Tuesday, September 23, 2008

As promised, a look at the plans the various parties have on carbon taxes (yes, they all have them, in one form or another - even the Conservatives).

There are a lot of lies being spread by the Conservatives (Well, by Stiff Heartless, anyhow. The clones that keep opening their mouths just reveal the vindictiveness and small-minded nastiness of the whole party, and it is a top-down party. Those clones "lose" their jobs, or Snide Humpler backs them up) about "A Tax on Everything", (Herplex Attacks Everything!) - that the other parties would raise the GST, cut the (taxed) child care pittance, throw the country into recession (aren't we there yet?), and so forth. I will address those lies first.

First, the GST. I still think that the GST is a good tax, and think that 8-10 percent is not unreasonable. It could be tweaked to a table of necessity, so that home new purchases, renovations, etc., could be at 5%, but cars over a certain engine displacement, emission level, whatever, would be taxed at 10%. Eliminate the GST on other taxes, which is a big scam.

Elizabeth May says that she will raise the GST by 1%, and give that to the cities for infrastructure (I have seen and heard her say so). That would be $6 billion a year. The transit in Vancouver is appalling, and we are already paying more than that for hokey "Gateway Projects". The car, as we know it, is on the way out. Just think what it would be like if we had electric cars that would top out at 70k. We would save billions on insurance pay-outs to victims of vehicular crashes, auto thefts, etc. (it wouldn't be much of a joy ride in a Zenn that tops out at 50 km/h).

Read about the Greens' carbon tax here. It is comprehensive, and succinct (much more so than my ramblings). I like their plan the best so far - easy to absorb, and the middle class Vancouver household will have a Total Impact as % of Household Income - 0.3%. Oh, ouch. Rural peeps will be hit with 0.7%, (that hurts a bit more). High income households will be hit with 0.8% (I think they can a handle that, don't you?), and unemployed people will see -2.6% (and there are 90,000 that have lost their jobs this year). Is that so onerous?

People need to stop thinking about what they will pay, and start thinking about what they can save. It's a mental paradigm shift. It really involves getting over the me-me-me that is pumped into our heads by manipulative advertising. /end rant

Dion says that he will not raise the GST (I have seen and heard him say so) unless fiscal circumstances require it to stay out of deficit. That is an extreme likelihood, because The Loathsome One has spent the cupboards bare, but intends to have a $50 billion tax cut to corporations. Those taxes are already down to 14 - odd % (before Paul Martin got onto it, it was 29-odd percent), but still, corporations off-shored everything, and don't have much presence in Canada itself. Our jobs went with them and their capital. It is our government, and it can no more live on credit cards than we can. Harper repeats his lies every time there is a radio ad, TV ad, interview, scrum. There is no truth in him. Harper does have a hidden agenda. I'll get to that tomorrow.

From Dion's Green Shift pdf;
...in a revenue neutral way – putting it in law that every dollar that is raised from carbon pollution will be returned to Canadians in tax cuts. The Auditor General will ensure the Green Shift’s revenue neutrality on an annual basis.

The price will begin immediately at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions and steadily rise by an additional $10 per tonne each year, reaching $40 per tonne within four years. Since the existing excise tax on gas at the pump is already at the equivalent of $42 per tonne of carbon, the tax at the pump will not rise. Likewise, because there is already a tax on diesel and aviation fuel of four cents per litre, the tax on these fuels will see no increase in the first year.

The NDP plan is a "cap-and-trade as the carbon pricing system that targets big polluters best—in line with the European Union, all US presidential contenders,..." Firstly, I don't think that cap and trade is where it is at. Secondly, I'm not big on the mess that is the EU, and third, why does Layton want to be just like the Americam contenders? No original ideas? The page that his "outline" is on starts with a few paragraphs attacking the Liberals, then moves on to attacking the Conservatives. That does not show much confidence, or leadership to me. Chump. Where are Tommy Douglas (ok, he's gone), Ed Broadbent, Bill Blaikie, Alexa McDonough? Sad.

The Conservatives also have a cap and trade plan, but it looks like a bunch of voodoo bullshite to me (you try reading it!), and is likely deliberately obfuscating, and ponderous. Their cap and trade program means that above a certain level of emissions, the tax will kick in @ $65/ton. There is no tax relief whatsoever to us, just $50 billion to the corporations so that they can pay that tax, after we pay for the "increased input costs".

I do ramble on, so I hope that I am not putting anyone off, but the links to all of the parties' plans are above. Please look at their truths, and lies.

