Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today's debate with Jim Flaherty

Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby had the first all candidates debate this morning, that was open only to the student body. Here were my opening remarks. We were confined to one minute:

As students you work hard to get ahead.

Imagine if you worked hard your entire year at school and found yourself failing at the end of the year.

Not because of your fault, but because your teacher left out 38% of your marks.

That’s exactly what Jim Flaherty did to 2.5 million Canadians, mostly older Canadians, like your grandparents.

These people worked their entire lives to have enough money to pay their bills in retirement.

Jim Flaherty destroyed these people’s savings when he double taxed income trusts.

He claimed income trusts cause tax leakage.

He created that false argument by leaving out 38% of the taxes these Canadians pay to the government,

Jim Flaherty’s actions have caused $92 billion in takeovers of Canadian companies, mostly by foreigners, causing $2 billion a year in lost tax revenue and 2500 people to lose their jobs at BCE.

Jim Flaherty needs to take responsibility for his massive policy blunder which is causing great harm to all Canadians and to your futures.


Robert Gibbs said...

And what were Dim Jim's most assuredly less than truthful remarks/responses?

We had to act?
That's not true?
It's not my fault?

Dr Mike said...

Brent`s opening remark must have made Jim`s carotids bulge--I could almost feel the steam from here.

He would be ready to head to the parking lot to take this to the next level.

Underestimating your opponent is a bad thing Jim--that mistake usually results in a nasty ass bite somewhere down the road.

Dr Mike Popovich.

Robert Gibbs said...


May I suggest also pointing out:

1) The utter uncompassionate nature of Flaherty's and Harper's actions.
2) The loss of income, financial welfare and living standards to seniors and retirees post 2010.
3) The loss of Canadian economic and business sovereignty associated with all the opportunistic takeovers.

Robert Gibbs said...

Oily has a new friend: Flippy the Argument

Globe And Mail.com
September 23, 2008
Robert Silver, today at 10:32 AM EDT

John Ivison absolutely obliterates the Liberal platform in the National Post this morning...if by obliterate you mean contradict every Tory attack line on the Green Shift from the last three months.


Stephane Dion said the Liberal platform he released yesterday is built on "very solid numbers," but the claim was made more in hope than expectation.

So John starts out by laying the frame for his critique: The Liberals claim of a balanced platform is garbage. That's a claim that lots of Tory mouthpieces - a title for which Ivison certainly qualifies - have made. After discussing the $55-billion over four years in tax cuts and new investments that Liberals made in the platform, he points out, correctly, that $40-billion needs to be "found." Then he concedes:

The biggest problem for Mr. Dion is not that he won't be able to raise $40-billion within four years from the carbon tax...

And in fact, Ivison has the audacity to quote - get this - an economist to back up that the revenue projections are accurate:

Professor (Jack) Mintz said yesterday....that the Liberal number is not "out of range."

Um, I'm confused John...haven't you just conceded that the Liberal plan is balanced? Of course not:

The question is, what happens next...If the carbon tax works as the Liberal leader hopes, emissions will tumble as people substitute away from carbon. But if they tumble, so will tax revenue.

Let me make sure that I get this straight. For three months, the Tories' main attack line against the Green Shift is it is a tax on everything that won't reduce emissions at all. In fact, Stephen Harper said "it's not even really an environmental plan." Now that every economist (other than PMSH) and environmentalist have refuted that argument, the new criticism is it is going to work too well.

I mean, we all know that, don't we? That's what the Tories have been saying all along, isn't it? That the Green Shift will work TOO well - and then what will you do? Come on, Liberals, what then? And look at poor Stephane - what a loser. I mean, sure his plan for the years 2009-2013 is fully balanced - Ivison has conceded that - but what the heck is he gonna do between 2013-2017 after emissions have tumbled and therefore revenue from the Green Shift starts going down?

So to repeat, John's argument is not that THIS Liberal platform is unbalanced; it's that the NEXT Liberal platform will be unbalanced, and how can you vote for a guy who fails to present a balanced platform one, maybe two elections from now? Stephane Dion: He may be up to the job for one four-year mandate. But don't give him an eight-year blank check - he's not up to that job.

But Ivison's not finished:

A number of European countries have already gone down this route by introducing a carbon tax, spending the proceeds and then being forced to find new revenue sources, such as employment insurance or mandatory pension fund premiums, when the tax dried up.

Gee, for a "risky scheme" that is "just a theory" that has "never worked anywhere" (all Stephen Harper's words, not mine), that doesn't sound right at all. So parse the sentence above: A number of European countries have introduced green shifts; the green shifts worked; emissions went down thanks to the carbon tax and they "spent" the carbon tax on, get this, tax cuts on income and investment. But, at a certain point, because the carbon tax worked so well, they had to, amazingly, "adjust" their policies.

So - and here is a big concession on my part, Tim, rev up your engines and get ready to pounce - in 2013, as he prepares for likely his third election campaign, Stephane Dion MAY need to announce a new policy - either lower spending or new revenue sources. How this is in any way an argument against the current Liberal platform is beyond me.

Two final notes:

1. It should be noted that a number of the European countries that have implemented carbon taxes did not need to raise ANY new taxes as emissions fell. Why? Because their economies grew so much (with the carbon tax in place) that tax revenues from income and spending were more than sufficient to withstand a declining carbon tax intake. (Of course in Canada, we will slip into a deep recession if we even try doing this.)

2. I thought neo-cons were supposed to be supply-siders. Anyone see the contradiction between John's argument and basic supply-side economic theory? Now, I think trickle down theories are bunk but then again, I'm not a neo-con.