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Harper, income splitting isn’t the answer

When rich countries get richer they, apparently, spend all that extra cash flow on fine-tuning their hegemony. Canada has taken the old saying to heart and made it an imperative: money begets money. A visiting American might be fooled into thinking that the new Republican Congress and Senate now has ruling power over Canada.

It’s income splitting; a somewhat outdated and bereft tax trick employed by a government to give the illusion of benevolence. Meanwhile, the real benefit of income splitting is its ability to quietly create families that square nicely into a baby-boomer notion of nuclear family.

Fundamentally, income splitting makes it so one partner, who makes a lot of money, pays tax on a smaller income, while the other partner, who makes very little money, takes on that vanished income from their rich significant other.

Wait a minute. There are jobs out there that can subsidize an entire family? A single person can work and pay for everything? I wish someone had have told my parents. And my grandparents. And myself. Where are these elusive careers where a person can make more than $10 an hour without benefits?

Well, definitely not here in New Brunswick. And they definitely don’t exist for young people. I would love income splitting if “income” meant my student loan and “splitting” meant a disappearing act. But it doesn’t.

What Canada’s tax agenda says is that if you are wealthy and settled, then you deserve a reward. However, if you were born after 1980 and can’t find work despite your education and most valiant efforts, then you deserve nothing. Wait, you deserve one thing: the persistent anxiety of a massive debt load.

As a side note, when I say “rich people” or “the wealthy,” I am referring to what our country’s political parties call “the middle class.” Sure, they’re not making millions. However, they can afford a car, a mortgage, children, vacations, food, daycare, another car, yoga classes, insurance, dental work, glasses and medication. And, now I am on the brink of a financial existential crisis.

Income splitting discriminates against young people. How many of you can afford to get married? Hell, I only got married because my grandmother-in-law gifted me one of her rings to propose with and my parents and in-laws covered the vast majority of expenses And who of us can afford to have kids? I mean, I did and check me out.

Once Canada balances its budget, why was there no thought given to the idea that just maybe we should be dealing with the huge student loan catastrophe that is plaguing this country? Was there not even the briefest notion of perhaps putting that money towards finding young people careers?

I doubt it. Because we don’t matter. First, we don’t vote. Second, we don’t often vote Conservative. And third, we’re entitled and need to learn a lesson. I mean, we spend most of our time whining about how we deserve to get money just because of who we are.

Wait a minute.

Anyway, you get the point.

None of this is to say that we shouldn’t support families. As I said, I have a family. I would really love more money. And it’s true, the government is also increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit and introducing a new benefit for children under 17. It’s a miniscule amount of money. When you factor in the cost of daycare, childcare, and parentcare, the additional funds mean nothing to those of us who already have no money.

Stephen Harper said, in announcing income splitting, that “Canada’s moms and dads deserve all of the help that we can give them.” All the help that Canada had to give was to families that didn’t need any help. Meanwhile, according to the Conference Board of Canada, one in seven children are living in poverty, that rate is increasing, and we place 15th out of 17 countries (with the US being last).

Stephen Harper had the audacity to publicly state that families deserve help and completely ignore the fact that he is giving help to people who don’t need it. Canada is handing honey to bees, oil to Alberta, weed to B.C.

It’s projected to cost 26.3 billion dollars over the next six years. Here’s my proposal instead of the government’s tax cuts. Rather, let’s take the 26.3 billion dollars and find out what’s happening to Aboriginal women. Let’s take that massive sum of money and give our young people and their children an actual future. How about we put that money towards ending child poverty. Because it doesn’t need to happen.

If we can afford to hand money over to the rich, then why can’t we give money to making sure that children aren’t going hungry? Is it more important that those with massive incomes are now able to put a few hundred more into savings while children continue to live on the streets in Vancouver? This isn’t the kind of country I want to be living in.

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