.e. what consumers are willing to pay. If we have companies A, B, and C (the offshore one) selling the same widget, and corporate taxes are hiked, A will lose market share to B if A hikes its prices while B accepts a reduction in the CEO's bonuses to stay competitive with C.

As far as competing with offshore countries with lower taxes, it's essentially the same as competing with third world wages, no? We don't let Canadian employers pay Cambodian wages for the sake of staying competitive. Racing to the bottom so corporations can play shell games like the double Irish with a Dutch sandwich isn't making anything more competitive except tax evasion.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

From WWWTT:

Corporate tax rates must go up!

It is a bit of a truism that corporations don't pay taxes, they collect taxes. But it's close enough to the truth.

For the most part, when companies have to pay more tax, they raise their prices to account for the tax increase. So whoever is the consumer of the output of the corporation is paying the tax. If the company is in an export business, it is consumers elsewhere who will pay the tax, but it's also true that most often offshore consumers have the option of buying from someone else who isn't paying the higher rate of tax.

Higher rates of corporate tax don't necessarily increase revenue, nor decrease inequality.

So, would the logical conclusion of this be that we all benefited from lower prices equivalent to the corporate tax cuts enacted since the 1993 election? Somehow, I don't recall that happening. Or does this logic only work in one direction, like a ratchet?

NorthReport

Park of the problem is that corporate accountants and legal shills purposely make taxation complex on behalf of the dynasty estate one percenters. There is a massive tax industry out there who just confuse the issues so that most critics get sidetracked by gobbledygook

Math is not complex. 2 + 2 = 4 , not 5 and not 3,  just 4.

WWWTT

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

From WWWTT:

Corporate tax rates must go up!

It is a bit of a truism that corporations don't pay taxes, they collect taxes. But it's close enough to the truth.

For the most part, when companies have to pay more tax, they raise their prices to account for the tax increase. So whoever is the consumer of the output of the corporation is paying the tax. If the company is in an export business, it is consumers elsewhere who will pay the tax, but it's also true that most often offshore consumers have the option of buying from someone else who isn't paying the higher rate of tax.

Higher rates of corporate tax don't necessarily increase revenue, nor decrease inequality.

So, would the logical conclusion of this be that we all benefited from lower prices equivalent to the corporate tax cuts enacted since the 1993 election? Somehow, I don't recall that happening. Or does this logic only work in one direction, like a ratchet?

LOL! Sorry brother but the blatant honesty of your comment is so true I had to laugh.

Pogo Pogo's picture

To respond to NR it may not be rocket science, but it is very very complex. I am surprised that there is so little discussion of the proposed Liberal changes. I see it as a needed change that has been handled very badly.

 

WWWTT

NorthReport wrote:

Park of the problem is that corporate accountants and legal shills purposely make taxation complex on behalf of the dynasty estate one percenters. There is a massive tax industry out there who just confuse the issues so that most critics get sidetracked by gobbledygook

Math is not complex. 2 + 2 = 4 , not 5 and not 3,  just 4.

Ya but but but 2+2=80% of 5, 50% of which is taxable at 12% if you earn more than $90k. Actually that makes too much sence, not mind boggling enough. Looks like I wouldn't get a gig with revenue Canada or any large corporation for lack of creative accounting! 

Good point brother!

Pogo Pogo's picture

Then why is the right wing always pushing for a simplified tax system?  They want it more simple because many of the details are structured so that a legitimate reason for giving a break is not given across the board.  This is not to say that there aren't a bunch of hidden tax breaks which need to be fixed and that moreover that there are not some basic measure which can be taken to make the system more fair.

Rev Pesky

To respond to all those who argued with my take on corporate taxation.

Please read the last sentence of my post.

Higher rates of corporate tax don't necessarily increase revenue, nor decrease inequality.

I agree that's it's not as simple as 2+2. But it is true that companies make decisions based partially on taxation. Everything else being equal (please read that twice, before responding), companies favour lower taxes, and if they can, will seek out lower taxation. If they can't do that, they may raise prices. If you don't believe me, check gasoline prices in your city. Which companies are selling fuel cheaper than others?

At the same time, someone brought up wages, and that is probably more important than taxation. In fact, I'm certain it is.

One of the reasons for the rise in inequality in this country is not so much that the wealthy are taking more, but the simple fact that many manufacturing jobs have disappeared, to be replaced by service jobs. Service jobs are normally lower paid than the former manufacturing jobs, which would account for at least some of the increasing inequality.

Problem is, those manufacturing jobs are not coming back. Whatever solution one proposes to decrease inequality has to take that into account.   

 

 

Rev Pesky

From Michael Moriarity:

So, would the logical conclusion of this be that we all benefited from lower prices equivalent to the corporate tax cuts enacted since the 1993 election? Somehow, I don't recall that happening.

You've made a good point, but the reality is it's almost impossible to tell. In any product there are a boatload of inputs, and determining how much each input influences the final price of the product is a considerable exercise.

​I base my comment of the effects of taxation on the more or less simple observation that if costs go up, prices go up. Prices do go down, but often times it's hard to tell because of things like inflation. For instance, off the top of your head, is oil cheaper now than it was in 1980, or more expensive? I'll be honest and say I don't know. I'd have to look it up, but one thing I do know is that different people will have a different answer for that question.

Pogo Pogo's picture

There is no direct line between corporate income taxes and prices. The first basis for setting pricing is the sales margin which looks only at sales related costs, that and the markets willingness to pay. That profits are facing different taxes has never come up in any pricing meeting I have been in. People may moan about the shrinking profits, but passing this on to the customer is not an option - if they could have passed it on they already would have. Changing profits may make people leave a business and put their money elsewhere, but it shouldn't affect the price businesses charge customers.

JKR

The Canadian government would be taking in approximately $16 Billion more just this year if the GST was still at 7%. Consumption taxes may be unpopular but they can provide a lot of revenue compared with other forms of taxation. I wish the GST rate was still at 7% or, better yet, even higher as it is in progressive countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc....

Sean in Ottawa

WWWTT wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

From Sean in Ottawa:

Here. Let me introduce you to the real world:

How about if I introduce to my real world. I have a yearly income of about $19,000. That would put me pretty close to the bottom of all income earners. So I don't need you to tell me about the 'real world'.

​Yet I still can't get excited about someone who makes 250k/year.

As it stands now, the top 1% of income earners pay about 22% of the total income tax. How much do suggest they should pay? Even if you doubled their tax payments, that wouldn't make that big of a dent in the overall budget.

But that's income earners, not wealth owners.

If you put a 2% tax on assets (above $5 million, so granny wouldn't have to sell the familey home), you could pay the whole federal budget without any income or corporate tax. 

Another interesting thing about assets, is you can't hide them like income (or capital gains, for that matter). Everything on this planet is owned by somebody. There is on such thing as an asset that isn't owned, so everybody fills out a balance sheet, and pays a flat tax on their assets above $5 million.

thats already in place on the most expensive thing people are likely to own, real estate. Sounds like you’re suggesting an increase. 

We should not lump every level of wealth with the same assumptions. In terms of the middle and lower upper income and wealth bands I think this is true. Above that it would not be. As well there is a difference between owning your residence and investing in real estate byond that. There is also a difference between owning a modest family home and a monster estate. Not all of this last difference is money since a modest home in one place buys a monster in another. Still, some cities are pricey such that it is reasonable to expect a detached home in one place and an apartment in another.

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