Tim Hudak says he is against corporate welfare. He says government shouldn’t be spending taxpayer money to encourage companies to create jobs in Ontario. He believes the free market should make that decision on its own. This is why, he thinks, the government should just get out of the way.
He’s said it about a million times in his centre piece “Million Jobs Plan.” Hudak thinks that by repeating a message he can make it real. Repeating a falsehood or delusion only makes that thought real for the person leading the chant. We know this is nonsense. Here’s why.
Tim Hudak, like his mentor Mike Harris, thinks corporate tax cuts can kick start the economy. They ignore the fact that twenty years of tax cuts have taken us to where we are today. Huge deficits, a crumbling infrastructure and public services cut to the bone.
Corporate tax cuts have done exactly what they were supposed to do. They made the rich richer and destroyed our civil society. Herein is the conflict. While Hudak is against corporate welfare, he seems to favour corporate tax cuts. He knows that tax cuts (dressed up as getting government out of the way) is corporate welfare by stealth.
Undeniably, taxes have shifted a lot over the past 20 years. While taxes have declined for everyone the greatest beneficiaries have been corporations and the wealthy. As their tax burden was reduced, more of the load shifted to individuals, especially working people and the shrinking middle class.
By further reducing government revenues through tax cuts, especially to the rich and corporations, Ontario has given up a huge piece of its potential. This loss of revenue represents government’s biggest expenditure. Billions of dollars that could be used for the good of all has been transferred to the accounts of individuals with a lot of pre-existing wealth.
Hudak states that higher corporate rates will just be passed on to consumers by way of higher prices. He claims that the more someone consumes, the more they would pay. He takes this further by saying that government intervention, through lower corporate taxes, will help to keep prices low.
Through this, the middle class is presented with a stark choice. Pay higher taxes or watch services disappear.
Cash-strapped Ontarians, having gone through a decade of wage stagnation are hard pressed to make ends meet. They can’t pay any more for the services and infrastructure they need because they have to put food on the table, stay warm and keep the lights on. They see all outgoing funds, even if they are for public services, as a further drain.
They are unaware of what the system has done, through stealth, to rebalance and reposition money. In fact, through corporate tax breaks and huge reductions to taxes for the rich, a lot of money is now being stored outside of the productive economy. Working people and the middle class have paid handsomely for the $600 billion corporations now have in reserve.
That “stash” should instead be in the economy. So when Mr. Hudak says he is against corporate welfare he is being disingenuous.
He believes in it alright, but in a way that will not create decent jobs. His “Million Jobs Plan” is no plan at all. It’s a hollow slogan, repeated over and over again by a hopeless and shallow leader. We should not be surprised. This is what happens when a leader is prone “to run his mouth” (to use his own words).
Give him a few easy lines to remember and watch him spew them out, no matter what the question, again and again.
At the end of the day, like his predecessor Mike Harris, the only job he cares about creating is the private sector nest he hopes to find himself in after he is done pillaging the province, forever transforming it into the Alabama of the north.
Corporate welfare bums: it’s time you pay your share. It’s time to step up and help rebuild the province that has allowed you to prosper. Bring that $600 billion back into the economy. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
1st Vice President / Treasurer