Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A noteworthy admission

Yes, most of Neil Reynolds' latest consists of a breathtaking combination of torqued numbers and patently false assertions. But there's one aspect of his column that you can indeed take to the bank - at least if he and his corporatist ilk get their way:
Unless the federal government prevails and unless the rate-cutting provinces prevail, Canada’s competitive advantage – “the lowest corporate tax rates in the G7” – could well prove transient. In corporate tax rates, the race to the bottom has only just begun.
Never mind of course that we're already at the end of a decade of constant corporate tax cuts which have produced none of the promised economic benefits - and never mind that anybody paying the slightest bit of attention would recognize that Reynolds' argument about changing competitive advantages is exactly why corporate tax cuts are self-defeating, as additional steps in the race to the bottom simply encourage other jurisdictions to follow suit.

Instead, the most important takeaway is that no matter how much free money the corporate sector has already been handed, it still has no interest in doing anything but finding ways to put an even larger chunk of the economy in its pocket at the expense of the public. Which should put to rest the oft-floated theory that we should just grin and bear the next set of corporate tax cuts (whether now or in a few years) in hopes that it will someday pay off in the form of greater public resources - as the billions in giveaways to big business will ultimately only hand it more ability to dictate the terms of public policy.

Of course, it's not hard to see how the business sector would love to see the race to the bottom reach the point where governments outright pay the business sector for nominally providing jobs while executives and shareholders skim off ever-increasing profits. But it's long past time for the rest of us to demand a better deal rather than buying the corporate spin.

Update: Erin has more.

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