Author Topic: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019  (Read 6294 times)

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Offline Fishbone Jones

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The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« on: February 12, 2019, 12:18:57 »
https://torontosun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-the-cost-of-living-under-trudeau

Quote
Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in hot water for the latest in a string of odd remarks.

This time around, it was the PM’s strange claims about low-income Canadians and taxes that sparked a round of furor.

“We see proof that the Conservatives simply don’t understand that low-income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes,” Trudeau said in Question Period last Tuesday.

It was a stunning remark that upset regular Canadians who do pay taxes. A whole lot of taxes.

There were a number of problems with the statement, not the least of which is that it wasn’t true.

As Brian Lilley explained in a column: “Someone earning just $28,000 a year in Ottawa – the equivalent of minimum wage in Ontario – will pay $4,782 in taxes.”
More at link



It's pretty plain why Butts, allegedly, scripts all of the answers for the House.  :rofl:

Can Trudeau really be that far out of touch?

Corruption in politics doesn't scare me.
What scares me is how comfortable people are doing nothing about it.

Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2019, 12:27:29 »
As many feathers as his statement ruffled, he was pretty much correct. Once all the various tax credits, refunds, benefits payments etc balance out, the claim that low income Canadians don't pay taxes (netted out) is accurate (caveat being that there are always exceptions to the rule- but we don't need to get hung up on exceptionality). The Fraser Institute - hardly a friend of the Liberals - did the analysis on it and found that actually the claim could be fairly extended through roughly the bottom 40% of income earners in Canada, not merely the 20% low income quintile that Trudeau could reasonably have been interpreted as referring to. The article below does a pretty good job of explaining it.

https://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/taxes/trudeau-is-right-40-of-canadians-dont-pay-income-taxes-which-means-someone-else-is-picking-up-the-bill

The Conservatives crapped on him for this, but frankly they don't have a leg to stand on because they're wrong. It's a conveniently *partisan* stand for them to take, but for it to work they have to simplify it beyond what is actually reality. You cannot meaningfully examine a single tax (e.g., federal income tax) in a frictionless vacuum. For any policy to make sense it needs to be looked at in the context of the others things it interfaces with... And in the realm of income tax, that's quite a lot.
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2019, 12:45:29 »
I don't mean to go off track, but that sounds suspiciously like "Mexico will pay for the wall in lost business.

When people speak of 'taxes', I think in most cases, it's their yearly income tax that they refer to. People don't normally talk about the tax on tax we pay. Just real rough figures - You have $100, the government takes 45% of the top for income tax. You have $55 left. When you go for gas, it's $1/ ltr, even though 20% is tax on tax and say 15% various taxes on goods and services. You don't have $55 for yourself, you've got maybe $25-30. The government takes substantially more in taxes than just income tax. All put together, many people are paying well above 50% of their earned money on tax.

Everyone pays taxes. Rich and poor. Unavoidable and all encompassing.

When trudeau said the "low-income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes", he was flat out lying.

Do they get breaks to offset things? Sure, but not all and not all to the same degree. We are talking taxes, not benefits and loopholes.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 12:48:44 by Fishbone Jones »
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Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 12:56:56 »
Did you actually read it?
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Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 13:43:56 »
Wow, that didn't take you long to start attacking.

That was not an attack. I simply asked if you read it. If you did not read it and were just answering based off my reply I wasn't going to bother getting into it. If you did read it and still felt it was being presented dishonestly - that the PM was still 'lying' about it - that would be worth some discussion. My interest in this thread is your take on the fundamental claim the PM made, which I believe analysis has shown is pretty much true, and which you seem to dispute. I linked a reference to analysis by people far more knowledgeable and credible on finance than you or I in hopes of a better informed discussion on our point of disagreement. It's reasonable to want to know if that degree of effort was worthwhile or not.

Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline QV

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 13:50:38 »
Did you actually read it?

That seemed pretty snarky to me. 


