Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harper: Spending like Keynes , more radical tax-beliefs than Friedman

... or in the words of Jeffrey Simpson in today's Globe and Mail,

"There is no “school,” to use Stephen Harper's word, anywhere in economics that says “no taxes are good taxes.” Not even Milton Friedman and the Chicago school think that. Nor do Mr. Harper's former mentors at the University of Calgary.

They, like right-wing politicians, might think taxes are too high, maybe way too high. They might think the private sector can do lots of things better than the public sector. They might believe taxes should be lower. But anyone who says “no taxes are good taxes” and “I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes” is wrong economically, and very, very scary socially and politically.

Only libertarian anarchists believe that all taxes are bad, and that society can get along without them. "
Simpson goes on to point out the problem Harper's expressed beliefs present for even a minimalist libertarian paradise. Add to that the massive deficit spending that his conservative government has racked up and the untenability of Harper's "have-my-tax-cake-and-eat-it-too" is obvious. We've seen what that kind of effect that approach to federal budgets has had after 8 years of a "no-tax-but-spend" conservative like George W. Bush.

At any rate, the kind of radicalism inherent to Harper's position on taxes ought to be cause for serious concern for Canadian voters, especially given his aspirations for a majority government free of the constraints of requiring opposition confidence and support.

"Very scary", indeed.

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