I'm sure all readers have heard or read the Harper comments on taxes. What I wondered when I saw these comments was how Stephen Harper could claim to be an economist. How could any economist say that no taxes are good taxes? It doesn't stand to reason, and the inevitable conclusion is that Stephen Harper is a libertarian at best, an anarchist at worst.
As Jeffrey Simpson puts it in his column today:
"There is no “school,” to use Stephen Harper's word, anywhere in economics that says “no taxes are good taxes.” Not even Milton Friedman and the Chicago school think that. Nor do Mr. Harper's former mentors at the University of Calgary."
The problem is that through his actions, Harper seems to be putting into action the ideology his comment professes. Cutting the GST, for instance, whose negative repercussions can be detected in the ever-growing deficit being run by Ottawa.
On the topic of the deficit, Harper must realize that taxes would help to pull the government out of the red. In fact, he probably resents that truth.
I doubt these comments show that Harper is losing control. It is much more likely that this either pandering to his base, as an election in the fall is a real possibility, or under pressure, he uttered what he actually believes. Either option is concerning.
He either believes something no one else in his academic field does, or he's willing to go to any lengths, no matter any measure of economic integrity he may possess. Scary indeed, Jeffrey Simpson.
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