Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Hugh Mackenzie writes that the biggest problem with the Libs' closing tax loopholes for private corporations was the failure to push for far more tax fairness:
Any tax reform that isn’t just a give away creates winners and losers. If the goal is to make the tax system fairer, the majority of Canadians win—especially if the result in increased capacity to pay for public services. But, almost inevitably, the gains look pretty small and remote to most individual Canadians because they are spread out amongst so many of us.

The losers, on the other hand, are inevitably a concentrated group who know exactly who they are, who know exactly what they have at stake, and have the resources to fight back. That is, the rich and the powerful.
Any serious attempt to shift the course of the system towards fairness will generate ferocious opposition from vested interests. The corporate lobby’s wildly disproportionate response to what amounts to tinkering with the small business tax system at the margins should teach us that the opposition is never calibrated to the ambitiousness of the initiative.

If anything we do is going to generate hysteria from the concentrated few with vested interests, why not do something meaningful and take the debate head on with real energy and with stakes that are actually meaningful to the vast majority of Canadians who stand to benefit from a fairer tax system.

The risk in this debate is that the lesson learned is don’t mess with small business. The lesson should be go big or go home. If tax fairness for the majority is what you want, be prepared to fight for it.
- Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson examines how the passive investment loophole for Canadian corporations is enabling a small number of extremely wealthy people to avoid contributing their fair share. And Nicholas Shaxson points out that it's impossible for a country to achieve inclusive development if its only ambition is to be a tax haven.

- George Monbiot writes about a P3 arrangement which is resulting in the UK city of Sheffield having its trees massacred due to a road maintenance contract. And Jathan Sadowski offers a warning against allowing the corporate sector to take over even more governing functions (as a Google subsidiary is being allowed to do in one Toronto district).

- Joseph Stiglitz weighs in on the U.S.' growing problem of corporate monopolies which limit the choices and standard of living for citizens.

- And finally, Alexander Hart theorizes that a message of making life less complicated and stressful may offer a rallying point for progressives.

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