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So High Taxes Are Good For Me?

So when you ask a “think tank” whether high taxes are good or not, what do you think the answer you might get? Well if you ask the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, you get the answer that Higher Taxes are what makes your country great (I paraphrase, but their report says that higher taxes are a good thing).

This report compares countries with high tax rates and low tax rates and then rates the quality of life (effectively) in these countries. The CCPA claims to be a “… non-partisan research institute …”, but certainly biased. Their point of view is very much a Social Democratic point of view, that the government must take care of it’s population, and the only way possible is via taxes.

While my viewpoint agrees that the state must at least ensure a minimum lifestyle for all folks, I am not sure it needs to go to the levels that are seen in Sweden or Finland either (which is evidently Utopia, by this research).

Our findings show Americans bear incredibly
severe social costs for living in one of the lowest taxed
countries in the world.

Which is interesting, it mostly says that the U.S.’s medical system and social safety net are not very good (which I might agree with in some instances). The report implies that Canada should not be trying to emulate the U.S. “low tax” viewpoint, but should move towards the model of the Nordic countries (higher taxes, much larger state run social welfare programs). Specifically:

  • Nordic countries have significantly lower rates of poverty across almost all social groups;
  • as an indicator of how well a country protects the vulnerable, the elderly have significantly higher pension income replacement rates in Nordic countries and the income received by those with disabilities relative to the population is much higher;
  • income is distributed significantly more equally in Nordic countries;

This seems to be the crux of the argument, is that there should not be small groups with wealth and large groups without. A noble idea, I don’t agree with it, because you choke off the parochial traditions of “work hard and be rewarded” that most of us grew up with.

If I didn’t have to work hard to get rewarded, would I? That’s an excellent question.

An interesting read, well worth spending a half hour reading it and seeing what you think about the topics discussed.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I can think of lots of folk who work hard, but see little reward — farmers, immigrant workers, etc. I also see folk who have been fortunate enough to have skill or luck (or a combination thereof) who have become very wealthy.

    I liken the difference to that between hockey & golf. Golf is a solitary pursuit; hockey players have to work together to reap their rewards.

    Is either better? I guess that depends on your goals. If you’re having a bad day, and are underperforming, the rest of the hockey team is likely move you closer to that Stanley Cup Ring, than are the others in your foursome to help you on your path to the Masters.


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