By David A. McGregor (guest opinion)
Here we go again.
Another corporate-funded private think-tank, the Fraser Institute, telling us the evils of taxation. If we only paid fewer taxes, we would have more money to spend on ourselves, have more freedom and the economy would benefit from such policies.
Well, as anybody with a pulse knows, we the general public pay higher taxes because the corporations of this country have been contributing less to the country’s treasury for decades.
In 1961, the year the Institute’s study begins, Canada had no universal health care, limited public education, limited public transportation systems and the Trans-Canada Highway wasn’t even open. There were no Child Tax Benefit, Guaranteed Income Supplement or Canada Pension Plan (created 1965).
If we don’t pay higher taxes, because the businesses won’t, for these programs, who will? Our secret Santa?
Big business has been riding the gravy train for decades ... and it has only been getting better. Here are some facts to wrap your head around:
In 2012, “Corporate Tax Freedom Day” was at the end of January. According to Fraser Institute, our “Tax Freedom Day” wasn’t until June 11.
Federal corporate tax rates were 41 per cent in 1961. As of 2013, they are now 15 per cent.
Corporate income taxes in 2012 amounted to only 7.85 per cent of all government revenues, down from 10.1 per cent in 2000, and an average of 11 per cent in the 1960s and ’70s.
Business investment in research and development has fallen from 1.13 per cent of GDP in 2000 to 0.88 per cent of GDP in 2012.
Investment in employee training and skills development is down by 40 per cent since the 1990s. Their after tax profit margins rose from 6.9 per cent in 2000 to 8.1 per cent in 2012.
Between 2000 and 2012, the total cash reserves of private, non-financial private corporations in Canada grew from $182 to $541 billion, an increase of over 300 per cent.
The average CEO compensation at Canada’s largest non-financial corporations was 171 times the average Canadian worker’s salary in 2012.
From 1975-2013, the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has remained flat. The average full-time minimum wage earner received on average $20,989 annually.
What is the Fraser Institute anyway? As stated on its website, its “vision is a free and prosperous world where individuals benefit from greater choice, competitive markets, and personal responsibility.” Fraser hopes to starve the government of funds in an effort to end all the programs we Canadians depend on. After all, as their above statement reveals, government involvement is not part of its vision for our country.
A few facts about the Fraser Institute they don’t make public:
Its 51 full-time employees earned an average $107,000 in 2011. This is double the average government salary.
Its executive salaries ranged between $158,000 and $407,000 in 2011.
It is registered as a federal charity, so it is exempt from paying tax on its income and can issue tax receipts for the gifts that it receives, which means that its donors get a tax reduction as well.
In 2011, according to the Canada Revenue Agency website for registered charity information returns, it handed out tax receipts on $3.2 million in donations, and its revenue report records $3.7 million in gifts from other charities.
As American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author Oliver Wendell Holmes once claimed, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”
David A. McGregor, Stratford is a UPEI graduate, lived in South Korea for 11 years including during the Asian financial crisis and is a graduate of IFSE Institute Mutual Fund Dealers Program.