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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2019, 14:02:44 »
That seemed pretty snarky to me.

I'll wear 'snarky', sure. But it was still a fair question given what's in his reply versus the analysis contained in what I linked.
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2019, 14:04:29 »
They spoke fairly directly to income tax, in the article, and even at one point said, more or less, other taxes don't really count in their explanation. Besides, I'm sure their examples were picked to bolster their argument. I'm not running numbers on all scenarios

Everyone pays taxes. A tax benefit to lower gas taxes would help everyone, including low income. So saying they don't benefit from tax breaks is false. Taxes are taxes to me. Income, gas, GST. All taxes.

I won't get into benefits and returns because like the scenarios in the article, they detract from what the PM actually said.

To say low income earners don't pay tax is a lie.

I understand, taken in the context of income tax only, he may have a point. However, he never specified that and that is not what he said.

Inferring he only meant income tax is weighted against those that think he meant all taxes.

“We see proof that the Conservatives simply don’t understand that low-income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes,” Trudeau said in Question Period last Tuesday.

Going strictly on what the PM stated, his statement is, demonstrably, false.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 14:12:05 by Fishbone Jones »
Corruption in politics doesn't scare me.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2019, 14:27:19 »
They spoke fairly directly to income tax, in the article, and even at one point said, more or less, other taxes don't really count in their explanation. Besides, I'm sure their examples were picked to bolster their argument. I'm not running numbers on all scenarios

Everyone pays taxes. A tax benefit to lower gas taxes would help everyone, including low income. So saying they don't benefit from tax breaks is false. Taxes are taxes to me. Income, gas, GST. All taxes.

I won't get into benefits and returns because like the scenarios in the article, they detract from what the PM actually said.

To say low income earners don't pay tax is a lie.

I understand, taken in the context of income tax only, he may have a point. However, he never specified that and that is not what he said.

Inferring he only meant income tax is weighted against those that think he meant all taxes.

Going strictly on what the PM stated, his statement is false.

He said 'taxes', plural- we're agreed on that. He was not talking about income taxes alone, nor does the Fraser Institute analysis limit itself to that.

A quick read of the Hansard entry for that particular series of questions is informative. Pollievre was basically trying to generate a sound byte about taxes. He and PMJT went back and forth a bit about what each party respectively did. PMJT accurately pointed out that the CPC leaned towards tax breaks that favoured larger corporate entities through corporate tax cuts, and Canadians with more money- stuff like introducing and then doubling the TFSA, Home Renovation Tax Credits, stuff like that. Trudeau was then talking about tax measures the LPC has taken such as the workers benefit (refundable tax deduction) and child benefits that are of more tangible use to reducing taxes for lower income Canadians. He then uttered the line that drew so much ire and after the Speaker settled things down, went on to say " non-refundable tax breaks do not benefit low-income families. That is why we changed the Conservatives' way of sending tax breaks to millionaire families and instead giving the money directly to families that needed it."

So, that properly contextualizes what was actually said, and I'd invite you to check the transcript if in doubt. Looking at what he was actually saying in context of the debate and in the totality of what he was saying - not just what came out before he was cut off - he is pretty much correct. But again, that's not me saying it, I'm comfortable deferring to the analysts at the Fraser Institute, who ironically agree with what he's saying in order to twist it back around and stick a bit of a political knife at Liberal fiscal policy that they see as unfairly burdening higher income earners.

Contentious? Sure. Verifiable? Yes, as demonstrated. A lie? Certainly not.

I remain unimpressed by this government and recent events are bringing my vote increasingly close to locked down for the CPC... But this is not one I'll give him grief for.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 17:42:33 »
>low-income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes

If they are paying income taxes, they benefit from income tax breaks which affect them.  Whether or not they are receiving credits, grants, etc from another source doesn't negate the fact that a tax cut in isolation is still a benefit.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2019, 17:54:37 »
>low-income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes

If they are paying income taxes, they benefit from income tax breaks which affect them.  Whether or not they are receiving credits, grants, etc from another source doesn't negate the fact that a tax cut in isolation is still a benefit.

