William Shakespeare operated from the Globe Theater in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The Globe’s competitor was the Rose Theater. Shakespeare mocked their inadequate sanitation arrangements in Act I I, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet.
“….that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”
Shakespeare liked double entrendre. Which brings us to tax policy.
A tax is any amount that the government compels you to give up. You do not pay taxes, they take them from you. Whether it is a fee, a premium, or a tax, the result is the same. You have less money and the government has more.
That which we call a tax, by any other name would cost as much.
Governments require money to carry out their programs and to exercise power. You may care about tax purposes, they do not. Quantity matters, quality does not.
Governments see taxes as farmers see taking feathers from geese. Optimal is the most feathers with the least hissing. For the government naming is an important part of the hissing reduction initiative.
Consider the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.
The government claims to be certain that its citizens will be unable to retire successfully without such a plan. The citizens on the other hand see it to be another intrusion in their pocket and in their family budget. Employers see it as a further impediment to operating in Ontario. Most studies see it to be a solution to no known problem.
What is the balanced answer?
Governments need money and they will find it somewhere. They have already indicated that half of the revenue from the ORPP will be used for infrastructure. No doubt by putting provincial bonds into the fund. Has anyone asked where the money is coming from to pay the bond interest and principal? Exactly – from taxes.
Raising taxes to pay for infrastructure would cause hissing so rename it.
The government will balance their budget by unbalancing the typical family budget. For a two person family earning $100,000 between them, they will lose about $1,900 each year. $3,800 if the employer reallocates their total compensation package.
When more of the people’s sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of free government.
Not a lot of talk just now on government spending as “Just obligations” and “Economical administration. ” I doubt anyone still knows the fundamentals of free government.
The pension plan is merely a renamed tax. Sort of like declaring myself to be a vegetarian because I eat beef, and steers eat grass.
I suppose if the government can convince the people and employers that they derive a worthwhile benefit, all will be well.
I am in the sales business and think that’s a tough sell. Perhaps cozenage will be required.
Consider tax effects in all of your financial decisions. There can be no fair taxation while governments spend money irresponsibly.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.
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