Isn’t it time the wealthy paid fair taxes?

Posted on in Governance Debates

Canada’s richest 87 families are today richer than the bottom third of Canadian families — 12 million Canadians. Surely, if we set a reasonable exemption level — perhaps $1 million for a house, family business or other investments — it would be fair to tax the remaining capital gains at inheritance. Most G7 countries do… Ideally, one would want to both reduce the capital gains exemption (at least to 25 per cent) and introduce an inheritance tax. The two are complementary.

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Child & Family

Ontario’s cuts to legal aid will hurt the poorest

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It’s hard to fathom the fallout from the Ford government’s short-sighted decision to slash Legal Aid Ontario’s already inadequate budget by 30 per cent. The agency, established to provide legal services to the province’s most vulnerable citizens, was struggling to meet the need even before this. Its budget was so squeezed, in fact, that it could represent only people who are making less than about $17,000 a year. That’s far below the poverty line.
Even then, coverage was limited.


Thumbs up for Ontario’s new Childcare Plan

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The new Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit, initially estimated to cost around $400 million, will incentivize thousands of stay-at-home parents (mostly mothers) to join the workforce, generating additional taxable employment income and boosting tax revenues in the long run. The credit is targeted, mostly, at low- to modest-income families, where gaps from the current childcare expense tax deduction are the greatest… The CARE refundable tax credit will fill this gap, refunding up to 75 percent of the cost.


Education

Ontario faculty alarmed by proposal to overhaul university funding in provincial budget

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The government’s proposal is especially alarming as it promises to tie university funding to 10 unannounced metrics and ignores the reality that Ontario’s universities already receive the lowest per-student funding in Canada… “The government should be helping to create good jobs for faculty forced to work short-term precarious contracts and support students by reversing their decision to cut OSAP grants and attack student democracy.”


“Revolutionary” new funding to shake up Ontario’s colleges and universities

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Performance funding is popular in the United States, where about 29 states used it last year… The primary motivation was to increase graduation rates, the report said. “Colleges would readily accept state funding based on ‘seats in the classroom,’ but faced no consequences if students failed or withdrew from the class or dropped out completely.” … while research is mixed, performance funding generally has not improved graduation rates… performance funding can also have unintended consequences.


Employment

The push is on to reinvent American capitalism

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In today’s America, just 16,000 families account for US$6-trillion in assets. That is equal to the total wealth of two-thirds of all U.S. families. While so many go wanting, thousands have so much wealth they couldn’t spend it all if they lived to be 800. It’s irrational, and one of the many reasons rethinking capitalism is overdue… Mr. Trump triumphantly points to continued good growth and near record-low unemployment numbers… But … Republicans are vulnerable on the inequality issue. Their tax cut was a giveaway to the wealthy and to Corporate America.


The crushing impact of social media freeloaders

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Here are two breathtaking stats: 65 per cent share and 80 per cent margin. Those are market experts’ estimates of share of ad revenues and the profit margins of the social media duopoly in Canada. No other ad business in the world has that stranglehold, no other media business earns one quarter of those stratospheric profit margins. Unlike them, their Canadian television, newspaper and magazine competitors pay taxes.


Equality

There’s nothing moderate about this Ontario budget

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… the cuts are large. But so, too, are the tax cuts that rob the province of billions… the government took billions of dollars from the budget. That lost revenue, plus new corporate tax breaks, will drain an average of $3.6 billion a year from provincial coffers over the next three years. That money could have stayed in vital programs; it could have reduced the deficit. It did neither… But as a public relations exercise designed to conceal bad news, the budget did its job.


Provincial legal aid cuts are senseless economic and social policy

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Defending the cuts, the attorney general states “there are two stakeholders that must always be front-of-mind: the clients LAO serves and the taxpayers who pay the bills.” But neither stakeholder is served by the cuts. The cuts certainly do not serve legal aid clients… The cuts also do not serve taxpayers… The court system will be further weighed down with subsequent appeals in these matters to fix the damage caused by initial subpar representation.


Health

Public health squeeze is the unkindest cut of all from Ford

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… this government’s method is to initially claim there are no cuts and then create confusion about what cuts it’s making and why. It leaves people on the ground scrambling to figure out what it means and when they say it means something terrible, as they have in this case, the government promptly denies it… It’s the province that’s sowing confusion, acting without consultation and downloading its health responsibilities onto municipalities…


Psychiatrists shouldn’t have a monopoly over psychotherapy

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An average of 57 sessions of CBT over the course of approximately one year delivered the exact same clinical outcome as 234 sessions of psychoanalytic psychotherapy delivered over four years. The implications of this study are huge… Although psychiatrists do have some special advantages when they integrate psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy treatment together, they do not have a monopoly on delivering effective psychotherapy.


Inclusion

Passing Bill C-81 is critical to making Canada accessible for all Canadians

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… only three provinces – Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia – have accessibility legislation in place to remove barriers and mandate a minimum standard that enables meaningful access in the built environment and helps create a place where people with disabilities are living to their full potential. While the Charter offered a profound statement of equality for people with disabilities, we still have a long way to go to achieve the outcomes Canadians expect.


Ontario abandons property ownership as source of jurors

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Ontario is making a fundamental change to the province’s justice system by vastly expanding the pool of potential jurors to better reflect economic and racial diversity… “Serving on a jury effectively means giving up income in a large number of cases… That barrier still exists. Hopefully this (change) indicates the government is open to making other changes that will help our juries better reflect our communities that they sit in judgement of.”


Social Security

Why is retiring later a good idea? Because 65 is the new 55

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Canadian Institute of Actuaries suggests… Shifting the target retirement age for CPP and Old Age Security from 65 to 67, with a commensurate 14.4-per-cent boost in the monthly pension… Allowing Canadians to defer OAS and CPP until as late as 75, with a big boost in monthly payments as incentive… Encouraging employers to choose 67, rather than 65, as the target retirement date for new pension-plan members


How raising the age for CPP and OAS to 67 would benefit the whole country

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It’s past time we updated a retirement-income system conceived in the days when people lived just 10 to 15 year after retirement… “This isn’t a recommendation to assist the government in improving sustainability or save the government money.” … Retirees will need more savings than previous generations because they will live longer, because company pensions have become more scarce and because saving is made more difficult by low interest rates.


Governance

Isn’t it time the wealthy paid fair taxes?

Canada’s richest 87 families are today richer than the bottom third of Canadian families — 12 million Canadians. Surely, if we set a reasonable exemption level — perhaps $1 million for a house, family business or other investments — it would be fair to tax the remaining capital gains at inheritance. Most G7 countries do… Ideally, one would want to both reduce the capital gains exemption (at least to 25 per cent) and introduce an inheritance tax. The two are complementary.


It’s time for Canada to ban handguns

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… semi-automatic rifles that can accommodate large magazines ought to be banned in Canada. The same can be said of handguns. They have no place in a peaceful society. Handguns are designed to be concealable and deadly. They are semi-automatics; shooters can fire a round with each pull of the trigger without having to manually recock their weapon. They can be legally purchased in Canada with a nine-round magazine, which means they can do a lot of damage quickly, just like a semi-automatic rifle, although without the same accuracy and firepower.