Friday, December 16, 2005

Canada's leaders English debate: Election 2006

The most glaring gaffe in the Election debate was how Paul Martin answered the question from a disabled women who doesn't work: how would she benefit from income tax cuts as opposed to the GST cut, which would benefit her since she spends money? Martin said this in response:

My government "provided a substantial tax cut for the middle class and the less fortunate." "Because that is much more effective and much fairer to reduce personal income taxes, rather than reducing the GST because it leaves a lot more money in the pockets of tax payers."

Wrong answer. She doesn't have an income. Therefore, Martin needs one detail to show that the income tax cut "much fairer" to her? Perhaps since there isn't any. This was a huge mistake in my view. A lot of people don't have a large enough income to get benefits, especially "the less fortunate." What about young people? Disabled? Retirees? Income tax are not bad by any means. But answering the question in that manner is playing dodgeball.

If you think I should be talking about Harper re: same-sex marriage, think again. His position has been clear for years and years. It hasn't changed. Can we let it go? Besides, most Canadians agree with Harper's position on same-sex marriage according to a poll this past weekend. Can we stop calling it controversial?


Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I only watched part of the debate last night (and I didn't see this actual question), but I don't think Martin's gaffe is as glaring as you make it out to be.

Just because the lady is disabled does not mean that she does not have an income. She may have income resulting from a number of sources, including: employment, business, property, capital gains or other. For disabled people they may qualify for tax credits and tax deductions. The value of any tax deduction that she gets is the expense multiplied by her marginal tax bracket. Thus when Martin says that he is reducing the marginal income tax rates, he does reduce the amount of tax a taxpayer will pay, but he also reduces the value of any tax deduction the disabled will get.

Also the value of these deductions for disabled people may be transferred to another taxpayer (i.e. spouse, parent of the disabled person) who are earning income in their own capacity.

I think this may have been the point of the question, as it highlights the difference b/w a consumption tax and an income tax, and the benefit of any associated tax cut.


Jonathan said...


The way the question was worded, ie. she hasn't been in the workforce for 20 years, tells me that she likely have an income. After all, why would she say the GST benefits her but she can't see how the income tax cut would benefit her. Thus, your argument about tax deductions is pretty much void, since the only money she is getting appears to come from the government/welfare.

It was a gaffe. Martin obviously didn't catch that she didnt work. Or he ignored it.

Erik Sorenson said...

Just the tip of the iceberg, which segues nicely to my new post:

The ballot box question. Enjoy!