Thursday, December 22, 2016

Government revenue rule one: Only tax things people can't live without. Where DID all the smoke from the Fort MacMurray wild fire go anyway?

As we enter 2017,  it's time to gaze into the old crystal ball and make a couple of predictions about the Alberta Carbon Tax:

As a strategy, taxing something people cannot live without, like carbon, is a brilliant way to provide a secure stream of revenue to government.  Taxation of things that are optional, like beer and cigarettes always results in less demand for both, carbon though is beautiful in that we cannot live without it. 

Can't live without it you say! I'm a free range organic Vegan I don't need carbon.  Right, name one thing you, as a free range organic vegan, consume that does not, at some point, ride in a truck?  Trucks are fuelled by diesel, gasoline or propane which is a carbon constituent, therefore no option exists, if on the other hand you only eat food that naturally falls off trees you might be different. And never forget that  eating local isn't an option in Alberta in winter, unless you have a potato fetish.

Not heating your house is not an option, wearing an ugly sweater will just make you look goofy and will not save the planet.   Heating with wood isn't an option, if we encourage people to do that there won't be a tree  within 100 miles in five years. This would be detrimental to photo radar as they would have no bushes to hide behind, and the smoke would cause all sorts of health complaints, especially from those who don't have wood stoves and who's homes are poorly insulated.

So carbon, is by it's nature the ideal constituent for taxation. Everyone uses it every day, aside from water there is no element more commonly consumed.

The hue and cry from the population will lessen over time, people will adapt and they will complain and in 2019 likely vote for the person who agrees that a carbon tax is bad.

That person upon taking office will realize what a great deal this tax is and will be loath to cancel it sighting the shortfall in government revenues that need to be made up in a diversified economy.

And the prediction:

The carbon tax is going to be replaced by a general sales tax.    "We got rid of the carbon tax but we really need the money, so here's a three percent sales tax"

Premier Notley could have saved a lot of angst by just being honest and going straight for the sales tax, but that would have missed out on the whole diversification boondoggle and looked like a cash grab. The carbon tax is a cash grab, but one with moral and pure intent that cannot be argued against because the climate is changing and we have to protect the children, ignoring that Alberta, indeed Canada is already basically carbon neutral thanks to the Boreal Forest that covers so much of it. 

There is no talk of planting more trees to sequester carbon, nor are there incentives for the reduction in carbon, just a nuisance tax that will eventually be organic, much like the GST.  The GST is, of course, another tax Conservatives swore they would get rid of but somehow never did, the same thing will happen here.

It's still the green phase of the election cycle, yellow starts next year and red in 2018, The Premier knows she has two years for people to get used to the idea and if she does lose the next election,  which is a strong possibility,  don't expect this thing to go away even if she does.

Merry Christmas

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