Tax system not meant to punish the 'productive'

Dear editor,

I'm sure Gary Hein (Recdord, March 20) meant to come across as a pragmatist, unfortunately, his letter merely makes him seem selfish and elitist.

The line, "The human animal has become so increasingly self-centred," which he uses to condemn anyone who believes in communal sharing of wealth rather applies to him and his ilk who view everything they have as having come from their efforts alone.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hein and those Ayn Rand-inspired thinkers like him, there is no one who has not benefited from "the community as a whole."

It is a fact that all of the things Mr. Hein mentions, transportation, health, education, etc. had their genesis in public funds. There isn't a proud and mighty capitalist in the land who hasn't come into contact and been nurtured by some publicly funded institution or other.

My guess is that Mr. Hein, who I know is some sort of financial consultant but likely not terribly wealthy, most probably owes whatever standing he has in life to the support of public institutions financed by taxed wealth.

It's a lot like those who advocate for a two-tier health system yet have flourished under a socialized medical system for decades. As far as paying for "unnecessary procedures" well, many things are unnecessary to those who don't need them until they actually do.

Perhaps Mr. Hein has been fortunate enough to have always had adequate employment so that he would be able to pay for whatever procedures he has required over the years.

Now, while it might sound reasonable to people that those who can afford it should pay user fees — and it's not clear that Mr. Hein envisions an ability-to-pay-based user fee system — in reality, removing tax funding from the health system, again as an example, means that there is less money in the beginning to pay for and maintain physical resources.

His contention that "the more affluent a society becomes, the more socialistic that its constituents become" is really quite laughable and his examples ridiculous.

One of the times of greatest membership in Communist and socialist parties was in the midst of the Great Depression.

Perhaps Gary Hein would be happier if he and his like-minded compatriots emulated the characters in Rand's Atlas Shrugged and took themselves off to live in a happy libertarian utopia where they could pay for everything out of their own pockets and leave the rest of us poor, benighted souls to build a society which is based on a fair distribution of the wealth that we all create.

No, Mr. Hein, the tax system does not punish the "productive" among us. It is meant to — although it does not currently function this way — ensure that wealth we have all created by our labour power is not hoarded by a wealthy few.

This is the only way in which capitalism can be tolerated by working people. Of course, all this wealth in North America is originally based on slavery, abuse of labouring people,  and the theft of First Nations land.)

Those who think like Mr. Hein have elected right wing governments from the municipal to the federal level, based on promises of tax cuts. Of course, what is less talked about is the concomitant rise in user fees, which the same people then complain about.

Perhaps I miss the point of Mr. Hein's letter and right now he is laughing and saying "gotcha!" for it is hard to believe that anyone could openly declare themselves so blatantly and proudly self-centred.

Stephen Harvey,


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