First up it is a complete flip flop and a radical change from what has been a long standing Liberal policy. This graph courtesy of LPC shows that since 2000, when Jean Chretien was PM with Paul Martin as his finance minister, through Martin's term, and right up until Ignatieff decided otherwise, Liberal policy has been to reduce Canada's corporate tax rate.
Link to graph.
Ignatieff himself ran 2 times with corporate tax cuts included as part of the Liberal platform, the first under Paul Martin in 2006, and again in 2008 under the leadership of Dion, which makes that the position Ignatieff was elected on and promised to implement for the people of Etobicoke-Lakeshore as their MP. Some have tried to spin this abandonment of part of the platform that Ignatieff was elected on by claiming that the LPC tax cut plan was just a minor part of part of Dion's platform, but history says otherwise as it was those promised corporate tax cuts that Dion cited as the reason why he would not form a coalition government with Jack Layton and the NDP. In fact Dion called the NDP position "damaging".
Mr. Dion, speaking after an address to a Vancouver-area business crowd today, said he could not work with Mr. Layton in this way because the NDP leader wants to hike taxes on business.
“We cannot have a coalition with a party that has a platform that would be damaging for the economy. Period,” the Liberal leader said. (If Dion cited them as the reason for not joining Jack and Gilles (at that point in time still a silent partner) they WERE indeed a major part of the platform.)
The Liberals themselves can see how this reversal of a sound LPC policy doesn't look good so they have decided to spin the flip flop by claiming to support corporate tax cuts but not while in a deficit position. Not a bad angle to use if you are trying to play both ends and cover the obvious hypocrisy of ones position, but a couple of little details are going to make that spin job difficult if not impossible. First is the fact that when Dion was touting his tax cut plan in the 2008 election we were ALREADY in recession and headed for a deficit, making it tough to say now that they support tax cuts but not in a deficit when the Liberal Party ran on cuts and were fully prepared to implement those cuts while the country was in a deficit; but expect them to try and do just that in the hope that nobody is paying attention. Another thing that makes this a tough sell happened just last night when some guy named Barrack Obama (who causes both reporters (see bio) and politicians to swoon) openly called for corporate tax cuts in the USA at a time of record US deficits in the neighborhood of 1.3 Trillion dollars a year!
“But all the rest [of our companies] are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change. So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years – without adding to our deficit.” (Is Obama wrong? I await to see how the Liberals twist themselves in knots trying to spin this as I am sure hilarity will ensue.) And in case anyone has forgotten , the Liberals had ample opportunity in the past to vote against these tax increases and for their own reasons chose not to do so; to claim now that you are against tax cuts that you allowed to pass into law is approaching silly.
Next up is a 'little detail' that so far seems to have eluded most of our MSM in their coverage of the subject.
The Liberal plan on corporate tax cuts is not just rescinding a proposed cut, it is actually a tax increase as these rates are now in place and are already the law.
"The Liberals are calling for rates to be restored to the 2010 level of 18.5 per cent, up from the 16.5 per cent rate that came into effect this month." (So much for any Liberal promise not to raise taxes as they have already broken that promise before the writ is even dropped.) I am sure our MSM will soon realize the error of their ways and be more accurate in their reporting of the Liberal corporate tax increase in the future.
Is there really a better word than' folly' to describe this?
Update: Ignatieff is claiming that education creates more jobs than corporate tax breaks will. True to form Ignatieff ignores the realities of just who provides the jobs and wealth in our country. Hint: It is not government. Education on its own is not going to create jobs; sure there may be some entrepreneurs in there who may start their own businesses (which will be hindered by paying Ignatieff's tax increase) but the majority will seek and hopefully find work in the private sector who have been suffering through tough economic times. The truth is that education on its own will not create more jobs than a tax cut for those that provide the jobs would and it certainly will not protect already existing jobs that may be in danger today due to the poor economy (sorry Jack but all companies that pay taxes are not banks or big oil) Look at it this way: If every company in Canada closed their doors tomorrow because they could not afford to remain open and put everyone out of work, all that education would have done would be to make our EI recipients smarter. More from Freedom is my Nationality and Angry in the great white north.
Ignatieff must know this but yet he continues on with the follies.
The NDP, bless their little socialist hearts, put together an overview of the Liberal corporate tax position that can be seen here, and kudos to the NDP for for doing so because not only have they outed Ignatieff on the tax cuts they inadvertently also skewered themselves in the process by revealing just how willing the NDP is to toss their so called principles in the quest for power.
Remember earlier when I wrote about how Dion ruled out a coalition with the NDP during the last election? Well think back to how that ended up turning out as Dion did end up forming a coalition with Layton and the NDP. What could have possibly changed Dion's mind you ask, well the answer to that is simple.
Jack Layton agreed to keep and fully support Dion's proposed corporate tax cuts (which were larger than the Conservative cuts BTW) just so he could get a cabinet seat. You want to see hypocrisy Mr. Layton, just look into the mirror because that sir is a classic example of hypocrisy of the worst kind.
And where was Micheal Ignatieff during all of this? He of course was fully aware of the deal between Dion and Layton on the corporate tax cuts and must have been in agreement because after all, he did sign on to it.
Links: Ignatieff doesn't get it. Financial Post.
A look at the numbers.