Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Foxes in Fiscal Hen Houses

In anticipation of an intensive post I put food in the microwave and accidentally started it for 25 minutes, but when I pressed "reset" it ignored me and continued cooking; My first thought was that it had gained sentience and was revenging itself on me. I need a hobby. 

To spare Dear Reader the agony of trolling through pages and pages (and PAGES) of legislative debate notes, I shall try to just condense it down to the informative highlights.
1. A Senator saying tax cuts were "stupid economics".
2. The testimony of The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association arguing for corporate tax cuts, which seems a bit self-serving, but then again, I find myself arguing in favor of personal income tax cuts. 
3. A Senator pointing out that corporate tax cuts were promised a while ago, and so businesses have been operating under those assumptions for a while in areas like hiring, investment, and policy making.
4. A report found the multiplier effect, which is typically the greatest consideration factor when defending tax cuts to promote the economy, for businesses to be .30, while it was a solid dollar for households.  (Even more [$1.70] for the lowest income households, but that felt a little like clubbing baby seals - and I do not mean taking them out to an awesome techno party)
5. If we taxed Oil companies at the regular rate, they would provide $1.9 Billion in taxes.
6. The Hon. The Speaker reminding everyone they are not allowed to personally insult each other.

I tend to remain open-minded on budgetary issues, since when dealing with an ornery beast like the economy a careful hand and economic background are best. I have no illusions that my two courses in economics have somehow equipped me to evaluate fiscal policy. I do, however, know how to assess arguments, and when people appeal to citizen's emotional sides such as asking how many Canadian lives could be lost by a budget that does not approve corporate tax cuts, it is a pretty clear sign that you have no rational point. It also seems preposterous to reduce corporate taxes from 18% (reduced to16.5% this January) to 15% (in 2012) based on information that was obtained back in 2007.

All in all, however, a Liberal from Mississauga said it best, "Maybe the timing of the tax cuts is the critical issue, not that tax cuts might be good or bad in certain circumstances. Right now we know one thing, and that is people are hurting." 
It will be interesting to watch the tax developments to see where loyalties lie. 

One final note; Bill S-7 giving Canadian citizens the ability to sue other people and other countries for damages suffered due to terrorism has passed the first reading. This means I am this much closer to suing America for Fox News. It is a good day.

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