So says columnist Gerry Barker in this article in the Guelph Mercury.
Barker aptly likens Jim Flaherty to MAD’s Alfred E. Neuman (“What, me worry?”) and proceeds to articulate just a few of the boneheaded moves of this ex-ambulance-chaser now Finance Minister that make his judgement highly suspect when it comes to getting Canada through this recession with as little long-term damage as possible.
But the main thrust of his piece is focused on the Cons lies about income trusts. According to Barker, Flaherty and Harper were acting under pressure from senior corporate and insurance industry lobbyists whose companies were being negatively impacted by the growing popularity of the income trust investment vehicle. And so, without a shred of hard evidence and using highly suspect tax calculations, Harper and Flaherty reneged on a major campaign promise a mere 9 months into their mandate. As a consequence $35 billion or so of wealth in the Canadian markets was effectively vaporized overnight, affecting thousands upon thousands of seniors and RRSP holders.
And the pain continues. Now, current projections are that the government will lose billions in tax revenues annually as trusts (which were taxed in the hands of the taxpayer at rates of 40% or so) convert to corporations (which are taxed under the corporate tax laws at a maximum of 15%). However Flaherty still insists he made the right decision, and still refuses to provide the financial analyses that supported the decision in the first place. But let’s face it, he will never provide those figures for the simple reason that as soon as he does, everyone will see just how incompetent he and his “economist” boss really are.
As Barker says (MAD meets Pogo), “Alfred E. Flaherty met the enemy and, guess what? They is us!”