I regard the Conference Board of Canada with deep suspicion. It plagiarizes reports and opposes universal healthcare. Which is why I was so impressed to see an op-ed by its economist, Glen Hodgson, arguing that it is high time we started treating tax breaks like the government expenditures they really are: not spending per se, but willingly foregone revenue that could have been used to balance the budget or, in good times, fund new programs.
Of course, in his scathing review of what he apparently feels are tax breaks that could be put on the chopping block, Hodgson conveniently forgets to include the massive corporate income tax cuts implemented recently, which have drained billions of dollars per year from the public coffers on behalf of large corporations. Given the Conference Board’s origins and funding, I have to wonder whether attempting to leave corporate tax cuts off the negotiating table is a deliberate ploy by Hodgson.
Neveretheless, it’s nice to see a think tank economist join the ranks of the rational. By way of contrast, this week has also seen Harper’s favourite economist Jack Mintz, and my favourite tobacco-defending hyper-ideological wingnuts, the Fraser Institute, in the news braying for more tax cuts. Unlike Hodgson, Mintz continues to cling desperately to his belief that cutting taxes actually increases tax revenue, a claim so absurd it probably qualifies for James Randi’s million-dollar prize. It’s nice to see that taking a professorship at a publicly funded university has in no way clouded Mintz’s vision of a government-free world.Tweet