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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quote of the day

From your favourite Alberta Marxist Kevin Taft:

Taft said when oil wealth takes the place of taxes, “the full development of democracy is inhibited.“When you pay your taxes, you expect to be represented, so when you drill for wealth and thereby bypass taxes, you also bypass representation.”

Posted by Darcey on March 29, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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So all these corporations that pay taxes would, in Taft's world, either stop paying taxes or receive voting rights?

How progressive of you Kevin!

Posted by: Feynman and Coulter's Love Child | 2006-03-29 5:22:07 PM

But, how can you pay your taxes unless you do some work, i.e., 'drill for wealth'?

Posted by: ET | 2006-03-29 5:29:28 PM

Nonsense, we don't have real political representation now! Why not let the oil pay the freight as long as it can. When it runs out you can always start taxing the newly unemployed oil workers.

Our political system has been broken for a long time and put beyond repair since Turdo.

Democracy has lost it's way. We have rule by elites for elites. Braying in the background about Alberta's good fortune is a good pass time for sheep.

Besides if you start to heavily tax Albertans, the fed will salivate at all the extra free oil dollars that will have no reason not to plunder.

Posted by: Duke McGoo | 2006-03-29 5:36:16 PM

It should be noted that Taft is making a psychological point. When people get a tax bill, they are more inclined to want to know how that money is spent, and so more likely to get involved in how government is run. If the money were to come entierly from oil revenue, then people would not notice the taxation and would be less motivated.

Taft's point is (part of) the thinking that was behind replacing the manufacturer's tax with the GST - it is better to have a tax we can all see than a hidden tax. It is also (part of) the thinking behind Alberta charging health care premiums instead of just getting the money through general tax revenues - Make sure people know there is no free lunch and if they want health care, they better be ready to pay for it one way or another.

I don't see how he has said anything in the quoted passage that is at all controversial. It also is hardly "Marxist" thinking. It sounds like the kind of thing the Taxpayer's Federation would say as well.

Posted by: Mark Logan | 2006-03-29 6:10:16 PM

Taft, and every other Liberal in Alberta, should head back to Toronto where their kind belong. They have no business threatening the livelihood of every Albertan with their criminal conspiracy. If the ALP was ever elected, the 2nd NEP would be upon us immediately.

Get out of Alberta and never come back.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-29 6:22:04 PM

This is actually fairly solid conservative analysis, especially as it applies to the resource curse and development of 3rd world economies. It is an interesting question on how to deal with oil revenues.

Ideally, the government would not charge any royalties and individuals would simply pay income taxes, but governments are utterly incapable of restricting themselves when there is so much revenue potential.

Posted by: annextraitor | 2006-03-29 6:26:34 PM

Maybe the corporations' taxes are too high?

Posted by: eliza | 2006-03-29 6:27:43 PM

I would just remind you that the reason there are no trees on the plains of Saskatchewan, is that Darcey and his people cut them all down, and have publicly admitted as much, and promised to replant them
That was an in-joke, but the tragedy of the commons is real. The British and their sheep proved that. All for one and one for all, in the economy, results in none for all. Above posters may be right, that when oil pays the cost of government, the politicians kiss up to the oil industry, and the voters are no longer required.
But, in context, this discussion and what the Liberal quasi-Marxist said, was in reference to Casinos on Indian reservations.
What is the impact of casino money on attempts at permitting democracy in our apartheid Indian ghettoes? This is altogether beyond my ability to think clearly. But it is a profound question, whatever it is. (Head explodes, wanders off talking to fenceposts.)

Posted by: Bob & Ulli | 2006-03-29 6:45:09 PM

What about the very poor and/or exempt natives on reserves? If they don't pay taxes are they not entitled to representation?

Bob I haven't forgotten about those trees ;-)

Posted by: Darcey | 2006-03-29 7:29:37 PM

They are represented by the forces of political correctness and guilt. They have it make. If they are poor, it's because that's what they chose for themselves.

And .... What are chiefs for? Representing for the tribe or reperesenting for family and friends.

I dont' think they are even part of the subject of this post.

Posted by: Duke | 2006-03-29 8:00:08 PM

What twisted logic!– leading to the inescapable conclusion that those who earn less than the tax exempt amount (such as the poor, many retirees living off capital, and children) or are otherwise exempt from tax (such as status Indians on reserves) cannot expect representation in government or have no psychological stake in government representation. Bad reasoning, bad psychology, bad policy. When were the liberals last elected the government in Alberta? Little wonder.

Posted by: murray | 2006-03-30 11:53:49 AM

Is it possible he just applied poor logic to the statement:

"Taxation without representation is tyranny"
James Otis, 1761

to conclude that

Representation without taxation is also tyranny?

When I draw up the Venn diagram, I find this is only true if taxation equals representation. If you accept Mr. Otis' statement as given, Mr. Taft's statement only makes sense if the whole purpose of government ie. representation is to tax.

I don't see this as a conservative principle.

Posted by: BCDad | 2006-03-30 12:23:34 PM


Could Mr. Taft's arguement be construed to exclude non-ratepayers (that is, those who do not own land) from municipal elections?

For federal and provincial elections, maybe we should tie it to 'tax paid' - one vote per dollar. Rather than having elections, just check a box on your tax filing indicating the party of choice. The winner would be the one with the most voting tax dollars. Maybe this is a conservative principle... certainly not as progressive as one would expect of Mr. Taft.

Posted by: BCDad | 2006-03-30 12:31:37 PM

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