On September 12, 2005, the National Post ran an editorial that endorsed the idea of replacing progressive rates of income tax with a single rate: the so-called “flat” tax. In support of the flat tax, the paper essentially argued that a single-rate income tax works well for lower-income individuals because they can be provided with a large personal exemption: the Post impliedly endorsed Alberta’s $15,000.00 personal exemption as an example.
I will not suggest that income taxes are good things: they are not. The point here, however, is that a large personal exemption only adds insult to an already injurious tax.
In a country that taxes the populace, representation without taxation is as bad as taxation without representation. A personal exemption from taxation turns a proponent of low taxes and limited government into an opponent of both. The higher the exemption, the greater the popular opposition to limited taxation and government.
The quickest way for all citizens to be crushed by a government is to relieve some citizens of the burden of carrying its weight.
On September 2, 2005, the National Post ran a column penned by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, the leader of the provincial Liberal party. In that column, the Premier bemoaned the fact that “the politics of the moment, the heat of the debate, or the emotional impact of that day’s headline” tends to derail the search for a better provincial-federal fiscal relationship. He explained that, to keep the search from getting “lost” in the politics, he proposes a royal commission to study provincial-federal fiscal arrangements. However, having so far conducted his free-spending government’s quest for a federal bail-out by angrily pointing the finger at Ottawa, Premier McGuinty’s sudden request for dispassionate, depoliticized research is, to say the least, hypocritical.
What is worse, the premier is not looking for answers. Rather, he wants the federal government to admit that there is a problem with provincial-federal relations. The striking of a royal commission by the federal government would constitute just such an admission.
The premier would do well to stop begging for federal money and admissions of guilt. The federal Liberals have the support of Ontario voters. And, as the premier knows, he is crying foul now only because of the utter failure of a health care system with which he refuses to part for ideological reasons.
In 1969, Ontario’s PCs imposed a government monopoly in health insurance and introduced provincial income taxation to pay for it. That failing system now consumes 40% of Ontario’s budget and climbing. Ontario’s personal and corporate income taxes combined are insufficient to pay the cost of socialized medicine in the province.
This is no time for politics and royal commissions. With the ongoing loss of Ontario’s manufacturing base to low-cost jurisdictions like China, the time has come for Ontario to question the wisdom of both Ontario’s health insurance monopoly and its income taxes.
On August 29, 2005, the National Post ran a column written by Ontario Progressive Conservative party leader John Tory. In it, Mr. Tory continued not only to advocate measures that will not give us safer streets, but to side-step the cause of the violence.
Mr. Tory said he wants to “send a strong message to criminals that gun crimes mean serious jail time” and that “that’s why” he is urging tougher sentencing for “gun” crimes. Two things. First, consider that 50% of murders in gun-controlled Britain (which does not share a border with the USA) are committed with kitchen knives. Murder, not weapons, is the issue. Second, the murderers walking our streets are not deterred by longer sentences: they do not expect to live into their 30s. In fact, the “I’m livin’ hard and dying young” attitude is a huge part of their tough-guy image.
Mr. Tory suggested that if we “beef up” our border security, we can “make a difference”. Yet, according to a 2001 publication by MP Garry Breitkreuz, there are an estimated 7,000,000 to 11,000,000 firearms in Canada already. If it were even remotely possible that tougher border security would stop murderers from importing guns, the only difference we could rationally expect would be slower border crossings that will harm Ontario’s economy.
Mr. Tory called for better organized youth “programs” to “prevent crime”. This is a vague reference to the notion that recreation centres and basket ball courts for the poor prevent murder by keeping would-be murderers from getting bored. Boredom and poverty are not the causes of murder. Almost all human beings will be bored many times in their life: almost none of them will murder someone. To imply that poverty makes one a murderer is to slander and marginalize the poor, almost all of whom will never murder anyone.
The single problem that lies at the root of all of these murders is that the murderers among us view themselves as being beyond good and evil. As they see it, civil society is weak because it distinguishes between good and evil. Civil society is, for them, a sucker; a host to be occupied, intimidated and looted by armed, anti-moral macho men.
It might play well in the pages of the National Post, but those who cast these animals as the victims of a society that did not build them enough entertainment centres; those who share the murder’s twisted philosophy that guns, not people, commit murders; are excusing – even justifying – murder. The murderers of tomorrow hear those justifications loud and clear as they load their pistols and clear their minds of any vague ethical doubts about the acts they are about to commit.
To stop the murders, we must strictly enforce even minor laws so as to imprison murderers and would-be murderers alike. Period.