Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rebates ≠ tax cuts

We seem to have angered some Hudak supporters by alleging that his rebate programs would not constitute tax cuts.

This is puzzling to me, since all rebate programs proposed by Liberals are opposed as "big government socialism!" or something like that by Conservatives, but when it's a Tory policy, it's a tax cut.

In the comments of Hugh's post on whether Hudak is the new Tory, someone asked how a rebate is any different than a tax cut. The argument is that at the end of the day you end up with more of your money (true, though you also end up with more of mine) and therefore you are paying fewer taxes (false).

Tax cuts are when everyone sends less money to the government, not when the government benevolently decides to send some of it back.

Consider this comparison: What if Dalton McGuinty had called his handouts right before the next election (convenient, isn't it?) a "sales tax rebate" to help increase economic activity while Ontario's economy adjusts to a harmonized sales tax? Would supporters of Conservative rebates suddenly support McGuinty's handout? I doubt it. And they shouldn't! It's awful, blatant vote buying that everyone should oppose. They shouldn't oppose it less when the vote buying panders to some (Conservative-supporting) demographics over others. Unfortunately, at the end of the day support for these ideas comes from nothing other than who's announcing them in politics, and I have no patience for that sort of inconsistency.

That said, I do have more tolerance for some of these social programs than others. I blogged this morning about having mixed feelings about Elliott announcing she would increase the tax rebates for charitable donations. I said I have mixed feelings there - I don't like the government encouraging any kind of behaviour, even good behaviour - and my feelings were mixed only because of her kind words towards the effectiveness of charities over government.

But encouraging people to make charitable donations is a lot more excusable (in my opinion, anyway) than encouraging people who, for whatever reason, have decided not to have children or to have them yet to have them in spite of the fact that they might not be able to afford it or don't want to make the sacrifices you should make if you're having children. If you're not ready for kids, the government shouldn't be trying to push them down your throat, and so I have no qualms about going after Hudak for that nonsense here.

At any rate, if Tim Hudak is in favour of lower taxes and that's why you're supporting him, that's fantastic. Perhaps you should encourage him to announce it.

Cross posted to The Shotgun.

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