So, again, read the analysis about how all of this stuff interacts and nets out. There are various things that effectively offset and claw back. It can only be accurately said to benefit them if there is a net change in circumstances.If they are already receiving quite a bit more money from the government than they pay into it (which is true for around 40% of Canadians), then a tax break on one thing that just ends up offset by another doesn't do anything for them. I think that net amount of money to or from the government from all taxes, credits, and benefits is a fair and reasonable way to measure this.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2019, 19:39:15 »
Interestingly, the President of the Treasury Board (through her personal account) just tweeted out support to the outgoing AG / VAC minister.  https://twitter.com/janephilpott/status/1095472745175891969

If the cabinet is fracturing, well, this could be a fascinating week in Canadian politics.
This posting made in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 2(b):
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication
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Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 19:58:20 »
Interestingly, the President of the Treasury Board (through her personal account) just tweeted out support to the outgoing AG / VAC minister.  https://twitter.com/janephilpott/status/1095472745175891969

If the cabinet is fracturing, well, this could be a fascinating week in Canadian politics.

Yeah, just saw that. Gutsy move on her part. Good on her.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2019, 20:08:18 »
Interestingly, the President of the Treasury Board (through her personal account) just tweeted out support to the outgoing AG / VAC minister.  https://twitter.com/janephilpott/status/1095472745175891969

If the cabinet is fracturing, well, this could be a fascinating week in Canadian politics.

President of the Treasury Board.... That would be the lady who replaced Scott Brison following his January decision to spend time with his family and intervene in VAdm Norman's court case.  The same court case where
Quote
The allegation of Privy Council Office intervention prompted the Ontario Court of Justice judge presiding over the Norman case on Monday to question the independence of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. “So much for the independence of the PPSC,” Justice Heather Perkins-McVey interjected.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-vice-admiral-mark-normans-lawyer-says-crown-should-not-talk-strategy/

And the case where it is discovered that Generals no longer carry Field Note Pads 

And the case where

Quote
At the time Zita Astravas was the crisis manager in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman arguably was the crisis, or one of them anyway.

Yet Astravas, who testified Thursday at a pre-trial hearing in Norman’s breach of trust case, struggled to remember the names of her own staff or her interactions with two other key members in Trudeau’s office, principal secretary Gerald Butts and chief of staff Katie Telford.

“Did you also deal with Ms. Telford?” defence lawyer Marie Henein asked.

“I would deal with all persons on a senior level,” Astravas replied.

“But with Telford?” Henein asked.

“I don’t recall specifically,” said Astravas.

“Mr. Butts?” the lawyer asked.

“I don’t recall specifically,” Astravas said.

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/christie-blatchford-norman-defence-says-attempt-to-obstruct-justice-within-dnd-now-in-play

And yet 
Quote
Throughout her years at Queen’s Park, Astravas worked alongside a number of other senior Trudeau staffers, including PMO chief of staff Katie Telford and principal secretary Gerald Butts.

https://www.hilltimes.com/2017/02/08/top-100-zita-astravas-trouble-shooter/95534

Telford and Butts appear to be much over-rated.  Ms Astravas can't remember meeting with people with whom she worked and socialized in Wynne's office for two years.   General Vance can't remember why he would have had supper with them the day he relieved VAdm Norman.

Shrinking Violets, the pair of them.



"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2019, 22:39:20 »
>So, again, read the analysis about how all of this stuff interacts and nets out. There are various things that effectively offset and claw back.

So, again, read the part where I specified "in isolation", in which I meant "not subject to interactions with something else".  People not subject to applicable clawbacks (etc) benefit from tax cuts.  An income tax cut (obviously) can take many forms, some of which involve no changes to reported or taxable income.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

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Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2019, 22:44:32 »
>So, again, read the analysis about how all of this stuff interacts and nets out. There are various things that effectively offset and claw back.

