Saturday, December 08, 2007

Canada's Bali Position The Flat Tax In Action

The government's position in Bali that it will only accept binding targets if China and India are too, is an international manifestation of that old right wing chestnut, the flat tax. In a progressive system of taxation, the CEO is assessed a higher level of tax than the file clerk, because the CEO is judged to have a greater capacity to pay higher levels of tax. This is anathema to right wingers, like Harper, who see this as "socialism" and an attempt by the state to redistribute "hard earned" income from the rich to the poor. The flat tax proposes that everyone regardless of income will be taxed at one rate, so that a file clerk and CEO will be charged the same level of tax despite the huge gap in income.

This is, in essence what the Harperites are trying to impose on Bali. Harper is already on record as calling Kyoto a "socialist scheme" of income redistribution. His solution is to treat the effort to curb greenhouse gases like a flat tax on the world. Everyone, regardless their level of development will be forced to accept the same burden as the rich countries (who truth be told have dumped the vast majority of GHG's into the atmosphere while getting rich) or Harper will not play. Harper's plan should be seen for what it is, an attempt to use the reasoning behind a crazy tax scheme, for which there is no support nationally, to the international stage.
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