Apr 16, 2011

Doug Saunders’ lastest “progressive” tax argument, insults intelligence

Doug Saunders, author of Arrival City, has just hatched a fledging argument aimed at perpetrating identify theft on the progressive tax movement in his article entitled: “Abolishing Corporate Tax is a Progressive Cause.”

In an effort to provide sputtering Neo-Cons with a life-preserver following the near-universal refutation of their “Corporate tax hikes kill jobs,” position, Saunders claims progressive taxationists have it backwards.

To establish his “progressive-cred,” Saunders claims to have predicted the U.S. recession the moment the Republicans sent him “...a second cheque in the mail,” amounting to $700.

Quickly shifting gears, he describes corporate tax as having a “reverse Robin Hood” effect, because “big corporations have no trouble avoiding it.”

Additionally, taxation allows for too much power in the hands of corporations, according the Saunders. Presumably, he’s suggesting a corporation as a primary funder of government, would hold enormous sway via their ability to withhold payment.

He discounts, of course, the enormous sway corporations already hold via the millions they spend annually on lobbyists and donations to friendly political parties and politicians.

He discounts as well, the diminished power governments retain comparative to increasingly-powerful corporations, as their tax rates plummet. Wal-Mart, for instance, paying its workforce the absolute bare minimum allowable by law, currently generates more annual profit than all municipal governments, and an increasing number of countries.

The U.S. and Canada's respective Tax Revenue Agencies waste no time hammering workers for missing a payment, threatening fines and even jail time in many cases. Corporations, however, should not be held to the same standard according to Saunders. His solution?

“He [Obama] should have talked about abolishing it [corporate tax]. So should Canadian and European leaders.”

“Since corporations do not physically exist,” he says, “corporate tax is ultimately paid by individuals…” a phenomenon he blames on progressive taxationist theory, such as that promoted in documentaries like, The Corporation.

Most classic bait-and-switch arguments contain one or more severe contradictions. Saunders’ does not disappoint when he calls for a tax system which “…would place the burden entirely on personal income tax.”

Yes, you’ve read correctly. He does damn corporate tax on one hand for being a tax borne ultimately by individuals, while lauding on the other hand personal income tax for being a tax borne by individuals.

The economic reality is that personal income tax is just as easy to avoid by the rich and their high paid accountants – working year-round to identify off-shore accounts, loopholes, corporate-expense masks, etc. In stark contrast, a summer student at H&R Block spends 40 minutes once a year filing taxes for the rest of us.

Doug Saunders true aim here, while donning progressive-sheeps clothing to articulate it: is to provide Neo-Cons with updated economic spin to justify further reductions in corporate taxation rates. Further, he's pegged a target: 0% taxation rate for corporations.

Laughable, really, considering not even the queen gets it that good any more. In Canada, the decline piece of government revenue pie generated by taxing rich corporations, bears a direct correlation to government’s diminishing ability to adequately fund our health-care system.

Instead of examining this unsustainable economic direction, however, right wing politicians avoid scrutiny entirely by throwing out the tired old catch-phrase, “you can’t just throw money at the health-care crises.”

Funny how you never hear them use that phrase in same sentence as “campaign donations.”

 

Aaron Ekman is the president of the North Central Labour Council, and resides in Prince George British Columbia.

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