Occupy got some things right
While some criticize the worldwide Occupy Movement for a “lack of specific focus,” many would agree with its overall philosophy. The protests have focused the general population’s attention on economic and social inequality. In any case, Canadians should be more concerned by big business and their lobbyist proxies decades long occupation of government than by the Occupy Movement occupying, or smoking for that matter, a bit of Ottawa or Vancouver grass.
One per cent of the worlds population owns 40 per cent of all wealth, the richest 10 per cent own 83 per cent. In the U.S. the top one per cent owns 42.7 per cent of all wealth, the top 10 per cent owns 72 per cent. In Canada the richest CEOs earn 189 times the Canadian average, and the richest one-tenth of one per cent of Canadians, about 13,000 households, claimed 5.3 per cent of all income. According to Stats Can, Canada’s richest one per cent took 32 per cent of all income growth from 1997 to 2007. Earnings increased by 16.4 per cent for those in the top income group, stagnated for those in the middle income group and fell by 20.6 per cent for those in the bottom income group. This disparity has only increased since 2007.
Canada’s corporate tax rate, already the second lowest in the industrialized world dropped to 15 per cent this month, the U.S. rate is 35 per cent. With Canada’s staggering debt load you have one guess as to who will make up this loss of revenue. Despite this advantageous corporate tax rate Canadians pay at least 20 per cent more for products than Americans. In return for this balmy tax climate we have companies like Caterpillar (2011 first-quarter profit of $1.23 billion, estimated 44 per cent profit increase for the year) demands to cut wages in half, eliminate pensions and gut other benefits at its London Ont. plant.
Here in B.C. the Liberal government, always staunch supporters of the one per cent, inflicted the “not on the radar” (enacted using stealth technology) “revenue neutral to government” (except for the $900 million plus they have admitted to glomming so far) HST. Then there is the carbon tax which increases to 7.2 cents a litre in 2012, and Pacific Carbon Trust scam, where schools and hospitals pay in, and companies like EnCana and Lafarge draw money out. Now if this corporate welfare doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy as they stick the nozzle in, how about the $1.4 billion a year in Canadian taxpayer subsidies to needy oil companies?
How does government rationalize subsidies to extremely profitable multi-national corporations while this country has babies born to poverty and seniors dying in it?
The B.C. government’s much trumpeted income tax cuts have delivered an average benefit of $9,000 a year to the richest 10 per cent of households, while saving the poorest 10 per cent an average of $200. But don’t count your $200 yet. It was swallowed whole by the HST ($350 plus a year) hydro rate increases (12 per cent over three years) carbon tax (7.2 cents a litre), MSP premium increases etc. etc.
So the Occupy Movement, in “no specific focus” terms, may just be asking for a level playing field. Though for this to occur, the 99 per cent have to first actually get on the field.