More Tax-Payers

Thunder Bay, Ontario - Tuesday, June 15, 2003 - by: Richard P. Neumann
You have presented a well written piece whose foundation is not without considerable merit. As a Progressive Conservative, I've been concerned for some time that conservatives have associated themselves too closely with the mantra of lower taxation. While a reasonable and competitive tax policy is certainly important, lower taxes should not be the goal or vision of any political party. Rather, taxation policy is a means to a greater end, not the end in itself.
There is no doubt that the tax burden falls too heavily on some, and not enough on others. But the real problem is as you have identified. The middle class in this country continues to shrink, and with it the available tax pool. We do not possess enough innovators, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers. It would be folly to believe that we can abandon the most successful wealth creation mechanism the world has ever known, but capitalism depends heavily on the ability of its practitioners to compete, and we appear to be failing as a nation in providing our best and brightest with the tools necessary to do just that.
Canadians must come to realize that taxation is not only necessary, it is a societal duty. Having said that, how we choose to spend those tax dollars is at least as important as how that money is collected. It is folly to divorce societal progress from wealth. One necessarily leads to the other. They feed off each other. The wealthier the society, the more potential there is for societal progress. The more progressive the society, the more capable it is in generating wealth.
Since the early 1980's, conservatives in North America have been the driving force behind connecting wealth to social progress. It was a successful argument and has resulted in an informed public that no longer fails to see the connection between the revenue and expenditure of government. An unfortunate bi-product of this shift to more conservative fiscal policy has been a lack of focus being paid to the important role societal progress plays in wealth creation. This equally critical piece of the puzzle may well dominate political discourse in the coming decades. The time of Reagan-era conservatism is quickly coming to an end, and a more balanced political mantra will eventually evolve from it. When that link is finally established, politicians will find Canadians more than ready for policy that once again inspires them to collective effort.

Richard Neumann



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