Recently in the news, Finance Minster Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney have been lamenting the fact that big business is sitting on over $525 billion that should instead be invested in the Canadian economy.
For years now our federal and provincial governments have continually cut the corporate tax rates for Canada’s wealthiest corporations like oil companies and banks. Governments would have us believe that by cutting taxes for big businesses, money would be reinvested into the economy, creating jobs, improving productivity and boosting consumer confidence.
But, instead of investing this money, big businesses have stashed it away to the tune of over half a trillion dollars. To put it in perspective: the money would almost be enough to wipe out Canada’s debt; it could cover the cost of the nation’s public health bill for the next three and a half years, and it would provide enough impetus to propel our economy out of its sputtering recovery.
Every summer Flaherty meets with a select group of bankers, CEOs and market friendly economists at a private retreat where they rattle off their wish list. Lower wages, more restrictions on unions, more foreign workers, more free trade deals and, of course, more corporate tax cuts. Flaherty listens and ultimately incorporates their requests into his fiscal plans.
For most Canadians this has meant stagnant wages, the loss of valuable public services and an ever-increasing inequality gap between the wealthiest in our society and everyone else.
Canada’s biggest and wealthiest corporations have thumbed their noses at the very government that has paved the way for their half a trillion dollars in stashed away cash.
It has become quite obvious to everyone – except the Harper government – that tax give-a-ways to the wealthy just isn’t working for working families.