It is notable that the Liberal plan is basically an adaptation of the Greens' plan (the Greens had it first).

I had a meeting tonight with someone who knows some key Liberals on a very personal basis, and I asked her to put the plea for a Liberal/Green coalition into their ears. I am hearing rumblings of a Lib/NDP coalition, but I like the former. The NDP will hold the balance of power for a while to come though, and I think that would be a very difficult marriage. Layton is going on about being Prime Minister, so I think that will be his demand for the dowry.

Our election is much more exciting than the American one, in my view. Obama will win that. I want to write more - my very innocent musings - but the Secret Service has Internet access too, and I do not want to be misconstrued.

We are in critical times. Pay attention. This election is more about the course of this country than any since the FTA and NAFTA. I want my kids to be sovereign Canadians, and to make their purchases in Canadian dollars, and travel on Canadian passports. Don't you?

Tomorrow - Harper's History: Revealing the Man Behind the Lipstick. (and some more about how the Green plans came about. A teaser, Harpier's buried, government commissioned report says that the plans are the way to go. Most economists agree.


Alan said...

I am curious as to why it is considered better economically to make fossil fuels more expensive, rather then to just put quotas on consumption?

As far as I understand, the goal is to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 80-90% as soon as humanly possible. The various tax schemes seem so vague and complicated.

Ken Simpson said...

Alan: I'm really glad you asked this question, because I think a lot of people are having the same concerns about a carbon tax.

The good news here is that carbon taxes work, and are much simpler and more effective than quotas. I'll try to explain.

Consider what would happen if your weekly quota of gasoline was 50L. But, because your job as a contractor requires you use 75L of gas each week, you work out a deal with your neighbour down the street, who works as a computer programmer and doesn't need to drive as much. Every Friday, your computer programmer neighbour fills his car up with 50L of gas, and then you siphon out 25L into your truck. You pay your neighbour $50 for these 25L because you desperately need the gas and because your neighbour needs to make a bit of extra money to compensate him for the time he takes driving to the gas station every Friday and then meeting you to do the siphoning.

Now imagine if this siphoning was the only way that contractors around the city could really continue to run their trucks. The inefficiency here should be obvious.

Now consider a different scheme where rather than having each driver limited to 50L per week, there is a 20c/L carbon tax.

The contractor figures that over the course of a year, he'll pay nearly $800 extra because of the carbon tax. Over five years, that's $4,000. He's angry about that, but what are you gonna do?

When it comes time to upgrade his truck, the contractor decides to buy a hybrid, because the hybrid uses 50% less gas, and that'll save him $3,000 per year. Over the five year life of the truck, he'll save $15,000, which easily pays for the hybrid option (which, by the way, is reduced in price because of a carbon-tax funded tax credit).

See, a carbon tax is more efficient than quotas because it doesn't force people to come up with their own solutions to get around the quota. As a society, the carbon tax causes us in the aggregate to reduce our consumption.

Many Franks said...

See this G&M article -- briefly, Dr. Marc Jaccard (a well-respected economist who specializes in the economics of dealing with climate change) claims that neither the Liberal or Conservative plans are likely to push Canada into recession.

However, he criticizes the Conservative plan as being inherently flawed enough to be ineffective.

Carioca Canuck said...
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solipsist said...
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Anonymous said...

Godwin's Law is shit. Godwin's Law has always been anti-semitic shit.

Nazism never went away. It's rampant. One has to look no farther than the "Stars and Stripes" to see the new swastika.

Harper is no Hitler. He's probably not even Mussolini. Maybe Franco.

Carioca Canuck said...
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solipsist said...
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Many Franks said...

Can we ignore the exchange above and get back on topic? This is an important subject and I'd love to hear some intelligent discussion. It's a shame to see the thread derailed so quickly.

solipsist said...

Agreed many franks.

That (hopefully) is the last of that kind of exchange.

alexcanuck said...

I bought a smartcar because my work requires 40-50K a year, and I don't expect fuel prices to drop. I fill up sometimes twice a week, I'll have driven 450 or so KM and put $30 in my tank and $50 stays in my pocket. High fuel prices work. In Europe fuel is even higher, and you can buy 20 models of cars that get mileage like the smartcar. I would vote for anyone who promises to double the price of fuel, and cut my income tax by an equivalent amount. Supply and demand, Baby!
Moral suasion only works on the choir, and rules cause resentment and rule-breaking. Make free will accomplish your goals for you, and go home early.

solipsist said...

Thanks for commenting alexcanuck. Your outlook gives us all hope!