The Fraser Institute released a report this morning that shows the average Canadian spends more on taxes than on anything else.
In 2013, the study finds that the average Canadian family earned $77,381 and paid $32,369 in total taxes (or 41.8 per cent of income) compared to 36.1 per cent for food, shelter and clothing combined.
By comparison, in 1961 the average family earned approximately $5,000 and spent much more of its income on food, shelter and clothing (56.5 per cent) while $1,675 went to taxes (33.5 per cent).
The total tax bill represents both visible and hidden taxes paid to the federal, provincial and local governments. This includes income taxes, payroll taxes, health taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, fuel taxes, vehicle taxes, import taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, and more.
Since 1961, the average Canadian family’s total tax bill has increased by 1,832 per cent, dwarfing increases in shelter costs (1,375 per cent), clothing (620 per cent) and food (546 per cent).
Of course, as John Moore of Newstalk1010 pointed out this morning, they chose the 1961 date for a reason. 1961 is the year before Canada introduced in subsequent years the Canada Pension Plan, unemployment insurance and universal healthcare. That’s fine and dandy John but, as your panel pointed out, are we getting value for the money we spend on these services? Could we do better if were able to invest the money we spend on taxes in a different way? And when is it enough? Should government expand to include even more areas of our private lives? In Ontario, we apparently just decided that government can grow even more with a new pension plan.
(And is it just me or does anyone else notice that John has increasingly become a shill for Unifor? I know he’s a spokesman for a water company but does he have a contract with Unifor, I wonder?). He certainly loves the t-shirt.
Beyond the economic issue, there are some fundamental principles at stake. In a previous post, I told you about the Danish tax that places a 180% fee on cars. Apparently, the main reason they do this is not for the environment but to ensure equality. Danes do not want some Danes to have access to goods or services that other Danes do not have which is ridiculous. The government restricts individual freedom and forces the outcomes it wants. Of course John and his Unifor buddies would say that what the government wants we want – we voted for them. But is that really true? Consider: in the last Ontario election, only 52 per cent of the population voted and the Liberals won with 42 per cent of that. That’s pathetic and hardly an endorsement of bigger government.
Taxes are unavoidable for the most part – you pay most of them even if you don’t use the services. Some of these taxes are fine are far as it goes but where is the point when government takes too much from individuals and makes some of the most important life decisions on our behalf?
I say we are beyond that point.