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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The percentage of the average family's income that is taken by the state:

Still, the Fraser Institute routinely reminds Canadians of their fiscal pain. In 2009, the think-tank notes, the average family paid 42% of its income — or almost $29,000 — in taxes.

That’s up dramatically from the 33.5% of income the average family paid in 1961 in total taxes (everything from income taxes to levies on tobacco, booze and gas).

Canadians should ask themselves if they’re getting value for all the money they send to government, says Fraser Institute economist Niels Veldhuis.

“We’re not getting value for money,” concludes Veldhuis, citing waste in the public sector as a major factor. “It’s a matter of putting pressure on our politicians to make sure they do one of two things: They either lower our tax bill or they give us better services.”

And when you've finished wiping the tears of laugher from your eyes, read Planned Chaos for further details on how governments go about "serving" the public. There is, however, no waste in government. Waste is the inefficient use of resources to accomplish a goal. The federal government spending a billion plus dollars to create the long-gun registry, up from an initial estimate of about $3 million, seems like a waste. Indeed the idea of having a long-gun registry, when the overwhelming majority of gun crimes are committed using illegally owned hand-guns, also seems wasteful. But waste is the inefficient use of resources to accomplish a goal. The great majority of the electorate believes the government's goal is to keep the Canadian people safe, happy and healthy. This is not the goal of government, the odd idealist aside. The goal of the political class is to stay in power. Therefore, it is not important that they actually improve the lot of ordinary Canadians, merely that they seem to be doing so. Spending a cool billion on making people "safe" sounds like buying a lot of safety, despite scant evidence to support the success of the registry. That the best way to improve the welfare of Canadians is for government to leave well enough alone, is not an appealing election slogan. "Vote for Smith! He'll do nothing, unless absolutely necessary."

The last Canadian politician unlucky enough to articulate this common sense philosophy of inactivity was the much ignored Alexander Mackenzie. During his one term in office the young Dominion was beset by a severe depression; until the 1930s it was frequently called the Great Depression. The John A Macdonald led Tories demanded the Mackenzie Liberals take action. Poor old Mac was an honest chap, reared in the stoical virtues of the frontier Baptists, and stated that nothing could be done, that government action in the face of a world-wide economic collapse would have no more impact than "flies on a wheel." Very true. Very principled. In consequence Macdonald endlessly mocked the government Liberals as "flies on a wheel" from then onward. 

The economy eventually recovered, Macdonald returned to office, and credited the prosperity with his protectionist policies. The Victorian electorate was duped by the illusion of government "doing something." Their descendants, even after over a century and a quarter of evidence to the contrary, still turn to government to solve their problems. The addiction to the state has actually gotten worse. The fool's bandaged finger keeps going back to the fire. Until the great delusion is ended, government will keep consuming more and more of the Canadian family's income. The electorate have no one but themselves to blame. They keep voting for these fools.

Posted by Richard Anderson on April 27, 2010 | Permalink


PUBLIUS, sad but true.

Posted by: TM | 2010-04-27 8:45:34 AM

Hopefully, some heroic saviour will enter our lives to lower all our taxes so the peoples' prosperity will triumph. While we wait for that hope to be realized, please feel free to walk on my part of the sidewalk, drive on my part of the highway, cross my part of the bridge, and, if applicable, enjoy my part of the jail cell.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-04-27 10:29:25 AM

They keep voting for these fools.

Posted by PUBLIUS on April 27, 2010 | Permalink

The type of person that seeks political office always seems to have the same credentials. Gift of gab, power hungry, very fluid ethical standards and a corporate mentality. What the vast majority are lacking is common sense.Money is so easy to spend when it is not yours. None of seem to comprehend that there is only one taxpayer whether he/she feeds municipal,provincial,or federal coffers.
Like Iggy on the gun bill(let's fix it) they simply can not see the waste. A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon we are talking about real money, but it's not their money and they can always raise taxes, and do.
And we keep voting for these fools.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-04-27 11:02:19 PM

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