HST not progressive tax, and is step in wrong direction

Dear editor,
A letter was published in your Feb. 16 issue under the puzzling headline of “Embrace HST as progressive change.”

Dear editor,A letter was published in your Feb. 16 issue under the puzzling headline of “Embrace HST as progressive change.”A progressive tax is one that increases with ability to pay. A socially progressive tax is selective, discouraging undesirable consumption (alcohol, fossil fuels) while encouraging beneficial activity (recreation, sustainable energy).HST is neither: it is flat and blind.Canada and similar countries have followed a very simple economic/taxation trajectory over the past century: At the outbreak of World War I, economic inequality between the rich and poor had reached a climax. Income tax was introduced in 1917 to address the war debts, and it became more equitable and efficient (as did society itself) over the next 50 years.For the past three decades, income tax rates have flattened, and wealth increasingly flows to the few, while the old spectres of homelessness, soup kitchens and food banks have re-emerged.In the U.S.A. today, the poor and the wealthy now pay almost the same fraction of their incomes in taxes. The result is an increasingly polarized and dysfunctional society.We have been conditioned to think that economic inequality is necessary to motivate people to greater productivity, but the facts state exactly the opposite.The Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden) have the most income equality and the highest per capita income. Countries like Haiti and Congo lie at the other extreme: most unequal and poorest. It’s interesting to check this out for yourself on Wikipedia, under the search terms “income inequality” and “GDP per capita.” The pattern is striking!Why is our government raising taxes on individuals (that new house will cost you $30,000 more with HST!), while lowering corporate taxes? Why do you pay 12 per cent to move money from one pocket to another?Why does Canada oppose even a 0.05 per cent tax on international currency exchange? This “Tobin tax” is supported by major G20 countries, and would raise about $40 billion a year to mitigate global problems such as climate change and poverty.An ideal tax structure should be simple and fair. A progressive tax based on family income, minus deductions for savings, retirement planning, education, charities and some homeowner costs is still the best way to achieve this.The HST is a step in the wrong direction.Chris Aikman,Comox

Comox Valley Record