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Cameron's House of Fun

Fatherhood, politics, education, random thoughts (heavy on the random thoughts) and stuff (always stuff).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Harper's First Budget (with update)

Ok, look, politically, and from a strategic point of view the thing was brilliant.

The only thing anyone who isn't a wonk is going to remember is that there were tax cuts. All the details etc are lost behind the spin.

But my problem is this, I keep hearing how there are going to be choices and there is going to be help for people.

And then I see the $1200 childcare/child bonus/buy off for the middle class numbers and I laugh. Bitterly.

Look, if you're a single parent, or even two parents making minimum wage, the extra $1200 per kid (before taxes) does not represent a choice. After taxes it represents a joke. Depending on your family configuration and your income levels, you'll see (and this is off the top of my head from memory from all the articles I've read) somewhere around high $600 to mb, if you're lucky, $900ish of this money.

If the CPC wants to recognize the work of parents who stay at home to raise their kids, then great. Let's do that. Let's call it the "Stay at home parents equalization payment". But pretending that $1200 equals choice for daycare etc is a lie.

How about the $80 text book tax credit for students? Well that would cover mb one book for most students. Maybe. But beyond that, it's back to the whole "how does this represent help?" thing. I'm just not sure that $80 is the difference between going or not going to school for most people. I know that there are a lot of other things aimed at students, but it's the ones that are being trumpeted that I'm most interested in.

Oh, speaking of trumpeted, how about the GST cut?

Well let's see, it ammounts to (depending on who you listen to and the mess that is my memory) about $100 or so a year for the average person.

Now I'd have loved to have had it when we bought this house, or for a trip, or any of those big ticket items that a middle classish guy like me buys, but the reality is that the bottom end of the socio-economic scale doesn't buy big ticket items. Ever.

So, for those living at or below the poverty line, there will be little change in their lives due to a 1% change in the GST, simply because they probably only buy things that are already GST free. Like, you know, food. Oh, and as an added bonus, the bottom tax bracket was clawwed back to 15.5% from 15%, to pay for the GST cut that won't serve the people in this tax bracket.

Another thought, one of my big concerns for years with the whole soverignty movement here in Quebec is the whole "never you mind, we'll figure that out later" attitude. In this budget, the environment gets the same treatment from the CPC. Sure there are issues with Kyoto, but what you got over there in that bag of your's that you can replace it with? Oh, promices, with no programs, to reach targets that you have yet to specifiy? Oh, that sounds great. Yay! A majority for you!

Anyway, like I said, what 90% of the people will remember is that there were TAX CUTS! and that the GST WAS CUT! and the rest will fade into memory.

The Quebec government just confirmed that the $1200 will be subject on provincial taxation... hahahahahahah... choices eh?


At 7:39 p.m., Anonymous TZ said...

Hi Cameron,

Great to see you post a political piece.

Is that 80$ tax credit for books the real value of the credit, or does it get dumbed down further after taxes?


At 7:59 p.m., Blogger Cameron Campbell said...

You know what? I wish I had a good answer to that... I'll poke about...

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At 6:25 p.m., Blogger Tricia L said...

Kinda fittin', ya thinkee, that we have this here spam.

'Cause that's all this "Cuts!" chicken schwarma is. Useless white-noise spin, utterly useless in the end. Taking up space where valuable debate, focus or laws should be. And choking us to death in the end.

I'll stop now before I get depressing.


P.S. looks like an editor for a publisher might be interested in something of mine. Ping me in iChat..


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