Econ 101: what's with the hate-on for taxes?

Submitted by Nancy aka money... on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 23:35.

Don't all lunge at me at once. I'm not about to bend over for CRA or anything - I'm as aggressive as your next ave. joe canadian on my tax returns - but I gotta ask: when did we get such a hate-on for paying taxes? Be honest: the #1 thing we all wanna know about The Budget is, "how much of a tax break are They giving, and who gets it, and am I on the losing end?" But a bit of devil's advocate here. 1. Isn't the They actually Us? I mean we're not conquered peoples (pardon -most of us aren't) giving our money to Nero here. We're a civilized country that's collectively opted to build a society together, and pool our money to do so. 2. Specifically:

  • while Michael Moore was a bit optimistic about us, the fact remains most of us have confidence that if we need emergency care, we'll get it (and for every horror story, I've heard stories of remarkable care provided by our health system, haven't you?)
  • I got an amazing education for about $50K all told. I'm still annoyed that I had a $30K student debt but I also know that I cost the taxpayer about $350k - and so did you, if you got 4 years of education after high school.
  • Oh, and my grades 1-12 were paid by taxes.
  • And I don't know where you walk, but I walk on reasonably kept sidewalks, and most cars stop for me by these efficient little red circles of light - sometimes I even get to push a button to make the cars stop!
  • And when something a little freaky happens in my neighbourhood I just push 3 buttons on my phone: 911 and help is on its way.
  • And I don't personally want to help unemployed get employed, or personally provide refuge to kids whose parents have abandoned them, or the stray cats for that matter, but I'm sure glad they're getting at least a baseline of help.
So I guess I wonder if we're being a bit facile when we moan about our taxes. Wouldn't our time be better spent asking questions like, "what kind of society do I want to live in?" and "how do I want my elected officials to allocate our pool of money?" and "how does Canada compare to other countries who handle taxes differently, and what do I make of those differences?" Over to you: are you bitter about the taxes you pay? are we truly overtaxed here? what would you give up by way of services in exchange for fewer taxes? Why?


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