Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The reviews are in

Jeffrey Simpson:
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.
Maybe the Prime Minister misspoke. Maybe he was just using a figure of speech, although he could have said something like “all taxes are a necessary evil.” But even that “necessary evil” idea is different from saying all taxes are bad, because the “evil” of taxation is “necessary,” as indeed it is in any civilized society.

Presumably, there lurks inside the Prime Minister an anger about much of contemporary society that has been built with taxpayers' money, an anger contained by the political reality that the Prime Minister can't do much about this state of affairs.

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