Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sask: No tax cuts for you

The province unveiled a massive projected surplus for this fiscal year. They will collect $873 million more than than they budgeted for in the spring. That's the good news. The bad news is they have spent almost every cent of it.

Minister Van Mulligen said this morning that he can't cut taxes because oil and gas revenues are too volatile, that we could wind up in a deficit if we recklessly cut taxes (he then raised the Saskatchewan bogeyman Grant Devine to support his case).

Yes, oil and gas revenues are volatile, but not too volatile to increase spending by 10 per cent over budget projections. Ladies and gentlement, there is no such thing as one-time spending.


Chad Moats said...

Read Bo Rothstein, though it might put you out of job. You don't have to cut spending to reduce taxes. I imagine your lack of comment on her is due to this reason.
It seems to me that your incorrigible attacks are for personal gain or for your political cohorts, not taxpayers. As spending on programs is as advantageous or more then tax cuts. But as stated in previous comments, you could have your tax cuts and the poor could have their social programs or is ideology getting in the way.
Link: for your laissez faire ass

David MacLean said...

I have a bag of magic beans I can sell you too.

Anonymous said...

Chad, please expand upon your thoughts: I don't understand. Are you saying that you don't have to cut spending to reduce taxes: when there is an oil boom in an oil-rich province? Are you saying that all the spending in SK is wise? (spudco, gov jets, film crews, forestry centres etc...) Do you know that SK has the highest corporate taxes in Canada: does this not discourage investment?

Try hard not to call names or cast aspersions while you are at it: it detracts from your argument, and the argument does not make sense on the face of it to begin with.

"universal welfare state"?? Chad, I think that Bo's arguments, like alot of things, only work in theory.


Chad Moats said...

The theory being that it is the actual system that is used in Sweden, which one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
Did either you actually read it ?

tommy douglas said...

Oh, I forgot about the low tax jurisdiction of Sweden. Chad if you like paying $15 bucks a beer to subsidize someone's television set, go ahead and move there. Please.

John Murney said...

Should Saskatchewan be more concerned with paying down its debt? We live in a time of inflationary pressure, rising oil prices, and neighbour a province that is now debt free.

Shawn said...

Chad, why does the idea of taxpayers being left more of their own money to spend as they see fit offend you so much?

David MacLean said...

We think, and I told the media today, that we should do both tax cuts and debt reduction. The tax cuts to stimulate the economy and give people a break, and the debt reduction to fulfill our responsibilities to future generations.

Today the government announced they had increased spending by nearly $600 million. This is unbudgeted spending with no debate in the legislature.

Had the government stuck to the budget and split the money between tax and debt reduction, we could cut school taxes in half and reduce the debt by $400 million.

Just for example.

Chad Moats said...

Well, it looks to me like no one has a solid argument against this type of system, except that much needed essential item of beer being costly. At the same time that $15 beer is not as bad when you make $20/hr or would you prefer that people struggle.
I never said that people having more money in their pockets is bad, please point out where i said it, I just don't think that the form that is being advocated here is necessarily the best way to get the ones that need it in their pockets that money.
Secondly, corporate tax rates are not a private investors main reason for choosing whether or not to invest. It usually doesn't make the top 5 in most surveys.
Thirdly, the system in Sweden that Dr. Rothstein discusses reduces the income level of top 20% to bottom 20% to 2.5/1 with a net impact of 15% on the top 20%. Therefore I would conclude that it manages to reduce total tax load on all, while also having universal social programs(not means tested). Thus nullifying the current belief that you need to cut spending to cut taxes and vice versa.
Lastly, it would seem that your arguments are based on ideology and not a pragmatic, common sense approach. To often dogma gets in the way of a good solution. I patient wait for a thoughtful and analytical approach to criticisms of this system. If anyone out there actually has one. Maybe Mr. Murney can try, he seems to use his intellect instead of emotion to discuss this type of topic.

Anonymous said...

Yo, Chad, apply your utopian dream to the present reality that we are discussing. WTF are you proposing?

