How It Works: Bogus Tax Cuts And The Business Lobby

As I understand it, one of the reasons people who don’t like prairie dog don’t like prairie dog is we’re always suspicious of tax cuts. Every time some politician says “tax cut” we’re the wet-blanket doom-sayers. “It’s a stealth attack on the public sector,” we say. “Tax cuts are a gift to the already-wealthy at the expensive of ordinary Canadians,” we say. ” “Wah wah waaahh,” we say.

Obviously, taxes  can be a legitimate tool of public policy. Taxing destructive activities (like smoking) heavily is something a lot of people agree with. And cutting taxes on desirable businesses to create incentives also seems widely approved-of (with lots of room for argument about what’s “desirable”).

The problem is, almost  nobody likes paying taxes (sometimes even I complain!) and everyone thinks theirs are too high. It’s only because we’ve had decades of anti-tax propaganda shouted at us. But it’s how we feel.

Well, I just read a story about a shenanigous tax cut being proposed in Washington State. In a nutshell, the soft drink and candy industry is trying to get taxes lowered on their diabetes-causing products so they can sell more crap and make more money. But because an honest discussion of the merits of taxes on fizzy soda water and sugar-cereal would result in broad agreement that it’s good to tax unhealthy things, they have to be artful with the facts. In this case, they’re twisting the truth. They’re  telling the public that the junk food tax affects a “wide range of food and beverage products”, and it’s hurting “middle-income families, seniors and other people who are already struggling to make ends meet during difficult economic times.”

And gosh, who wants to hurt seniors and families? Especially in this economy?

It’s a good story about a campaign that’s as sleazy as hell. You should read it because it shows how things work, whether you’re in Washington state or Saskatchewan. Here’s the link.

Stories like this are exactly why I’m always suspicious of tax cut proposals.

You know what? You should be suspicious when politicians talk about tax cuts, too.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.