Thursday, March 24, 2011

Marcn 24: smoking a sin. Stop it and drink more booze

Both the government and the news media continue to ignore the cost of big corporations to New Brunswick. How much do we give them in subisidies, interest-free loans, grants, tax breaks.... ? I suspect it makes the civil service budgets look pretty small time. But we won't get a look at that, will we? No, we save our indignation for civil servants and teachers. We don't ask questions about the big kids.

It's rather like those self-righteous people who happily tolerate corruption, neglect of school needs, and going into debt for a hockey stadium - but rise in indignation at the thought selling flowers to gays. (Amazing how some religious simpletons can be so annoyinig and so irrelevant at the same time.)

Instead of looking at reality, the news media and the politicians play word games. A charge for post-secondary schooling is not a tax. I read that in The Moncton Times&Standard. Even an annual charge for elementary schooling is not a tax. You must pay at least the latter one. But it's not a tax.

They have exactly the same effects as a tax. They leave us poorer; and the hit the poor harder than the rich. But they aren't called taxes. So that makes all the difference in the world. But sometimes it gets confusing.

It's okay to say that a rise in the price of tobacco is a tax. After all, smoking is a sin - so this is really a sort of punishment for sinners, and also a help to get them off the weed.

At the same time, alcohol is not a sin. In fact, it is a citizen virtue, and we want New Brunswickers to get more serious about booze, and to drink ten million dollars more of it this year. No slacking. Do your bit to lower the debt. Get smashed. Maybe we sould also lower the drinking age so the schools could learn about good citizenship. You know - maybe, in its school rankings,  AIMS could include how many beers the kids in each school can down in a day.

Then there's the usual doublespeak editorial on the subject. Check out the editorial "Privatize NBL".
A tax on cigarettes would presumably cut down smoking. Which is good because smoking is bad for you.
A tax on booze would cut down boozing. Which would be bad because.......?

Then it suggests the real direction that liquor stores should be privatized. Of course. Privatization of everything is where AIMS and big corporations across North America have been wanted. Private investors will build and maintain the stores, and pay the staff. And it won't cost us anything. So we can use the saved costs to maintain schools, etc.

Great idea....except..... Where would private owners get the money to build stores and pay clerks, etc.? It think it's us - the same ones who pay the costs now. The only difference is we would now also be paying the profits to the private owners instead of using them as public funds to provide other services like maintaining schools.

As well, we would now lose the profit that we now get from the liquor stores.

In the end, private ownership of liquor sales mean we all lose millions of dollars for no tax savings at all. But, the good thing is that giving  our  money to a private company is not at like giving it to government. You know - just like a school charge is not a tax because it isn't called one. And giving to a private liquor dealer isn't called a tax, even when it costs of more.

All money comes from the same place. If we privatize liquor sales, then we will have to raise taxes to make up for the loss of money we wil suffer. Dropping the word tax will not change anything in your pocket book. If we had no taxes at all, we would have far less money than we have now. Thinking of paying the prices of private suppliers for all the services we pay for now with taxes.

This is what groups like AIMS have been aiming at for decades - privatizing everything (while still getting government subsidies. Both common sense and experience show that this raises costs. That's why The Moncton Times & Transcript prefers to play word games on these questions.

1 comment:

  1. Damn good points..we don't have nearly enough drunks in N.B. Smoking BAD..drinking GOOD. (Naturally we would all rather meet a drunk on the highway at midnight than a smoker)!!!!!
    Wouldn't we??

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