Canadians, as taxpayers, are being ripped off by our government.

But for the sake of this discussion, I’m going to put aside any argument about being taxed too much, and just look at how we are taxed. Just for the sake of this argument, I’ll pretend that we don’t pay far too much tax, or get far too little value for the money that is forcibly removed from our control.

I’ll pretend for a moment that taxation isn’t a form of theft by a powerful class of individuals and interests, foisted against a herd of victims unable to form a voting block strong enough to overthrow the elected thieves by democratic means.

Tax credits are the enemy.

Every tax credit is a bad tax credit. They’ve all been put in place to buy votes from various segments of the population. They’re nasty things that distort human behaviour by placing incentive on actions which the government deems somehow beneficial. Who does this behaviour benefit? Usually politicians.

We should never, for a moment, trust the government.

Of all the horrendously distortive tax credits that are out there, it’s possible none are worse than the credits given to parents for having children. Nobody can deny that having children is expensive for parents. But likewise, nobody can deny that children are expensive to the taxpayer because of the welfare state apparatus. How does it make sense that when someone has children, and significantly increases the burden on the collective taxpayer, they’re given a reduction in the amount of tax they owe?

It could be argued that children will grow up to be taxpayers themselves, and their contribution to the government’s coffers over the span of their lives will outweigh the drain. Sure. Maybe so.

What if someone never has children? What if a man remains single, or a woman is infertile, or if a choice is made just to not have children? Why should they pay for everyone else’s children, when those parents are specifically taxed less, right when their drain on the government’s coffers is higher?

Should a 55-year old widow pay high tax to subsidize another family’s children?

Should a young professional pay high tax to subsidize another family’s children?

No. Of course not.

For the tax code to be fair, the government should give up manipulating the population with niche tax credits. There should be a basic personal exemption, and lower rates for every income earner that currently pays taxes.

Home renovation tax credits, fitness tax credits, tuition tax credits, public transit tax credits – where every taxpayer is forced to subsidize people who use transit that every taxpayer is already forced to subsidize – these are all unfair distortions on public behaviour. And they’re all inspired by politicians looking for segments of the population to buy votes from.

Enough is enough. 

Canadians deserve a simple, low tax rate, undistorted by political pandering.