Some inconvenient facts about equalization

Monday, May 28th, 2012

May 28, 2012
#1: Canada’s founders didn’t want transfers between governments… #2: Public services are often more generous in “have-not” provinces… #3: Equalization is actually a transfer of wealth from high-cost provinces to low-cost provinces… #4: Transfer programs don’t even work well for have-nots… #5: Equalization, as we know it, is not required by the Canadian constitution… Here are some suggestions for reform in the short-term and, possibly, even the eventual abolishment of equalization.

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Slogans and demands won’t change world

Monday, October 17th, 2011

October 15, 2011
… to make poverty scarce, to foment prosperity and to avoid political favouritism for anyone, here are a few general principles Occupy protesters should grasp and promote: Principle One: Subsidize only people in need, never the wealthy or corporations… Principle Two: Be neutral in tax policy…. Principle Three: Always favour consumers over producers… Principle Four: Oppose government-sponsored “Ponzi” schemes… Principle Five: Favour opportunity, wherever it appears.

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Left and right can unite to end corporate welfare

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

May 10 2011
By corporate welfare, think of direct cash payments to business — not for goods or services, but simply because a government wishes to retain or attract a particular business or industry. Sometimes the money is a grant, or a “repayable” loan (often never repaid), but it’s the same strategy: Governments pick winners and losers in the marketplace… Problematically, as governments grant such subsidies, more government “clients” are created at the expense of a more efficient tax system with fewer subsidies and lower overall tax rates.

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Why CPP hikes are a bad idea

Monday, February 7th, 2011

February 6, 2011
The earliest contributors to the CPP made out wonderfully… But the return on one’s CPP taxes become meagre the later one is born. It’s why it resembles a social program and not a true pension plan… The low contribution rates for the pre-baby boom generation had everything to do with demographics. Over the decades, successive governments kept retirement contributions artificially low… The 1997 reforms were meant to address both the unfunded liability in the CPP and partially address the generational imbalance.

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Different take on inequality

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Jan 16 2011
In 2009, Sarlo looked at two of the best measurements: adult equivalent incomes and average equivalent consumption. (The former takes into account households of different sizes; the latter reveals how people may have government income or under-reported income.) Sarlo found inequality has barely budged in 35 years. In addition, Canada has one of the highest levels of intergenerational mobility in the developed world. It is consistent with Scandinavian nations and trumps even Sweden. And Statistics Canada studies show that most of us who started with low incomes don’t stay poor.

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Steps to creating a prosperous society

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

16 January 2011
Scholars such as Maddison and others who study human progress find that open trade, entrepreneurs, secure property rights, toleration, moderate taxation and limited and predictable government go a long way to helping everyone prosper in a variety of ways. Such ingredients also provide the revenues necessary for governments to carry out essential functions. But you’d never know such factors matter from reading Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks’ recent column, where they took issue with my characterization of their new book as a rhetorical call to envy instead of a sensible tract on poverty reduction. They argue the gap between the super-wealthy and the rest of us causes higher infant mortality, more crime and other maladies.

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