Say it out loud:
Life is better thanks to taxes
Long-time CCPA economist Hugh Mackenzie once said that right-wing politicians have succeeded at cutting public services by severing the link, in the public mind, between those services and the taxes that pay for them.
Right-wingers don’t usually say, “You’re using too much health care!” They don’t say, “Public education is making these kids too smart!”
Make no mistake: they want to cut public services and turn them into investment opportunities. But they know public services are popular, so they don’t focus on them that much. Instead, politicians like Ontario Premier Doug Ford talk incessantly about “putting more money back in your pocket” through tax cuts.
Earlier this week, the attack on taxes caused a social media sensation when an old message from federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer resurfaced. “Thanks to TAXES,” Scheer said last year, “Canadians are paying $20 more for a case of beer” while “their U.S. neighbour is paying $4.”
Thanks to TAXES, Canadians are paying $20 more for a case of beer. Last year, Justin Trudeau brought in his beer tax, which will go up every year and further drive up prices. He’s failing to make life more affordable for Canadians. pic.twitter.com/cxFxBxtDm8— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) May 13, 2018
Canadians had a lot to say about it, and #ThankstoTaxes became an instant hashtag as Twitter users piled on.
Thanks to TAXES, I am receiving life-saving immunotherapy, chemo, radiation, and surgeries which have enabled me to survive and live life with my family and loved ones.— Julie Rohr (@JulieRohrYEG) May 27, 2019
Our kids get an education.
We have roads and sidewalks.
Hey @AndrewScheer: I like taxes.#ThanksToTaxes pic.twitter.com/O2sgzZKeYF
@AndrewScheer thanks to taxes my mom is living with Alzheimer’s in a quality continuing care facility where I never have to worry if she’s being fed properly, lovingly cared for and respected. And she’s not going bankrupt while living out her golden years. #thankstotaxes— PianoForte (@SoniaPiano) May 27, 2019
My late father had exemplary healthcare throughout his battle with ALS. My mother & father-in-law are cancer survivors. #ThanksToTaxes— S. Wesley (@mrsswesley) May 29, 2019
The messages went on and on about the good things Canadians enjoy “thanks to taxes.” It was something to see—a mini-campaign exploding out of nowhere.
Public services make life better for everyone, and we need to defend them. But to do so, we need to also defend the tax dollars that pay for them. And maybe an attitude of gratitude is exactly the way to do it.
Life is better thanks to taxes. Let’s try saying it every day.
Randy Robinson is the Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario office. Follow him on Twitter at @randyfrobinson.