Getting the bigger tax picture
Remember those optical illusion posters that were big in the early 1990s? You know the ones with all the little dots that you had to stare at for a long time and eventually a picture of a dinosaur or Mickey Mouse or the Mona Lisa would appear?
Take a quick second to stare at this list. Don’t worry, I’ll wait....
Crazy what appears, right? A list like that starts to reveal the bigger picture about what Canada is all about.
The difference between this picture and ones that jump out of those multi-dot deals is that what you see here depends upon you as an individual. How Ottawa spends our money will spark emotions based on your personal outlook and value system.
One of the most upsetting parts about the list is the heftiest line item is one we get nothing for. Perhaps we did at one time, but right now $615.35 is being sucked out just to pay down the debt. Reminders of tough economic times, poor policy and questionable decisions in Ottawa.
The other big line items are not really surprising. Health transfers, old age security, EI, defence and transfer payments are all major federal government responsibilities.
Some lines are sure to get your blood boiling. We’re shelling out $8.83 for VIA Rail and the Canada Council for the Arts gets a pathetic $4.17? That’s just wrong.
There are plenty more, but I’ll let you debate and discuss amongst yourselves. I could write volumes about the details of the list, but that’s not where I’m heading.
There’s far too much waste at all levels of government and we should always push our leaders to do better. But overall, I don’t mind paying taxes. The list to the right shows just how much the federal government has going on and for the most part it should be a matter of pride that Ottawa manages to hold it all together.
When I stare hard at the dots, however, one picture that jumps off the page is that every dollar collected counts. If the government doesn’t collect, something has to give.
Perhaps it’s because I recently returned from a soccer weekend south of the border, but what this list makes clear is that money spent outside of Canada hurts this country’s ability to take care of business.
The lure of shopping in the United States has never been stronger. The greenback is slumping alongside the American economy. They are blowing out stock and the deals are fantastic.
But every dollar spent down south is one less dollar earned in Canada. One less dollar that goes towards contributing to this list.
Readers have likely grown tired of my shop local rants. I could go on about how the small shop owner on Baker Street consistently contributes to your child’s soccer team, the latest fundraising walk or Capitol Theatre productions in order to make our community stronger. But I won’t.
Like those optical illusion posters, nobody can make you see the picture. It’s up to you to figure out what you see when you stare hard enough.
Contact Bob Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.