Let’s Not be Afraid to Tax the Rich
Dear Ministers Chrystia Freeland, Jonathan Wilkinson, Steven Guilbeault, Navdeep Bains, Melanie Joly, Seamus O’Regan, and Mary Ng,
The high top marginal tax rates that followed the two great world wars of the 20th century led to periods of unprecedented economic growth and improvement in living standards for all, while subsequent reductions led to periods of depression and gross inequity- which have been continuing ever more dramatically since the turn of this century. The current regime of runaway wealth inequality in Canada has left gaping holes in our social safety net — holes that COVID19 exposed, and that our most vulnerable are at risk of falling through. And while the need for social support and other expenditures is increasing to wartime levels, the revenue from taxes on earned income is decreasing.
Billionaires are becoming richer during the pandemic while everyday Canadians struggle to get by — and while those of us who rely on earned income pay more than our fair share in taxes, the wealthy pay little. Whatever taxes are collected fall more heavily on middle class wage earners than on the holders of accumulated capital (which is often inherited rather than earned in any way at all – either by labour, or by sensible risk-taking and wise investment).
It is time now to change the tax system so as to transfer the burden onto those who can most afford it (and who are benefiting most from the production of our economy) – and to ensure that unearned wealth and income are taxed at least as much as any other.
I therefore urge you to raise the marginal income tax rates and include all forms of income including especially unearned income such as gifts and inheritances as taxable income in the year received — and to implement an emergency wealth tax on Canada’s ultra rich to handle the costs of this immediate crisis.