So, again, read the part where I specified "in isolation", in which I meant "not subject to interactions with something else".  People not subject to applicable clawbacks (etc) benefit from tax cuts.  An income tax cut (obviously) can take many forms, some of which involve no changes to reported or taxable income.

As soon as you say “in isolation”, it becomes a hypothetical divorced from reality, and no longer relevant to what the PM actually said or the context he said it in. You can move the goalposts if you wish, but I don’t have to chase them.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2019, 22:56:21 »
It's not hypothetical.  Trudeau maybe meant to say "some" tax breaks do not benefit low-income earners, but that is not what he said.

That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2019, 23:52:18 »
It's not hypothetical.  Trudeau maybe meant to say "some" tax breaks do not benefit low-income earners, but that is not what he said.

He specifically said non-refundable tax breaks, it’s right there in the transcript as published in Hansard, and which I linked up thread.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2019, 05:45:10 »
Hansard, Trudeau: "Mr. Speaker, for 10 years the member opposite and the Conservative government, under Mr. Harper, kept giving tax breaks and benefits to the wealthiest Canadians in the hope that would lead to growth and opportunity for all Canadians."

A broad reference.  It invites us to consider exactly what tax breaks and benefits the Conservatives implemented (or prompted, in the case of the lowering of the bottom rate in 2005) which were primarily aimed at individuals.  The 2006 election was preceded by a Conservative promise (going from memory here) to lower the bottom rate from 16% to 15.5% and then 15% in successive years; the Liberals immediately (prior to the election, in late 2005) lowered it to 15% and then claimed the Conservatives were going to increase taxes.  The Conservatives lowered the GST in two steps (7% to 6%, and then 6% to 5%).  Some minor non-refundable income tax credits (eg. child fitness, Canada employment amount, transit passes) were added.  The basic exemption amount was increased significantly in 2007 ($8839 to $9600 - large relative to customary increases).  The lowering of the bottom rate, the GST cuts, and the basic exemption increase are all examples of breaks that benefit low-income Canadians; and each one of them dwarfs the value of the "boutique" cuts (some of which - Canada employment amount, transit passes - are worthwhile and accessible to low-income earners).  The value of the GST cut to low-income earners was, by PBOs reckoning (see here, Macleans article from 2014), overshadowed only by the value of the WITB.

Hansard, Trudeau: "Yet again, Mr. Speaker, we see proof that the Conservatives simply do not understand that low-income families do not benefit from tax breaks because they do not pay taxes."

Another broad reference, including the first "do not pay taxes" quotation.  Importantly, it asserts simply that low-income families "do not pay taxes".  This is true only for those which have no taxable income, whose refundable GST credit exceeds the value of their liability in a given year, and pay no other taxes.

Hansard, Trudeau: "Mr. Speaker, non-refundable tax breaks do not benefit low-income families."

Finally, a specific reference to non-refundable tax credits.  But, as already mentioned above, there are non-refundable credits which benefit low-income earners.  The basic exemption, for example, is essentially a way of setting a "0% bracket".

I can guess what was in Trudeau's mind: he was thinking of things like the "children's fitness" and "children's arts" credits - you have to be able to spend the money (and have a net taxable income) to claim them.  But they always were, and are, utterly trivial weighed alongside everything else.  His final waffling qualification is essentially ridiculous.

As for "That is why we changed the Conservatives' way of sending tax breaks to millionaire families and instead giving the money directly to families that needed it." - what tax breaks were aimed at millionaire families?
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2019, 10:07:51 »
TFSA comes to mind, and is a big one for those in a position to make use of it. Not many low income families for $5k and then $10k a year in disposable income to throw into tax sheltered investments. I recognize the tax savings come on investment returns, but compounded over years TFSA is massive and shifts a potentially tremendous amount of tax burden off the modestly wealthy.

