With regard to Mr. Van Dam’s recent letter commenting on a previous one from Lorraine Rekmans, it would appear that he has now taken it that the Green Party is going to tax what he refers to as a “garden variety” millionaire, those who earn between $1 to $5 million. At least that is a jump from what he was stating in an earlier letter, that the Greens were going to tax incomes of $100,000 or more. However, he is still wrong.
Those on the right, (I assume that this is where Mr. Van Dam’s political affiliations lie, as he does nothing but talk about money), falsely claim that favouring the wealthy and powerful will send benefits trickling down to the rest of us. I cannot think of one instance where that has happened, but Conservatives still cling to this mantra, hoping against hope that one day they will be proved right. The economy is a human construct. It can be whatever we want it to be, so there is no need to follow blindly what has gone before in the forlorn hope that it will rescue us again. The world has changed dramatically. We need different solutions for what we are, and will be, facing.
In Canada, the most affluent 0.5% of families holds 20.5% of the wealth, some $2.4 trillion, and income inequality continues to grow. Some of these same families have made billions of dollars off of this pandemic, while far too many of us struggle with keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. This 0.5% are the people that the Greens are primarily talking about, getting them to pay their fair share of taxes, not the “Garden variety” millionaires. One policy is to close the tax loopholes that the rich enjoy, which the “garden variety” millionaire can’t afford anyway.
Greens have long been pigeonholed as only being about the environment, but they have a fully integrated platform that covers social, environmental, and economic aspects, because all are interrelated. Check out www.greenparty.ca , and click on Vision Green, to see their 149-page policy document. This policy document has been fully costed by Kevin Page, who was a former Parliamentary Budget Officer, so if anybody wants to look for some actual facts, then just go to https://www.greenparty.ca/en/media-release/2019-10-19/kevin-page-assists-green-party-setting-record-straight
As for taking economic policy from a book written in 1996, a quarter century ago, the world has already moved on from there with discussions about Modern Monetary Theory, so the reference work is way behind the times. It is also fascinating how many of those tied into outdated economic theory also quote people who have long been dead. I fully understand that things like greed and avarice haven’t changed over the centuries, but it should be remembered that a lot of these quotes have been about governments supported by the rich and powerful. If we keep electing them, then nothing will change.
As to the statement that taxing the rich won’t eliminate the deficit, that misses the point, which is that it will obviously bring it down by a considerable amount, thereby saving the taxpayer from footing the bill either directly, or through service cuts. All governments have to carry some debt, because they are borrowing against the needs of future populations. As these future populations are not here, they aren’t around to pay the taxes. The point is that, by taxing the super rich, we can pay for the programs that we need now. When the wealthy hoard billions, that reduces private sector capital investment. Government’s job is to secure revenue for the things society needs. We can tax that hoarded capital, and/or we create an environment where it is attractive to invest in Canada, and get these wealthy hoarders to participate in a vibrant economy rather than just bleeding it dry so shareholders can get bigger dividends.
What this pandemic has shown is that our current way of doing things needs to be rethought, particularly in how we treat and pay our essential and front line workers, and what with climate change upon us, getting back to “normal” is no longer an option, particularly if we care about what sort of planet and society our grandchildren will inherit.
One last rebuttal regarding the inference that Greens and the NDP are the same; they aren’t. While it is true that they have similar policies, how Greens go about implementing them is not the same, due in part to their funding coming solely from party members, so there are no outside influences on policy and operations. That does make a difference.