An acquaintance who was campaigning for the federal Liberals called to ask if my daughter would like to assist in the effort. A libertarian, my daughter puffed up indignantly, mostly at her mother’s lack of ideological camaraderie. I was left to ponder how my acquaintance could have failed to detect my sentiments about the Liberals, especially since I had explained that the recent absence of the head of the household was due primarily to them.
My husband had packed his Ph.D. and left for the neighboring U.S. State, embracing the place that, to use his words, “steals less”. Perhaps this haranguing harridan might have tried to stop him. But why would I? For six months of the year he had toiled for Jean Chretien and his capos, not counting time done for property taxes, sales taxes, profit taxes, fuel taxes, import duties, license fees, and other levies. How, in good faith, could I not encourage him to flee to where his sentence is much reduced?
My friend remained convinced that it was in her interest to vote for the party that promises to rope the so-called rich into the service of the less fortunate. Ironically, she would benefit under the Canadian Alliance Party as they intend to raise the threshold bellow which no taxes are collected, taking 1.4 million taxpayers off the tax rolls. This is good only for those who intend to work.
The option to postpone adult decisions and remain betrothed to the state is appealing. A myriad of people regularly avail themselves of grants from, say, Human Resources Canada, embarking on one self defeating hare-brained scheme after another rather than get a real job, or marry someone who already has one.
At election time in particular, special interest groups line up to have their needs addressed. These powerful, protected-species lobbies can trust government to represent their interests and to continue to capture wealth on their behalf in the form of assorted preferential polices.
Unfortunately, in science fiction writer Robert Heinlein’s succinct phrase, “there ain’t such a thing as a free lunch”. Government has no capital of its own. What it has is the coercive power to extract taxes from the citizens. And from the minority, whose Mark of Cain is to be born with abilities and drive, government draws blood.
Three percent of taxpayers with incomes that exceed $100,000 pay about one-quarter of the income tax in Canada. Despite being forced in the name of “Canadian values” to renege on a flat tax, the Alliance admittedly still offers them the best break. This benighted minority is, however, addressed inadequately in all other party platforms.
Most Canadians are vested in keeping up the besmirch-and-seize tactics on the “rich”. According to the Fraser Institute, 57 percent of the adult population in Canada received more money in benefits than they paid in taxes. The top 30 percent of income earners pay 65.7 percent of all taxes, while the bottom 30 percent pay 4.2 percent of all taxes.
Even with the Liberal’s recent largesse, the Canadian who earns above $100,000 stands to lose roughly 40 percent of total income in payroll deductions. Compared to his previous plight, this represents only an approximate 6-7 percent overall reduction in the tax burden.
The Canadian who pole-vaults to the “place that steals less” commands an equivalent in US dollars. In the neighboring US State there are no state taxes. A single person in the $100,000 US income bracket, without mortgage, would lose about $26,000 US in payroll deductions. Once our emigrant acquires a mortgage, he can begin to use the mortgage interest to reduce his federal tax bill considerably, a deduction unavailable in Canada. He can, in fact, quite easily reduce his tax bill down to some 20 percent of total income.
A move to the U.S. means our ex-patriot gets to keep approximately $29,000 Cnd more of his rightful property. Consider too that the high-income earner pays for, but gains diddlysquat from the welfare state. He will see virtually none of the Canada Pension pelf, nor qualify for Employment Insurance. For most highly skilled defectors, the U.S. employers will cover medical insurance premiums in full– zero pay and zero waiting lists.
The kind of good riddance missives that flood my e-mailbag after each brain drain reality check assures me that the spirit of envy consumes too many Canadians, blinding them to the need for justice for all.
The silent attrition of the pilloried minority can be expected to typify yet another Liberal administration. One question: Who will pay for lunch once they’ve all left?
©2000 By Ilana Mercer
The Calgary Herald