This Can't Be Happening
Sites of Interest
(courtesy Empire Burlesque)
A Tiny Revolution
William Blum/Killing Hope
The Distant Ocean
Welcome to the Sideshow
Mark Crispin Miller
Crooks and Liars
Black Agenda Report
The Raw Story
Iraq Vets Against the War
Blues and Dreams
Bright Terrible Spirit
Of course, the Conservatives argue a 19.5% corporate
tax rate would render Canada hopelessly uncompetitive in the global
marketplace. Never mind the fact the United States' corporate tax rates
range as high as 35%, while Britain's sits currently at 28%. Go figure.
But Harper says taking that money away from corporations will mean less
money infused into our economy. Which is where we come to the horses and
The myth is that those extra profits will be recirculated into society through investment in plant and equipment, research and development, and expanded operations, yielding new jobs and pumping capital into the economy. But only if it doesn't get gobbled up by increased dividends to largely foreign shareholders first. Which is mostly what really happens.
Take Exxon Mobil, for example - a major player in Canada's Tar Sands and beneficiary of big federal and provincial subsidies. The company just posted a $10.7 BILLION QUARTERLY PROFIT - up 69% from last year. And they're not alone - ginormous profits abound for the oil and gas industry, as for Canadian banks. And yet somehow they - ahead of every other demographic and sector in our country - deserve a tax break and other financial inducements, just to keep up the onerous burden of making billions of dollars in Canada.
if they would pack up and go elsewhere were we to suddenly wise up and
tweak the rules ever so slightly in the favour of the 99.99% of the
public that doesn't sit on the board of an oil company or earn half a
million dollars a year on Bay Street. We have the oil, the gold, the
copper, the electricity, the water, the trees they need to make these
enormous profits. If we're smart about how we manage our public
resources, they're not going anywhere. It's called leverage. We have a
lot of it - we just don't use it because our corporate-aligned leaders
don't want us to.
The Trouble With Billionaires is a terrific recent book by Canadian authors Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks - probably the best-constructed indictment of this way of thinking. In it they illustrate just how severe the gap between rich and poor has become in recent decades - levels of wealth concentration never before seen. It left me pondering whether it was even physically possible for, say, Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Software - worth an estimated $40 Billion personally - to spend his money faster than it accrued interest.
Imagine how many visits to Tiffany's
and the Rolls-Royce dealership, how much caviar and champagne it would
take every day to spend even a fraction of that wealth. According to
McQuaig and Brooks (adjusting upward for the extra $13 Billion Ellison
has accrued since they published their book last year), he would need to
spend about half a million dollars per hour just to get through the interest on his principal! And
yet Mr. Ellison felt justified in suing several municipalities and
school boards in Northern California where he owns a stately ranch,
successfully recouping 3 million dollars in property taxes. How many
teachers lost their jobs to pay for Mr. Ellison's tax break? And how
does one man owning and holding that much wealth help the economy - your and my economy?
Make no mistake, the same tricks will be used in BC against the NDP. Obscure the economic realities - like the fact the NDP delivered 3% job growth in BC over its decade in power through the 90's compared to closer to 2% for the Liberals during their tenure. The Tyee's Will McMartin has done a far better job than the NDP's own PR people on comparing and contrasting the two parties' real economic track records - countering the Liberal myth of their own economic superiority (trumpeted only too readily by the mainstream media in BC).
And of course, newly-minted NDP leader Adrian Dix is being framed as a hard-left "Stalinist" (the Province actually referred to him this way), especially as he talks of raising corporate taxes and getting tougher with environmental regulation.
But the bottom line is, the right - and I mean the neo-liberal Milton Friedman/Fraser Institute Right to which the BC Liberals and to some extent the federal Conservatives belong - has done such a good job of inculcating this myth into the North American psyche that it can still prove an incredibly powerful tool. When honed to the extent the BC Liberals have been able to do in BC, it works without requiring a shred of supporting evidence. It's accepted on faith - pure, unadulterated dogma.
And if it remains that way, both trickle-down economics and the parties who purvey this philosophy to the exclusive benefit of their corporate pals will keep filling their pockets - while we sparrows go hungry.