Roundup: Disingenuous tax concerns

If there’s one thing that the federal government’s announced changes to small business tax rules for the purposes of closing tax avoidance loopholes has done, it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of comments from the “Tax Bad! Hulk Smash!” crowd, who have come up with all manner of misleading talking points and crocodile tears, while interested parties (such as doctors and farmers) who have been using these loopholes to avoid paying taxes are crying poverty in the media, where there has been very little pushback from credible economists to these sob stories. Particularly galling are those who insist that the ability to engage in income splitting is somehow more virtuous because they’re small business owners, as though there hasn’t been a whole cohort of people who would love income splitting to allow their spouse to be a stay-at-home parent (which is a whole entire other public policy discussion about the value of women in the workforce).

And lo and behold, Jason Kenney decided to try to get his kicks in despite the fact that it’s a federal issue and he’s currently running in the provincial sphere. The problem? That he’s offering a completely disingenuous position.

And that’s the rub – these changes aren’t affecting struggling small business owners. They’re not affecting their ability to keep the business liquid, or to save for retirement, because those haven’t been affected (as we recall, Kevin Milligan has explained this several times). And for the “Tax Bad! Hulk Smash!” crowd to try and cast these changes in such a manner is utterly ludicrous. It’s an attempt to paint the Liberals with a brush of being job killers and high taxers, which is not what these changes are about. It’s about ensuring that people don’t avoid paying taxes by virtue of these measures, so unless they’re keen to promote other forms of tax avoidance or evasion, trying to close loopholes shouldn’t be treated as an added burden to people who are doing well for themselves.

Good reads:

  • As can be expected, the PM and leaders of the opposition parties all tweeted condemnations and condolences for the terrorist attack in Barcelona.
  • Here is your look at day two of NAFTA talks. The Americans have been trying to steer discussions in terms of trade balance, which is a terrible measure.
  • The corrected census data shows that the share of Anglophones in Quebec is shrinking, not growing. Not that it’ll stop the call for yet more language laws.
  • Health Canada may be trying to water down regulations stemming from legislation on reporting adverse drug reactions.
  • There are calls for Health Canada to change the way it regulates sunblock, so that it’s more easily accessible.
  • The justice department is conducting a survey on sentencing including mandatory minimums, apparently in advance of planned chances wo the Criminal Code.
  • The Immigration and Refugee Board is calling for an independent audit of their processes related to immigration detention following some court decisions.
  • The federal government’s donation-matching programme for the famine in East Africa raised $21.3 million – one of the smallest amounts to date.
  • Andrew Scheer has announced that he won’t give any more interviews to The Rebel, while his former campaign manager severed his board ties with the outlet.
  • Chris Selley takes a look at the implosion of Rebel Media and why it changed now.
  • Supriya Dwivedi talks about the choice that Andrew Scheer must make when it comes to the Rebel and alt-right causes.
  • Robert Hiltz looks at why centrist agitation in the Conservative ranks could spell trouble for Andrew Scheer.
  • Kady O’Malley looks at the big items looming on the Parliamentary agenda when they return in September.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: Disingenuous tax concerns

  1. With respect, Mr. Smith, you have missed the details of these tax changes if you think they do not drastically impact retirement savings. One of the proposals on investment income inside a company directly impacts how small business owners save for retirement, as does the proposal about no longer using family trusts to access capital gains exemptions for family members. Business owners do struggle to start/build/grow businesses (and increase employment while they risk to do it), so the tax proposals do negatively impact everyday small business owners.

    • Well said. I just love Stephen Gordon’s revealing tweet…. “If your problem is you earn too much $$…” What is too much $$???

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