The HST is unjustifiable

I was dismayed to read Charles Jeanes’ letter insulting the intelligence of those who disagree with him in regard to the HST.

Re: “Eliminating the HST would be ‘stupid,’” July 1

I was dismayed to read Charles Jeanes’ letter insulting the intelligence of those who disagree with him in regard to the HST.

People do not oppose it “mostly because we did not like how Premier Gordon Campbell virtually lied to us,” but rather, because it is a bad tax.

That Campbell lied does, however, bring up the issue of lack of trust people have in the government he led.  Was he lying when he told us the tax was bad or lying when he told us the tax was good? I do not want my son growing up believing that the phrase “corrupt politician” is a redundancy.

Jeanes offers that “we did not stop the GST when Brian Mulroney brought [it],” without going on to mention that the tax was a major factor in Jean Chretien’s Liberals sweeping into power on the promise to abolish it. They reneged, of course, and one of Chretien’s cabinet had to be given the bum’s rush when he didn’t toe the line.

Make no mistake, we were force fed the GST, and because, as anyone who follows federal politics will tell you, the power is in the east, BC really had no say at all.

Jeanes then states as Tom Fletcher did, that “we got used to it.” I suppose one could get used to prostate exams if they were mandatory upon purchasing items.

No one is debating that taxes are necessary, it’s who pays them that’s at issue.

Jeanes goes on to state what has commonly been accepted as fact — that death and taxes are unavoidable.  While this is true for commoners, it certainly doesn’t apply to the extremely wealthy or corporations. As any skilled money manager can attest, taxes are definitely avoidable, just not perhaps entirely. And as for death, even that’s avoidable if you’re a corporation like AIG, GM,  Bank of America et al, just signal the politicians you’ve bought to throw you a bailout.

And let’s take a hard look at Quantitative Easement.   Jeanes somehow misses the fact that the trillions of dollars borrowed by government and poured into banks is in effect co-signed by taxpayers. The Dow did bounce up, but now comes the real test. Ben Bernanke has stated that there will be no QE3, effectively telling Wall Street it must go cold turkey from its addiction to “free” money.  Tim Giethner, the US treasurer, can’t give away T-bills and sees the very real specter of stagflation descending on the country when and if the greenback becomes funny money. No wonder he is resigning. (And looting the federal pension plans to make ends meet must have been hard on him, too.) For Jeanes to suggest the economy has been righted by QE1 and 2 is extremely premature.

The most disturbing sentiment in his letter, however, is his belief that corporations are all-powerful: “We are on our knees before them, afraid they will take their capital abroad.” And because of globalization, they can indeed take their capital elsewhere, but they cannot take our rivers, our minerals or our forests. It’s up to us to cut a better deal for ourselves, and to do that, we must tax them fairly on their sales, not give them carte blanche just because they’ve got a nickel to invest.

If we were wise, we could take the seven per cent of BC revenues we earn from Crown corporations and do the same. As for being “on our knees before them,” it brings to mind the adage: Better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees.

Mike Pearce



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