Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Budget

If you don't want to talk politics, then this post probably isn't for you - so I won't be offended if you quit reading right now.

But for those you who want to hear my two ya go!

I am not one to generally speak politically, and I don't claim to be to uppity-up on anything political, but its hard to ignore yesterday's budget delivered here in Ottawa.

In the beginning of this new government, I was definitely not a fan of Stevie Wonder Harper, nor the Conservative Party, but yesterday's budget was by far the most colourful budget I have seen from any government in my short career as a public servant (and trust me there have been at least 4 budgets or mini-budgets since I joined the Feds in 2001). I thought the budget did have treat for everyone, although many claim aboriginals and seniors were largely disregarded - perhaps, but that is not my place to say. Working for the tax-man, I can't imagine too many Revenue folks are thrilled about the new workload that Harper's budget is creating in the tax department, but that's beside the point for today.

While I generally liked the Conservatives approach to spending our tax dollars, I am largely uproared by the GST issue that seems to have been the headliner for the Conservatives during the election campaign.

Yes, Harper and his boys came up with the witty and clever idea to lower the GST, which meets a promise the Conservatives made to the public by reducing taxes for all Canadians, no matter what bracket you fall into - but here's what I want to know:

Who was begging the government to lower the GST in the first place?

I believe that the Conservatives and the media have used their magic on the minds of helpless Canadians. Last time I checked, Canadians were adjusted to the fact that they must pay tax on everything they buy (minus a few expections), however in the last 5 years I haven't heard anyone in my generation whining about the GST. I like to think that my friends and I, along with my parents generation have come to accept the fact that GST & PST are fact that must be considered every time you go shopping. In my opinion, paying 15% tax on any purchase only makes you think long and hard about whether or not you really need the item you are buying. I like to think that without the GST & PST I would be more of an impluse buyer than I already am.

I realize all Canadians will welcome the lowering of the GST, but Harper has made us believe that we asked for this, and now he is leading us to believe that he is delivering on a promise we wanted.

This distrubs me because of the sole fact that for the last decade we as Canadians have come to grips with the GST. Its like telling someone that they can't smoke in the work place because its harmful to everyone, but then 10 years later telling them its okay to smoke at your desk if you're on a lunch break - hello people - reducing the GST is reversing a lot of hard work done by previous governements to get this country out of debt, now that we are out of debt, we want to go back to our old ways. The bottom line is that if I wanted a tax break, I would rather see it on my bi-weekly paycheck, rather then in the check-out line.

Of course I am going to enjoy the fact the my bill will be cheaper every time that I am at a cash register, but the real question remains - if Harper can lower the GST, what will he have to up in order to make up for that 1% of savings?

A wise man once said, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.... and well things seems to be happily go lucky on the Hill these days, I have to wonder what this 1% savings will cost us when the cuts come out in September.

Stay tuned!