In any case I am interpreting his statement the same way the Fraser Institute does- not whether someone pays into a particular tax regardless of receiving money back elsewhere, but whether an individual (or family) is a net contributor to or recipient of government payments. This strikes me as the only reasonable way to understand what he was saying, and as demonstrated, it’s true. When you receive more money back than you contribute, how can you meaningfully say you are ‘paying taxes’?

And of course, all of this is further in the context not of meaningful debate, but rather the absolute circus that is question period...
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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2019, 10:42:36 »
TFSA comes to mind, and is a big one for those in a position to make use of it. Not many low income families for $5k and then $10k a year in disposable income to throw into tax sheltered investments. I recognize the tax savings come on investment returns, but compounded over years TFSA is massive and shifts a potentially tremendous amount of tax burden off the modestly wealthy.

In any case I am interpreting his statement the same way the Fraser Institute does- not whether someone pays into a particular tax regardless of receiving money back elsewhere, but whether an individual (or family) is a net contributor to or recipient of government payments. This strikes me as the only reasonable way to understand what he was saying, and as demonstrated, it’s true. When you receive more money back than you contribute, how can you meaningfully say you are ‘paying taxes’?

And of course, all of this is further in the context not of meaningful debate, but rather the absolute circus that is question period...

On the subject of TFSA, the Libs and NDP were being disingenuous in their criticism of this service because there is no minimum contribution amount. They made it sound you could only contribute the maximum amount, where in reality you can put in what you can afford and it's a very good saving plan.

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2019, 10:57:22 »
yes we use TFSA all the time and they are great, we were an 1 income family till 2 years ago, yet through careful money management were able to use those CPC tax breaks to improve our position. As for taxes in general, the feds are only in control of a portion of it.

there is also a parking tax which is almost 30%

There's 8.5 cents per litre in two separate motor fuel taxes and 7.78 cents per litre in the carbon tax. In the Vancouver area, there's an additional tax of 17 cents per litre that goes to TransLink. In the Victoria area there's a 5.5 cent tax for public transit — and then there's the tax the federal government collects.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_fuel_taxes_in_Canada


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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2019, 11:25:47 »
TFSA comes to mind, and is a big one for those in a position to make use of it. Not many low income families for $5k and then $10k a year in disposable income to throw into tax sheltered investments. I recognize the tax savings come on investment returns, but compounded over years TFSA is massive and shifts a potentially tremendous amount of tax burden off the modestly wealthy.

Those evil TFSAs. How dare the CPC encourage people to save on their own for their retirement instead of only contributing to the government approved CPP!

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2019, 12:00:39 »
TFSA isn't a tax aimed at millionaire families*.  It's certainly accessible to middle class families.

>When you receive more money back than you contribute, how can you meaningfully say you are ‘paying taxes’?

Because the taxes you paid are still a net loss to you.  The basic equation is "private income + public income - taxes = net income".  Or if you prefer, "income - taxes = net income".  The government deciding to provide benefits doesn't erase taxes, any more than you earning income erases taxes.  It's fallacious reasoning to conclude that receipt of benefits (or any other particular category of income) == not paying taxes.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Brihard

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Re: The Prime Minister and the PMO - 2019
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2019, 12:06:04 »
Not sure why you guys think I’m crapping on TFSAs. I’m a fan- primarily because I’m in exactly the income range best able to use them. It suits me personally very nicely indeed. I brought it up in the context of a Conservative financial policy that provides considerable tax relief and which does little to nothing for low income families. Because again, all I’m talking about here is the rational analysis of what was actually said in the context of what was actually being talked about when that particular sound byte was generated. And, again, I’m referring to the quote qualified analysis provided by others who really know their stuff. Trudeau has said and done a lot of stupid stuff, but this particular thing - though a politically unfortunate sound byte - wasn’t what the CPC has gleefully tried to present it as.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.