Monday, March 29, 2010

On plausibility

I'll agree with Devin that it's a plus that the Libs have decided to campaign on limiting further corporate tax cuts as a means of funding national programs. And I'll take his analysis a step further: not only is the idea a plus on its face, but it should also have a positive effect on Canada's wider political scene.

That's in part because multiparty acceptance of the idea that there's in fact some money available to accomplish important policy goals will make it harder for the Cons to campaign on doing nothing while inviting a vigorous debate on what priorities we should be pursuing. And in addition, it probably improves the likelihood of a coalition after the next election, as the Libs' insistence on corporate tax cuts made for their excuse for not wanting to cooperate during the 2008 election campaign.

That said, though, the Libs' latest move runs face-first into the criticism raised by Brian Topp last week, as corporate tax cuts jump to the head of the list of policies where the Libs' promises today don't seem to reflect their values in the recent past.

After all, it was the Chretien/Martin Libs who decided that social programs would be the main target of their budget cuts in the '90s, then made tax cuts their top priority after the budget was balanced. Indeed, the Libs spent a decade saying "wait 'til next mandate" to backers of the plans they're raising now, while finding plenty of money for a string of corporate tax cuts.

And that set of priorities didn't change even as the Libs moved into opposition. In fact, Stephane Dion pushed the Cons to cut further and faster - and as noted above, cited his insistence on further cuts as his reason why he didn't intend to cooperate with the NDP.

Which means that there's little reason to take seriously the idea that the Libs' basic values toward corporate tax cuts have changed no matter what Ignatieff says now. And there's little reason for voters to put their support behind a party pretending to be the NDP when the real thing is also on the ballot.

No comments:

Post a Comment