Replay from May 27, 2011 because the issues have not changed:
Too-polite Canadians accept almost any declaration from people in authority. We are naive, complacent schnooks. Dumb, as well; the proof is all around. Implementation of HST and the alterations BC Liberals now propose provide indisputable evidence that they have lied repeatedly to us. HST is only part of the corroboration.
BC Liberals have grown comfortable with lying to citizens. Innocent white lies or pernicious whoppers; same thing, no difference. But these dishonest politicians are merely agents of self interest, obedient to shadowy figures who control the joy sticks.
Remember when Liberals promised that consumer prices would drop, the economy would boom and jobs would swell? What happened? Colin Hansen and Gordon Campbell said things very clearly when they announced HST in 2009, including these justifying statements by our then Finance Minister:
“The leading economists and think tanks tell us that the introduction of the HST is the single biggest thing we can do to improve our economy by making our businesses more competitive and encouraging billions in new investment. This will result in higher productivity, higher wages and lower consumer costs.
“. . . With a value-added tax system (VAT) goods become less expensive to produce, and those savings are passed on to consumers.
“In B.C., the biggest driver of our standard of living is our export markets. There is no other measure that would make our export markets more competitive and, as a result, create jobs in BC . . .
“There is no denying that in some cases HST will apply where previously the PST did not. But the long term benefits of lower consumer prices and higher wages will far outweigh those impacts.
“The revenue generated from the HST will be about the same as the revenue projected from the current PST system.
“This shift from PST to HST will not be any kind of a “windfall” of revenue to the Provincial coffers.
“Every year for the past eight years, we have looked at the question of HST as part of the pre-budget review of all tax matters. Each year, we have come to the conclusion that, on balance, it was not in the interest of British Columbia.
“Secondly, there was little flexibility permitted for the tax rate in the federal model. We would have had to join the system with a 13 per cent rate as opposed to the 12 per cent we propose today. Furthermore, no exemptions were permitted.
“It just wasn’t on our radar. As part of the previous budget process (as in every year prior), the Ministry of Finance had looked at the pros and cons of adopting the HST. As was the case in each of the previous years, the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. In the planning for the 2009 budget, like previous years, the decision was that HST did not make sense for B.C.
“Remember: On top of lower prices, there are numerous products from gas to books to children’s clothing that are exempted from the PST portion of HST.
Instead, I suggest we remember that bloggers called them out for lying. Mainstream media shills including our best known broadcasters and newspaper writers didn’t bother to point at the truth. I did and many other online journalists did as well. For that, Bill Good, Vaughn Palmer, Keith Baldrey and the Vancouver Sun editorial board sneered and belittled those doing the job they should have done.
Look at Colin Hansen’s statement from which the above quotes were taken. Spot any direct lies? How about lies of omission and misrepresentation? My five-year old grandson could and he is still learning how to read. At this site, I specifically called Hansen a liar two years ago. Liberals wagged their fingers and complained I was unfair and inaccurate. Results prove me correct. I pay particular attention to Hansen’s claim in 2009 that no flexibility was possible, the feds would accept no further changes to rates or exemptions. Except now Liberals say to BC voters,
“If you accept HST, we will reduce the rate from 12 to 11, then 10 percent, pay $200 millions to needy citizens and postpone further corporate income tax cuts.”
If the new scenario is possible, Hansen’s assertions two years ago were false. Which are most believable, Liberal assertions of 2009 or Liberal claims of 2011? In fact, the former were untrue from the start, the latter will turn to smoke when the next budget is presented. We can already predict the likely excuses.
The impact of dishonest politics becomes real when a careful shopper enters the marketplace. Suppose its time to replace the horseless carriage and you want to commit to a small fuel-efficient car with the latest safety features like side airbags, traction control and an advanced electronic braking system. You would soon be drawn to the new Korean built cars because they offer the best values. Taxpayer subsidized North American manufacturers learned little during their decades long decline.
But, our version of free enterprise capitalism keeps you from being treated fairly. Regardless of where a car is built or how much it cost to build, Canadians get screwed. I could give countless examples, some brands are worse than others but this is typical. I priced a base model Kia Optima 4-door sedan with manual transmission. Here are the results:
- At Smith Kia of Bellingham, the sticker price is $19,950 plus 8.5% sales tax for a total of $21,646 ($20,304 CAN at today’s Bank of Canada cash rate.)
- At North Shore Kia in North Vancouver, the same car is $23,700 plus 12% sales tax for $26,544.
On what should be a base level small family sedan, the difference is over $6,000. In the great tradition of trickle down economics that excessive price for a new car keeps older used cars – dirty, inefficient, less safe vehicles – on the road, priced higher than they should be.
Who wins? Not consumers or even the schmucks that sell the cars to us. No, it is the handful of super-rich operators who dominate the car sales industry. They buy politicians who ensure that legitimate competition never forms a part of Canadian free enterprise. So, for the consumer who is pissed about North Shore Kia charging $5,000 more than needed for a new vehicle, they can walk down the street and visit:
- Jim Pattison Toyota, or
- Jim Pattison Lexus, or
- Jim Pattison Hyundai, or
- Jim Pattison Volvo, or
- Jim Pattison Jeep Chrysler Dodge, or
- Jim Pattison Scion.
Maybe, you’ll get a better deal there but don’t bet on it. What happened to the lower prices we were promised? Massive increases in extraction industry profits came not from saving a few hundred million in PST. It came from dramatically higher prices and when you called in the plumber or an electrician for home repairs, it cost you dramatically more with higher materials costs and the new HST on labour.
The economists and politicians who talk about embedded PST cascading through the marketplace conveniently forget that extra costs from excessive prices in uncompetitive markets are embedded as well. The Canadian plumber who paid $12,000 more for a truck than his American counterpart, or the plumber who paid 100% more for speciality tools, must charge retired old people like me more money to do even simple jobs.
Colin Hansen said we needed HST to remove embedded provincial tax from the cost of lettuce but he did not bother to tell you the amount was insignificant, too low even to measure. By introducing HST as they did, Hansen and Campbell were not doing the single best thing that could be done for the economy. They were doing the single best thing that could be done for lobby groups of big business billionaires. It was Gordon Campbell’s going away present to the only people about whom he cared. Hansen and Liberal associates were willing lap dogs.