The Hard Work Tax

Posted: August 28, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Politics
Tags: , , ,

They say that the only sure things in life are death and taxes.  There definitely are other sure things – such as being born, having to breathe to survive, etc. –  but these two are the ones that are most often quoted.

At first glance, death might seem the harsher of the two, the most final, but death is a natural phenomenon – it is neither good nor bad, it just is.

On the other hand, Canada’s current tax system is completely unjust.

...Mainly because they want to take your money...

I don’t say that because I think we shouldn’t have to pay taxes.  I don’t say that because I feel that my tax money isn’t doing as much for society as I think it should.  I say that because Canada’s tax system is basically a tax on hard work.  It is a system that takes more money from those who work harder to make what little they can just because they make it.

Let me clarify what I’m trying to say here.  Canada’s tax system collects a higher percentage of one’s wages if one earns higher than a certain threshold.  If I earn $1000 per week I am taxed at a higher percentage than if I only earned $500.  When the money you take home each week is directly linked to how hard or how long you have to work, as it is in construction for instance, it is a complete disgrace that a greater percentage of a person’s income is torn from their grasp.

I ask you: what right does the government or society have to tax people more because they work harder??

The simple answer is that it doesn’t have that right at all.  A more complex one would be that the government feels that people don’t need more than a certain amount of money and think that the money could be better used elsewhere.  That isn’t a decision that the government is entitled to make on behalf of the people.  Yes, we elect them and let them make decisions for us, but that does not give them the right to decide what happens to the fruits of my labours.

Let’s look at it in a slightly different manner…

We can safely say that work is for the benefit of society in one way or another.  Society demands some kind of service and pays a person to provide that service.  Many people may use the service, many people may not, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that someone demands a service and someone else provides it.  This system is what our current economy and way of life is dependent on.  To be otherwise would be to go back to the days where a person’s food, clothing, and belongings were made or created by the person themselves.  (I’m not necessarily saying that a self-providing lifestyle is bad, but rather that it isn’t the reality that we currently find ourselves in.)

So, when a person works they give back to society.  When a person gets paid it is a recognition that the person has contributed some value to society.  They have essentially given back to society already, before taxes have even been put into the equation.

Taxes are necessary, there’s no getting around that.  How else would we pay for necessary improvements to infrastructure (roadways, railway tracks, police and fire departments, health care, etc.)?  These are things that everyone uses and everyone should pay for and pay for equally.  Why do some people have to pay measurably more just because they make more money?

Since people already contribute to society through work and basic taxes, it can’t be some payment of debt to society that is incurred by the hard-working segment of society.  One would actually think that because people contribute more value to society through their work that they would be taxed less initially.  So, what kind of justification can there be for the current tax system?

What would make more sense is a system that taxes those who don’t work more as they have a larger debt to pay to society.  Such a system would have some flaws in that there simply aren’t enough jobs to go around for everyone – hence having an unemployment rate above 0%.  However, it would not be the farce that is currently being propagated by the Canadian government.

A counter argument that some would pose is that quite often the people earning high amounts of money really aren’t deserving of that kind of wage, and it is an interesting counter-argument.  However, one must remember that someone’s wage is determined only by a kind of relative value.  A person’s paycheque is relative to the amount of value the employer feels the person brings to the table.  If a CEO makes $3 million it is only because the owner/owners/shareholders of the company feel that the CEO is worth that much money to the company.  If they didn’t feel that the person’s value matched their wage demands, then they could easily find someone willing to take the job for less (although they are likely going to get less value in return).

For athletes it is even easier to measure their value as most professional leagues in North America legislate that players shall earn a certain percentage of the league’s revenue.  The fans (read shareholders) determine the revenues through ticket and merchandise sales, thus indirectly determining the value of the players.  It is all relative.

We must also remember that tied up in this concept of value is a measurement of whether a person actually earns their pay.  If someone is getting paid $XXX, then it has been determined that they actually earn that money.  If they aren’t truly earning it, then they will likely be fired or have to take a pay cut.

I earned this money, I should be able to decide what to do with it.

The piece that ties this together is the theme that underlies this whole post: what you earn is yours and shouldn’t be taken from you in an unreasonable manner.  The principle holds the same for the CEO and the athlete just as much as it does for the construction worker or the bus boy.

The bottom line is that the sham that is Canada’s tax system is a complete slap in the face to those who work hard each and every day to make enough money to make ends meet.  If I work extra hours because I need the money to pay my bills it certainly doesn’t help when the government dips their hand into my pocket to steal money that isn’t theirs.

Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this is that the money we earn and the things we purchase with that money should be ours and ours alone to decide what to do with.  It should not be up to someone else, even if that someone else is an elected official – there are many people in the Canadian government that I would not trust with my money, to decide that my hard-earned pay should be taxed to a higher degree.

It does not make sense…or dollars for that matter…

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