Straw men and the HST

Once again, Black Press columnist Tom Fletcher has demonstrated his skill in diverting the public from the real issues in B.C. politics.

He accuses the NDP and Bill Vander Zalm of setting up straw men because they object to the government’s bias in spending $5 million on pushing their HST in the guise of an “information campaign,” while the anti-HST side gets only one-20th of that amount.

Fletcher has the nerve to claim that “big business benefits most from the HST” is false when the government and its hand-picked “independent” panel state that this is why they are introducing this unfair tax. The B.C. Liberals have boasted that introducing the HST is equivalent to a 40 per cent tax cut on business investment.

The professional straw-makers, like Fletcher and an army of highly paid economists, are trying to make this a debate about HST versus PST. They divert attention from the government’s underlying agenda. If the HST is allowed in, the amount of tax drawn from the public will become so huge that there will no longer be any questions raised about dramatically reducing taxes on the friends of big business.

They may cut the percentage points on the HST for a while (or at least a promise of doing so) to try to win the vote but they will be able to raise the rate anytime they want – until it rises to 20 per cent as in many other countries with this type of tax.

This is the only chance B.C. taxpayers have to block this tax by temporarily going back to the PST so we can have a fair tax commission examine the whole question of who pays and who gains from taxes and resource royalties.

As Adam Smith (the father of modern economics) was well aware, economics is always about politics. The rich and powerful in capitalist and “mixed” economies have always successfully pushed a disproportionate share of taxes onto the general public, which as individuals, lack the power to directly influence government.

Herb Spencer


Surrey North Delta Leader

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