Saturday, February 16, 2008

Real Tax Relief for Albertans part II

Under Kevin Lynch, probably the most influential man in Canada you've never heard of, the Federal Department of Finance did what it could as a part of the civil service to push for lower corporate taxes.

While it is true that the civil service is non-partisan, the fact remains that there are right and wrong answers to certain economic questions (or at least answers that are better supported by evidence and theory) and reductions of corporate taxes are now widely recognized as being amongst the most effective policies for stimulating economic growth.

The popular prejudice against corporations is overwhelming, and if the first policy I were to mention while meeting riding residents was a plan to reduce corporate taxes, I would be promptly tuned out. It is strange, in a way, because corporations don't get a vote, so how are politicians in their pocket? It is true that corporations donate to political campaigns, but both the PC and Liberal parties have received hundreds of thousands more in corporate donations than my party.

The fact of the matter is that there is little or no evidence that increases in corporate taxes are paid by the "rich". It is difficult to determine the extent to which suppliers, consumers, shareholders, and employees share the burden. Of particular note, however, is the fact that at the federal level, tax revenues from corporations have RISEN despite cuts in the nominal statutory rate. This may be due to the Laffer curve effect, where due to the law of diminishing returns, the incentivizing benefit of lower taxes outweighs the lower rate of taxation, and thus leading to a counterintuitive higher realization of tax revenue. See Iceland for an example. As an aside, I'll link to Wikipedia for a lot of this issues not because Wikipedia is an authoritative source but because it will provide some introduction without getting into the issue of which (non-Wikipedia) expert one should cite.

Now I'll turn the microphone over to Jack Mintz.

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