Monday, February 12, 2007

Blog Strike for Income-Splitting

I wish to add my voice to the Blog Strike for income-splitting. I have no special training in this area, but I thought I'd add my two cents of what this particular measure would mean to me and my family.

To me, income-splitting is a tangible way to accomplish many laudable goals. First of all, it is a measure of respect for marriage. How so? When a man and a woman declare their vows before witnesses, they are committing to a shared life, 'until death do us part'. If they take these vows seriously, then they are creating a covenant partnership, one that means that their very lives belong to each other, in a committed, mutual self-giving. The State ought to respect and encourage these promises, as they contribute to stability for society. By separating these individuals through individual taxation, the State, in effect, pays lip service to this covenant, but doesn't really honour it. By treating the couple/family as a single economic unit, the State shows a willingness to acknowledge this partnership in a privileged way, as it should be. Income-splitting would also do this in a non-discriminatory way, unlike, for example, past Liberal/NDP child care plans. Whereas only privileged individuals would have benefitted from such a plan, income-splitting, like the CPC child care plan, applies across the board, leveling the playing field for families seeking to make the best choice for their own families. Income-splitting honours the fact that families are in the best position to make these decisions, and not far-off bureaucrats with their own visions of how families should be making decisions about work.

I mentioned the child care decision of the CPC for another reason - it was one of the few times in my relatively short life that I recall the government making a decision that honoured families and their own abilities to choose the best for their situations. It could, in that case, be credibly argued that the child care benefit is best left in taxpayers pockets (I won't argue against that) - but the contrast is tremendous between the CPC decision to equally-honour all of Canada's children and the Lib/NDP one to create spaces for the privileged-few from the taxes of all. It was a heart-warming moment for me when that priority was passed. Not primarily because of the extra money we receive, but especially that our country, for once, didn't kick the family in the teeth in order to achieve some politically-correct program. I see income-splitting as another opportunity to affirm the family, and to put families even more in control of their destinies in a great Canada.

I suspect that some portion of the CPC decision for the child care benefit, and potentially income-splitting, would be for political reasons - to attract and keep voters like me in their column. I can appreciate the need to appeal to voters in many ways, and I would like to encourage all politicians, not just the CPC, to take ownership over this issue and to pass it in a bipartisan way, to demonstrate that it is the right thing to do. Done especially in this fashion, it would help to build trust and honour in political institutions that badly need shoring up. Do the right thing, guys!

As tempting as it is, I'll resist the temptation to call for not only income-splitting, but retroactive income-splitting to compensate for the years that married couples, especially those with one wage-earner, have been discriminated against, as though the State has the right to decide how to punitively tax families and thereby tempt/force more of its citizens into the workforce.

UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot this point - IS also allows the spouse staying at home to effectively be 'paid' for the work done in maintaining the home, a very effective way to put pay respect to the hard work done by those who stay home to care for children and otherwise take on the role of homemakers.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Musings on Income Splitting

Yesterday's Toronto Star has an article on income-splitting. The good news is that apparently income-splitting is still on the table. The Star is apparently trying to make a particular case against income-splitting, as it describes the following 2 scenarios:

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation calculates that a single-income family with a $100,000 earner would save $4,320 this year under a split-income scheme that would allow each spouse to declare $50,000.

By way of comparison, a family with one $75,000 earner and a $25,000 earner would save $1,000 if they split their declared income.

The part that seems to be missing to me, is not how much each family would save by income-splitting, but how much each is currently paying. It seems obvious to me that the family with a $100,000 earner is currently (and for how many years has this been going on now?) paying $3,320 more in taxes every year than the family with separate incomes. Where in the report does it identify this built-in injustice, instead of trying to make a case against a tax law that penalizes one-income families?

Heart & Stroke support - on life support

Below is the text of a letter I sent my supervisor after discovering that the Heart & Stroke Foundation supports embryonic stem cell research:

I will not be able to complete my commitment with canvassing, due to some information that recently came to my attention.

Prior to now, I was assuming that there were no difficulties with supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which is why I helped out last year and agreed to do so this year. A few days ago I discovered that H & S supports embryonic stem cell research, which I oppose, since it takes the life of a young human being. I will not be able to complete my duties, since to do so would support this abhorrent practice. I'm sorry it happened like this, that I started things out and cannot finish, because I hate going back on my commitments. But in this case, I believe it is impossible to contribute to this campaign in any further way without also contributing to this particular evil. I would be back helping out in a heartbeat if H & S chose to repudiate this unethical medical/scientific practice that ends the lives of some human beings to seek possible benefit for others. I don't wish to question the motives or efforts of the many good volunteers with H & S, including yourself. I just think that some methods aren't worth exploring as we seek to improve people's lives. As a man who is at an elevated risk of heart disease/attack, I certainly support the general goals of H & S, just not those methods that endanger or even end others' lives, even if they are too small and young to speak for themselves. I couldn't live with myself if I contributed, or even benefited from a fundraising campaign that took advantage of some people, even if the intended goal was laudable (as it is in this case certainly).

I would like to pass along my message to higher positions of responsibility in the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and would greatly appreciate if you could give me a contact name & number (e-mail address?) for your supervisor.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Kyoto vote - Bring it on

An article today in the National Post details the options before the Conservatives as the Liberal-sponsored private members bill on Kyoto comes to a final vote. If passed (which is expected), it would force the government to meet the Kyoto targets that the Liberal government agreed to years ago.

Given that the Liberal government of that day took no tangible steps to achieve the objectives that they themselves signed onto, it's a pretty good sign that they never took their own word/signature seriously in the first place. That they are now trying to tie the CPC government down with this decision is a tremendous act of hypocrisy, and -- an incredible opportunity. The opportunity is to force those who support this private members bill to put their votes where their mouths are - if they truly mean what they've been spewing about the environment, then they will be willing to subject Canada's economy to the ravages our Kyoto fulfillment would place on it. Of course, the CPC government can avoid following this law by putting the issue directly before Canadians in a general election, where the positions of the CPC and all the other parties are laid bare in a way not previously done.

According to the article, even Buzz Hargrove has said that these kinds of reductions are not achievable without crippling Canada's economy in an almost-unprecedented fashion - the only modern country to achieve this kind of economic reversal was the Soviet Union, as its economy collapsed after it broke up 17 years ago.

Given the probability of widespread uncertainty about whether it's even possible to meet 'our' Kyoto targets, I predict a CPC majority, perhaps larger than that of any party that we've seen in Canada's history. While I'm not a true-blue CPC supporter (I consider myself a little to the right of Attila the Hun)(okay, I think that joke may be overused), I flee the presence of the other mainstream parties. And what's more, I think more Canadians than ever would too - at the least, they would stay home in droves to avoid supporting these hypocritical jerks who have the audacity to sign onto a treaty that they never themselves attempt to fulfill, and then expect others to do so in their place. Let's assign them to the dustbin of Canadian history - let's out-do the Kim Campbell blowout.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Catholic Quiz - I got 99%

You are a 99% traditional Catholic!

Congratulations! You are more knowlegeable than most modern theologians! You have achieved mastery over the most important doctrines of the Catholic Faith! You should share your incredible understanding with others!

Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?
Make Your Own Quiz