NOT ONE BUT THREE POLITICAL PICKPOCKETS
I have been baffled by one weird taxation issue since I first covered politics.
And that is a long time since it was in May, 1957, that they tried to throw me out of my first city council meeting that I went to cover as the nervous editor of the Whitehorse Star.
After I appeared as the lone spectator at a meeting of Whitehorse council in the Yukon, the mayor demanded to know what I wanted.
I explained that I had just started working for the only newspaper in the territory and I wanted to cover the city news. He told me not to bother, he would phone me later. I didn't leave, arguing I had a right to be there for the debate. I didn't know if I did but from their faces I knew I had landed a good right.
I stayed, couldn't figure out anything, there was no debate, and I never wrote a word.
But there have been countless meetings at all levels of our governments ever since. A prevailing theme from the municipal level is that they need more money from the province, and the provincial level is always yowelling that they need more money from the feds, and the feds always preach that they need more money from everyone.
I am sure that if you were at those meetings with me, whether they be a council or a legislative or Commons session, you would also look around vainly for all these taxpayers who run around with signs on their chest that they are a municipal or provincial or federal taxpayer.
Of course you will never find those three taxpayers because there is only one. Yet there is a daily con by all the politicians, a monstrous lie that dwarfs all the others in politics, that the cost of any scheme, whether it be a fare increase or a stadium or a welfare payment, goes down by some miracle if only the fibbers get another government to pay a share.
The poor over-taxed middle class Canuck loses about half of every dollar to taxes. There are these three governments whacking him whether he swims in a pool or buys gas or pays income tax or sales tax or municipal tax.
The sensible people know that. If the spouse suggests a frivolous purchase, you double the price in your mind because that's what you have to earn in order to cover the cost. If you treat yourself because slush is now gushing up through the floor of your car, that wonderful replacement that you say cost only $25,000 in cash really means you have to earn $50,000 because of all the taxes
I would avoid thinking of that too often if you don't want to sink into a black hole of despair.
So Mayor John Tory says Queen's Park has to give the city more money for the TTC. What he really means is that you and I must contribute more money out of our provincial taxes in order not to have our municipal taxes go up when the city helps the TTC.
It's a taxation circus with the con artists running a different kind of shell game. This version has the mayor sneaking millions under his shell from the provincial shell and the premier screaming because the PM is hammering her fingers every time she tries to get under the federal shell.
All the while they all pretend that they are the ones keeping taxes low. Sure!