Don't waste time babbling on about inchoate crapola and waxing ahout Swedish lala land (re the Swedish system: Swedes are asking: who invested this crap?). This just gets me mad. About the only thing that you say that makes sense to me is $15 beer and 20$/hour: the problen is that I can drink 12 beer a day, which is $180, and if I work 8 hours, I will only make $160. Sounds like I would get drunk and "bilked".

What TF should be done in SK now, professor? Spare me the theory, play finance minister.


Shawn said...

A couple things I noted from briefly skimming the Rothstein paper.

1) She starts from the default position that the massive entitlement structure that is the welfare state is desirable as well as the "redistribution" of income.

2) There is no mention of the role that private charity played prior to the birth of the modern welfare state.

3) It appears to assume that screwing over the top 20% of earners is OK. Any reason they are less entitled to keep the income they earn than any other level of taxpayer? Easy to say if you aren't one of them. I took "equality" to mean treating everyone the same, not making everyone the same. Example, racial factors being taken into account for sentencing.

4) From the excerpt on pg3, there is a reason a free market will not perform the duties the welfare state does. Free markets require an exchange of goods and services considered mutually beneficial to both parties. Perhaps if tax code was more kind to private donation, more people would see fit to engage in charitable giving.

5) It assumes that people will be willing to accept government-run social programs instead of doing their own thing. What if you want to raise your child at home instead of sent them to a state-run daycare? If you do not use the service, you are further reducing the value of your transfer (likely without a concurrent reduction in your "contribution").

6) WRT "guarantees of government insurance" from pg9, government promises are based on legislation. If they decide to change legislation, the rules change, sometimes retroactively. I believe this has happened on a few instances in Canada when the feds have found themselves in hot water. Compare this to private insurance co.'s who offer legal contracts based on laws they do not write and enforced by courts they do not control. I know which I trust more.

Those are my thoughts from the first 10 pages. I will addd in others as I progress through the material.

Chad Moats said...

Shawn, though I commend you are your rational attempt at rebutting some of Dr. Rothstein's statements. I encourage you to cast off the shackles of ideology and the look at this in a pragmatic and consensus building approach. I have tossed aside my opinion of flat taxes as regressive, in order to look for a middle of the road and common sense solution to the different outlooks on the same problem and encourage you to do so as well. I eagerly await the rest of your assessment.

Shawn said...


The problew is that I do not see a approach which takes money from me to prop up social engineering megaprojects of dubious value and disastrous results as intelligent. For examples, see federal programs for aboriginals as well as absurdities like Vancouver's safe injection project for a start. Paying people to exhibit deviant or detrimental behaviours will never provide any impetus for them to change. Absent a change in behaviour, they will almost inevitably enjoy the same crappy lives and go on to pass their woes along to any children they may have.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what the obsession with Sweden is. No one could make me convinced that Canada could succeed going down the scandinavian road. Sweden is a monolithic european nation state. Canada is a multicultural modern state based on treaties. Sweden has lower GDP per person than Canada (by PPP), lower growth rate, higher suicide rate, and by any means, lower quality of life. People are robbed of any pride of personal achievement and live depressing lives. Racism is on the rise, which is natural when you believe that all wealth comes from the collective, they regard foreigners as inferior. At the same time everybody is busy feeding from the government trough, and there, foreigners are competitors. That is another quite narrow minded and depressing outlook on life. Scandinavian style socialism will never work in Canada, it would tear Canada apart. Canada is a country built by people running away from such tyranny. I sure hope Canada doesn't fall into this class warfare trap that is so annoying in Europe. Chad, quite frankly, I think you should get a job and get over Sweden or just bloody move there.

Anonymous said...

and by the way, Shawn, it's people like you who give me hope for canada. There are tons of people like you, and I believe the socialist beast is on its last breath.

Chad Moats said...

I have a job. Looks like most of you need to return to school and take a logic class.
Finally, I am so glad that over 70% of Canadian voters do not agree with you and see the fallacies in your reasoning.

Anonymous said...

Only 70% Chad? On FN reserves in the last SK provincial election, the vote was over 90% NDP: these are little islands of communism in socialst SK: life must be great there, if they vote that highly in favour of the incumbents.


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