The old saying goes everybody likes tax cuts, and as far as tax cuts go King Harper is indeed the king. With his first campaign announcement of the election season, Harper attempted to impress us all with a proposal dubbed “the Family Tax Cut”, a whopping $2.5 billion/year plan to lighten the load on families raising children.
The plan sounds attractive on the surface, tax cuts always do. Beneath the faÃ§ade of this proposal however lie some conservative truisms that are often lost in the pledge. After cutting the GST by two points and giving out corporate tax cuts, I suppose Harper and his conservatives needed to attract the other half of his base and that is exactly what his current proposal does.
The reality is; this bill is meant for the conservative nuclear family, the man bringing home the Canadian bacon with his stay-at-home wife and child. If you’re a single parent, you get nothing! even though the poverty rate is much higher for single parent families. The tax break is solely for families with two parents. If the two parents earn the same low wage, you get nothing! The tax break allows a higher income spouse to split income with a lower-income one; it’s only helpful when there’s a big difference in salaries.
If someone has a salary of $80,000 and the other spouse stays home, they will save more than two thousand dollars because they will be taxed on $40,000. If however both spouses earn $20,000 they won’t save a dime as their total incomes are split (20g +20g /2 =20g!). So a family that works twice as hard to keep afloat gets very little or nothing.
The Cons, I mean Tories, attempted to twist this as a tax break for ordinary Canadians, but it is clearly a tax break for people who fit the right wing model of an upstanding family. Further proof is the Library of Parliament research service; they studied the impact of a proposal like this a few years back and found that 61 per cent of the tax savings would go to families with incomes of more than $90,000. A striking 92 per cent of its benefits would go to families with above-average incomes of $60,000 or more. So what we get in the end is another conservative tax break for the rich.
Canada’s national debt will hit an all time high this Tuesday night, the Jean Chrétien/Paul Martin debt reduction of the nineties having been erased on Harper’s watch. We as a people have to be careful of the promises that are made during this campaign by the party leaders. Look between the lines for the facts before you cast your vote, especially when it concerns tax cuts.
If you have never voted before or you are unsure where your loyalties may lie, I have found a cool app called the vote compass on the CBC site. Check it out and let me know what you think!