Thursday, November 1, 2007

You blew it, Flaherty

Earlier this week, Harper’s finance minister Jim Flaherty announced over $14.1 billion in tax cuts to big corporations.

Punctuated by seemingly involuntary spasms of giddiness, Flaherty boasted that he was cutting corproate taxes “deeper and much faster than ever contemplated before”. The result would be a “substantial shot of adrenalin for all Canadian businesses.”

“Hallelujah!” cried the usual Bay Street suspects.

Then, along comes Chrysler today to spoil all the fun by announcing thousands of layoffs in Ontario (not to mention jobs now under threat at their Canadian suppliers). What part of “substantial shot of adrenalin” didn’t Chrysler understand?

But that's what Chrysler's announcement shows: Flaherty’s obsession with “deeper and much faster” business tax cuts is all ideology, and zero practicality.

Instead of choosing broad-based tax cuts for corporations, which helps the profitable banks and oil sector, while doing nothing for companies that are actually hurting like our manufacturing sector, Flaherty could have stolen Jack Layton’s green car strategy to help the auto sector retool for greener cars and give consumers an incentive in the form of a GST cut to buy a more efficient car. Good business. Good ecology.

PS: Don’t tell Stephane Dion that though. After all, the corproate tax cuts were his idea.

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