Fairness goes both ways

Uncategorized — By on November 29, 2011 at 11:22 am

OPINION
By MATT McEACHRAN

Apparently Ontario is in some kind of financial trouble? And massive amounts of increased spending won’t make it any better?

These startling revelations come from our very own Premier McGuinty a few days ago, coincidently just a few short weeks after the election. You remember the election; it was the one where no party made any attempts to suggest we should slow down our enormous spending (over $2 million per hour more than we bring in, every hour, every day) or reign in our debt.

E-mails are pouring in to the Lambton Shield congratulating us for breaking this story about Ontario’s finances, in a column written by this author back on October 12.  (Click here if you haven’t read it) Apparently the Premier had no idea about how bad Ontario’s economic woes were before then. Was it really this column that has him changing his tune so quickly? Probably.

In case you haven’t heard, the Province has announced that it is time for restraint. New spending will be held to just a 1% increase.

I give credit where credit is due. This is a step in the right direction. And I also give him credit for (finally) recognizing the mess we are in, even if it is a few years too late.

The problem is the Government’s underlying attitude hasn’t changed.

They are going to make some minor tweaks, but they still believe in high taxes and heavy spending. They still believe we should be thankful to pay high taxes, and it’s starting to sound an awful lot like they think all the money we earn is really their money.

Just check out Dalton McGuinty’s answer as to why he is not supporting the opposition party’s bill to remove HST off heat bills:

“It’s going to be challenging enough for us to fund our (Liberal) platform, let alone now to find ways to fund their platforms.”

Are you kidding me? It must be nice to live in an ivory tower in Toronto where paying for promises and policies is your only issue. The rest of us simpletons are wasting our time trying to pay for things like heat. And groceries (up 4.3%) And gasoline (up 10000%)

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Taxes on heating? Remember when taxes at least tried to be somewhat fair and just?

There was a time, back when government actually cared about people and made half an effort to be somewhat fair, that basic necessities in life were exempt. Now that basic rule of decency is twisted and bent as much as possible, with things like taxes on reading materials and books, tax on meals over $4.00 (or some such number that worked in the 1980’s but not thirty years later) and of course taxes on home heat.

We should never have let them start taxing these necessities, but it was small at the time and we never paid too much attention. They got their inch, and now they are taking a mile, so to speak.

Another of my favourite small and subtle tax increases is at the border. As Christmas nears, this is the time of year when many people from Sarnia Lambton will be doing some of their shopping across the river. Already the warnings are in the news, “be prepared for long lines and to pay duty”.

Pay duty? When GST came in, the federal government starting charging it on goods that cross border shoppers were bringing back with them. A few years later the Province woke up to this and also started charging PST on items purchased in the US.  Conveniently, it was this same time that free trade was started and duties were coming off goods.  Lower duties on the one hand….. raise taxes on the other. Very clever.

So clever in fact, that many of us today still refer to being “hauled in to pay duty” when in fact what we actually paid was HST.

A lot of Sarnia Lambton folk have a problem with paying Ontario’s sales tax on items they bought in Michigan. There are those will no doubt argue about “leveling the field” and “everyone paying their fair share” but their voices are drowned out by the thousands of Christmas shoppers in their cars on the bridge desperately hoping they don’t get pulled in to pay “duty”.

And if the government wants to talk about fair, how “fair” is to pay sales taxes twice… once in Michigan and then again in Ontario? If that’s so fair, why not start charging us twice when we “cross-border” shop into Manitoba or Quebec?

This idea of leveling the playing field by taxing everything and everyone is going to level us all into poverty. And make no mistake about it, when government talks about making things fair, they aren’t talking about making things fair for you and I, its only about making things “fair” for themselves. And by fair of course, they mean all the money should go to them.

Imagine a man eating as much as he wants, and every time his pants get too tight, he just puts on a bigger pair.  After many years, this person is now a size 56 and he’s barking because the kitchen can’t send the food out fast enough. Then he blames us, the ones making the food, telling us the reason he is still hungry is not because he is eating way too much, but because of “leaks in the food chain” and an “unlevel eating field”.

That’s our government.

There are certain “natural laws” that governments love to ignore. In the above example, when the man’s pants got tight the first time, he should have cut back on his eating. Any kindergartener will tell you that. Instead, in typical government fashion, he just got bigger ones and went on making no changes as the problem got worse.

It’s the exact same thing with taxes. Lack of taxes “here and there” on food, books, heat, hydro, cross border shoppers, etc. isn't the problem. They’re warning signs of an over-spending and increasingly unscrupulous government and we should ignore them at our peril.

We have to stop falling for these “equality” arguments the government makes to guilt-trip us into paying more taxes. Most Canadians understand we need taxes and we need government, but what’s wrong with some decency and honesty towards the taxpayer? It’s time we told the Province and all other levels of government to back off taxing our necessities and stop double-dipping. There’s no better place to start than right now on our heating bills. 

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